A Woman to Know: Joan of Leeds

She perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust. — Archbishop William Melton

(image via Wikimedia)


Exhausted with her life as a nun in 14th century England, Joan of Leeds decided to give up the convent life. But she quit in a ... rather dramatic fashion.

According to recently-rediscovered historical records, Archbishop William Melton recorded how one day in 1318 Joan "pretended to be dead, not dreading for the health of her soul, and with the help of numerous of her accomplices, evildoers, with malice afterthought, and CRAFTED A DUMMY IN THE LIKENESS OF HER BODY." (emphasis my own)

The Archbishop goes on:

"[She had] no shame in procuring its burial in a sacred space ... She perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience. Having broken her vows and discarded the religious habit, she now wanders at large to the notorious peril to her soul and the scandal to all of her order."

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