CELT document T100079A

The Journey of Viscount Ramon de Perellós to Saint Patrick's Purgatory


This is the English translation of the Catalan text (hereinafter C) of 1486 collated with the Occitan text (hereinafter O) published in 1903 by A. Jeanroy and A. Vignaux.

C and O are mirror texts, the only difference being that O, being earlier, has suffered less corruption from its copyist (or copyists) than C.

Whether Ramon de Perellós wrote (or dictated) in Catalan or Occitan is a moot point. His estate of Perellós in the north of Roussillon is practically on the linguistic border between Central Occitan and Catalan and it is improbable that he was unable to use either with equal facility.

Ramon de Perellós is most clearly not a professional writer. His syntax lacks cohesion and his style, to put it mildly, lacks polish. I have tried to reproduce in English his Catalan text with all its disjointedness.

The notes cover (a) corrections to C on the basis of O, and (b) various rectifications of fact and notes on people and places figuring in the text.

Alan Mac an Bhaird

Ramón de Perellós

Viatge del Vescomte Ramón de Perellós y de Roda fet al Purgatori nomenat de Sant Patrici Voyage au Purgatoire de Saint Patrice

Edited by Alan Mac an Bhaird

The Journey of Viscount Ramon de Perellós to Saint Patrick's Purgatory


0. The Journey of Viscount Ramon de Perellós to Saint Patrick's Purgatory


In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Amen. In the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1398 recte 1397 on the eve of Our Lady of September September 8, having obtained the blessing of Pope Benedict the anti-pope Benedict XIII (1394-1423), I, Ramon by the grace of God viscount of Perellós and Rodas, lord of the barony of Ceret, left the city of Avignon to go to Saint Patrick's Purgatory.
Since all men in this world wish to know strange and wonderful things, as these by nature are more pleasing than those which one can know by hearsay, for this reason I, who in my youth was fostered with king Charles, king of France, with whom my good father left me (he being his admiral and chamberlain) in that court with all the squires and knights of his realm and other Christian realms, indeed wish to be informed of the strange and wonderful things in all lands of Christians and Infidels, both of Saracens and others of various sects which are in the world; for here there came of them from many places and I had my heart well set to know by sight what I had heard said by various knights and other people. And indeed I set myself to follow adventures in the world in all lands of Christians and Infidels, both of Saracens and others of various sects which are in the world, where one may reasonably go, inasmuch as by God's grace I have seen and suffered on land and sea most of the strange and wonderful things of which I had heard tell and I can give true testimony of those which I have seen. And I have sustained great dangers, expense and labors, both on land and sea, and I have taken and suffered in the lands of Infidels and Christians things which I do not intend to recount as they have no bearing on the matter which I wish to pursue with regard to the journey to Saint Patrick['s Purgatory] which is in the regions of Ireland; which journey with God's help I have made and accomplished as much as any man has done since the death of Saint Patrick.
And this I shall recount completely in four ways: firstly why Saint Patrick ordered the purgatory; secondly for what reason I set my heart on entering said purgatory; thirdly where it is; fourthly the things which I saw or found in said purgatory which may be revealed, for there are things which it is not pleasing to God that I should reveal and he does not wish it on account of the dangers which might accrue to me or to those to whom they might be revealed by me, which thing would be irreparable.


1. (The Life of Saint Patrick)

At the time when Saint Patrick preached the holy gospel in Hibernia, which we call Ireland, and reinforced his preaching by wondrous miracles of Our Lord, Saint Patrick found the people of that land as hard and wild as if they were beasts and used enormous labor and pains to indoctrinate them and teach them to convert to the faith of Our Lord God Jesus Christ; and often he spoke to them of the pains of hell and the glory of paradise in order to turn them from their wretchedness and sins and confirm them in the good life; but all this did nothing for them for they said that they would believe nothing of it unless some of them saw it, that is to say the glory of the good and the pain of the wicked, and they did not wish to abstain on the orders of Saint Patrick who had his intent in God.

And for this reason the good man began to make fasts and vigils and prayers most devoutly to God and many other good works for the salvation of the people's souls. And Our Lord appeared to him as he had done on other occasions and gave him the book of gospels and a staff, which they call the Staff of Jesus, as he gave it to his servant, and in his own life he testifies that that staff and that book are a sign that he is the apostle of Ireland. And afterwards Our Lord led him to a deserted place and showed him a very dark pit and Our Lord told him that he who would enter into it, confessed and penitent and pure of heart, would be free on that very day of all his sins and would see the torments of the wicked and the joys and glory of the good. This Our Lord said to Saint Patrick and then Our Lord departed from him and the good man was most joyous on account of what Our Lord had told him when he showed him the pit so that he could convert the people.

And afterwards he had a church begun very near that place and established in it a chapter of canons regular and set good doors on the pit. And the whole island is surrounded by the waters of a large, very deep lake around the pit. And he had a cemetery made there and had the door made and shut with a key, so that no one could enter without permission, and to the east he had good walls made and entrusted the key to the guardianship of the prior of the church. And many people entered the pit in the time of Saint Patrick to do penance for their sins and said, when they returned, that they had seen hell and had passed through great and painful torments and also had seen many great glories and many joys.

And Saint Patrick had the reports set down in writing inside the church and afterwards he recommended to the people and recounted to them all the things which they had seen — by the testimony of those who had entered there, all these wondrous things; and that is why it is called the pit of Saint Patrick and purgatory since there one purges one's sins. And because it was first shown to Saint Patrick by Our Lord it is also called the Saint Patrick's purgatory. And in the aforesaid land of Ireland there are various monasteries of this order, great and solemn and larger than that of the purgatory.


2. (The first successor of Saint Patrick)

And the first prior of the aforesaid church, who was a very good man and of good life, had himself made a room near the dormitory where the canons slept, because he was very old and had only one tooth and he did not want the young men to despise him for his age nor for them to molest him, because Saint Gregory says that even if an old man is not sick, he is always infirm because of his age; and some young men in there often visited him and said to him in fun:
“Father, how long would you wish to stay in this world?”
And he would answer them:
“My sons, if it so pleased God I would rather leave this world than dwell in it for long, because in it I never had but sorrow and wretchedness and in the other world I shall find nothing but glory.”

And those that often asked him this had heard the angels singing in the good man's room and the songs were and said as follows: You are blessed and blessed be the tooth in your mouth for it does not touch delicate food. For the good man only ate dry bread, such as is made in that land, made of oats; and of this bread they only eat 10 or 12 times but not continuously nor do they eat bread or drink wine, but live only on beef and drink water. And great lords drink milk as I shall recount in more detail in its place. In this regard the good man drank cold water and in the end he passed away from this life and went to Our Lord as he had always wished.

In the time of Saint Patrick — and afterwards — he had set down in writing all that he had seen of those who had entered that pit because some went there and did not come back and were lost because they had not been firm in the faith.


3. (Conditions of entry to the Purgatory)

The custom is such that no one may enter unless it be to purge his sins and with the permission of the bishop or archbishop. And he is in the diocese in which the purgatory stands; and when the person who wishes to enter there goes there to one of them and speaks and tells them his wish, first of all they advise them that no way should they wish to enter there and tell them that many have gone in there and not come out; and if the man does not wish to renounce entering there, they give him his letters and send him to the prior of the church; and when the prior has read the letters and he tells him of his wish, he argues much against entering and advises him strongly not to enter but to choose some other penance because so many others have entered there who have never come out again but perished there. Thus the prior advises them and if he sees that he cannot dissuade them from their intention, he makes them enter the church and stay there for a certain time in penance and prayer; and after a certain time he gathers together all the clergy in that land who can be gathered together or found to sing a mass early in the morning in the aforesaid church; and the man who wishes to enter the pit receives the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ and holy water, as Saint Patrick has established and ordered. Afterwards the prior leads him with all the clergy to the gate of the purgatory with a great procession singing litanies; and then the prior opens the gate and tells him of the dangers which are in the place in which he wishes to enter and how the malign spirits will come out to him and fight him and how a great quantity of other people have been lost there; and if one pays no heed to this and does not shift from his intention, then he makes the sign of the cross over him and blesses him and all those who are there and he commends himself to their prayers and makes the sign of the cross over them and takes his leave and enters the pit. And the prior shuts the gate and afterwards he goes back in procession; and next morning all the clergy return to the gate of the pit and the prior opens it and, if the man is found there, they lead him in great procession to the church and he remains there for as long as he wishes; and if he is not found at the very same hour that he entered the day before, then they know for sure that he is lost body and soul. And the prior shuts the gates and goes back.


4. (Autobiography)

After King Charles died, who was king of France, I had been in his service for a long time; and afterwards I was in the service of king Joan of Aragon, whose first knight I was and he was my natural lord; and for a long time I was his intimate and loved by him as much as a servant may be by his lord; and I was aware that the aforesaid lord showed me great love — this I found in him and loved him as much as a servant may love his lord, inasmuch as there would be nothing that I could possibly do in this world that I would not do for him. And I left the aforesaid lord with his permission in the kingdom of Valencia and came to the place called Millàs which is my patrimony of the viscountcy of Perellós. And then there occurred the death of pope Clement V 1 who was of the family of the Count of Guyenne 2; and a few days later Cardinal de Luna was elected pope by the cardinals and took the name of Benedict XIII.

And as in some journey had found myself in Italian waters where I was with three armed galleys, and also on land, it happened that they were in the service of pope Clement and his college; and I was well acquainted with his cardinals who left Italy on my galleys and two belonging to the seneschal of Provence, whose name was Fouquet d'Agout. They came to me in the first year of the schism which has lasted so long. And the bishop of Bari, the pope who was called Urban 3, stayed in Rome. And I was well acquainted with the cardinals, in particular with Cardinal de Luna who had been recently elected [pope] and the aforesaid pope Benedict sent me a message ordering me to go and serve with him. This I did and served him with the permission of my aforesaid lord the king.

It happened that I was with the aforesaid pope when my lord the king died 4 and for this death — despite the will of God — I was very sad and sorrowful, as much as any servant can be on account of the death of his lord, and I set my heart at that time to go to Saint Patrick's purgatory to find out if it was possible to find my lord in purgatory and the pains he was suffering. Thus I conceived the aforesaid things because of what I had heard about the purgatory.


And after some days of this desire which I had to go and enter the purgatory, by way of confession I spoke to the pope, telling him about all my intention. He rebuffed me very strongly and put great fear in me, advising me by no means to do this; and over and above what he said, he had me told by some cardinals who were close to him, in particular two: one was the dean of Tarazona who was of the family surnamed Calviello 5; the other cardinal was called Jofré de Santa Elena 6. And a brother of mine called Sir Ponç of Perellós was present. And the pope strongly advised me not to go, so that they held me back so strongly that I was hard put to it to escape them.

And after some days I spoke to the pope, telling him that for nothing in the world would I abandon this journey; and having obtained his blessing, I departed from him on the feast of Our Lady in September in the aforesaid year and went my way through France to the king's court in Paris — I was a former servant of his and his father, whose name was Charles, had reared me from a very early age and had likewise made me his chamberlain; and from the king of France and from his uncles, the brothers dukes of Berry and Burgundy, I had letters of recommendation to the king of England (who was his son in law) and other lords of England (on beginning the marriage they had made a truce for 30 years 7). I left Paris and by daily stages came to Calais where I took ship for England.


5. (Journey to Ireland)

I left there on All Saints Day, taking the London road and passing by St Thomas of Canterbury; and in London I had news that the king of England was in a great enclosed park — like the Bois de Vincennes near Paris — called Woodstock 8, 8 miles from Oxonia 9 where there is a great Studium Generale (i.e. university), which the English call Oxenford 10; said park is very fine and the king has a very fine dwelling there and the mansion is very fine with many stories and buildings. And on account of the letters of the King of France which I brought I was very well received and they did me much honor and had me guided and safe throughout his kingdom, all of which I crossed without stopping anywhere — it is true that I did stay ten days with the king.

I left the court and went by daily stages until I entered a region called Chestershire 11, which is in the Welsh March, as far as the city of Chester, where I embarked and following the coast of Wales I came to a place called Holyhead; and from there I departed and crossed the deep with a fine wind in the direction of Ireland. Despalaguí (DE ESPALEGE) in the isle of Man 12 which belonged to the king of a hundred knights in the time of King Arthur and is today well populated and belongs to the king of England; and from there I crossed, still with good weather, and arrived in Ireland and after a few days I disembarked in the city. 13

And there I found the Earl of March 14, cousin to King Richard of England, who received me most nobly thanks to the letters of recommendation of the king and queen of England. I told him of the intention of the journey which I proposed to undertake. And the lord advised me strongly against it, saying that for two reasons I should not undertake this journey: one was that I would have to go through strange places inhabited by wild people who had no governance which anyone should trust; the other reason was that entering the purgatory was a very dangerous matter and many good knights had lost themselves there and not returned; so by no means should I wish to enter therein nor lead myself astray there. The earl did his best to oppose my going and, when he saw that I was so inclined, he gave me two of his horses and some jewels and gave me two squires, one called John of Ivry who guided me through the land which the king of England holds in Ireland and all the time we were riding did not allow us to spend anything but covered all our expenses to my sorrow; and another called John Talbot who knew the Irish language. He was my interpreter.


And these two had orders to take me to the archbishop of Armagh 15 and this they did. The latter is the highest person of the Irish in the island and he is their pope. We found him in the town of Drogheda 16, which town is as large as Puigcerdà or Tarragona. And the aforesaid squires presented me to the archbishop to whom I gave the letters of the king and queen of England and of the Earl of March. And the said archbishop received me most graciously and did me great honor. When he knew my wishes, he strongly opposed my journey and strongly advised me not to go on it, saying that over and above the danger of entering the purgatory, neither he nor anyone could make it safe through the lands of king Ó Néill or other lords through whose lands I would have to pass before reaching the purgatory; if he did not wish to get lost in the land, no way should I try it. And afterwards he set me in the vestry of the great church where he strongly advised and begged me to by no means enter the purgatory, telling me much of the dangers and scandals which have happened to various people who were lost inside the purgatory; he told me even more of all the dangers which might ensue or are therein, to which I replied as God had ordained for me and confirmed that never would I leave or abandon making my journey; and when he saw that he could not shift me from my purpose, he gave me all the directions he could and gave me permission to go and heard my confession and I took Our Lord most secretly from his hand and he told me that in the week he would be in a town called Dundalk 17. And so he did.

And I at once departed from him and went to the aforesaid town and from there sent to king Ó Néill who was in the city of Armagh. 18 He indeed sent me a safe conduct and one of his knights and a messenger to lead me to where they were. And the aforesaid archbishop came on the day fixed and brought with him a hundred men at arms armed in their manner to accompany me and left me an interpreter who was first cousin to John Talbot; and with the hundred men at arms I entered Irish territory where king Ó Néill reigned. And when I had ridden some five miles ahead, the said riders dared not go further because they are all great enemies; but they stayed on a hill and I took leave of them and went ahead.

And after I had gone about half a league, I found king Ó Néill's marshal with a good hundred men on horseback, likewise armed in their fashion, with whom I spoke. And leaving him I went to the king who received me well in their fashion and sent me a gift of food, that is to say beef because they neither eat bread nor drink wine, because they have none; but they drink water and the great lords drink milk for their nobility and some drink meat broth. Since their customs and manners are very strange to us, I shall recount for you as briefly as I can something of their conditions and manners, of what I saw of them with the king, with whom on my return journey I spent the feast of Christmas, despite the fact that passing when I was first with him I had not seen enough of them.


6. (Customs of the Irish)

It is true that the king becomes king by succession and there are various kings in that island which is as large as the island of England, but this Ó Néill is the greatest king and all the others come of his lineage. And he has a good 140 horsemen riding with no saddle but with a cushion and wearing a slashed cloak, which each man wears according to his rank, and they equip themselves with a coat of mail and have their breasts girded, with chain mail throat pieces and round iron helmets like Moors or Saracens; and there were some like foot soldiers with swords and knives and very long thin spears — like other old-fashioned spears they are two fathoms long; the swords are like those of the Saracens which we call Genoese swords; the pommel and the guard are different, almost like a hand stretched out; the knives are long and as narrow as the little finger and they are very sharp. This is their manner of arming themselves and some of them use bows which are as small as half the size of the English bow, yet they strike as hard as the English. And they are bold and have been at war with the English for a long time and the king of England cannot have his way. He has had to fight various battles with them. And their way of making war is like that of the Saracens and they shout in the same way. And the great lords wear a coat with no lining down to their knees, cut very low at the neckline like women, and they wear great hoods which go down to their waist, the point being as narrow as one's finger and they wear neither leggings nor shoes nor britches but wear their spurs on their bare heels.

The king was in that state on Christmas day and all his clergy and knights and bishops and abbots and other great lords. The common people go as they may, badly dressed — but most of them wear a cape of frieze; and both men and women shamelessly show all their privates. Poor people go naked but they all wear those capes, good or bad, including ladies. The queen and her daughter and her sister were clothed and bound in green but they were unshod; the queen's handmaids — there was a good score of them — were dressed as I told you above and showed their privy parts with as little shame as here they show their faces.

And with the king there were about three thousand horses and also many poor folk to whom I saw the king give great alms of beef.

And moreover they are the most handsome men and fairest women that I have seen in the whole world. And moreover they never sowed any corn nor do they have any wine but all their food is meat and the great lords drink milk for their nobility and the others meat broth and water; but they have enough butter for all their livestock is oxen and cows and fine horses.


On Christmas day, according to what my interpreter said and certain others who could speak Latin, when the king holds his great court, his table was merely a great quantity of rushes spread out on the ground and they placed near him the finest grass they could find to wipe his mouth with and they brought the food on two poles just as they transport grape buckets at the wine harvest: you can imagine that the squires were badly dressed. Animals ate only grass instead of oats and holly leaf which they roast a bit because of the prickles on it. And let that suffice for the customs because I wish to say no more of them.

The king received me well and sent me an ox. In all his court there was neither bread to eat nor wine to drink, but as a great present he sent me two small flat loaves as thin as “neules” (very thin Catalan waffles now eaten at Christmas) which bent like uncooked dough; they were made of oats and looked like earth, as black as charcoal but really tasty. And then the king gave me a safe conduct to pass through all his land and his people, on foot or on horseback, and spoke long and loud and most diligently he inquired of me about the Christian kings, particularly the kings of France, Aragon and Castile, and about their customs and manner of life; and according to what appeared from his words, they consider their own customs the best and most perfect in the world.

For the most part their dwellings are commonly near the cattle; and with the cattle they make their dwellings; and one day, when the pastures are consumed, they decamp like the bedouins 19 of Barbary and the land of the sultan and move their town and all go off together.


7. (Arrival and preparations)

I departed from that king's court and followed the road for several days — because the road is long — until I reached one of their towns called Tearmann 20 and they call it thus because there they will do no harm to anyone; it would seem they have great devotion to Saint Patrick and it is good through the realm; and the kings keep that town safe and the pilgrims who go there are obliged to leave their animals there for horses or other animals could not cross the mountains or the waters. So leaving there I went on foot to the town where the priory is found; the purgatory is in this priory and there is a great deep lake 21 wherein is the aforesaid island; and the water is good to drink and in the lake there are various other islands. The waters are so great throughout the island (of Ireland?) that one can hardly cross the highest mountains for the waters which are there where one enters up to one's knees 22, so that it is very difficult to pass on foot, and even more so on horseback.

On my leaving Tearmann, the lord of the place 23, who is a great lord, and his brother who had a great devotion to my lord Saint Patrick, helped me a lot to get organized as well as all the pilgrims; and he wished to go with me and accompanied me to the monastery where I was very well received. And we crossed the lake in a boat carved out of a single piece of wood, because there was no other boat. The lord of Tearmann and the prior who was there embarked in another.

As soon as I was in the monastery, they asked me if I wished to enter the purgatory and I answered yes; and then they counseled me strongly that I should by no means wish to enter there nor tempt God, since there was not only danger to the body but also to the soul, which was more important, telling and showing me the dangers and the strength of those who had died there. But when they saw my strength of purpose, they told me — specially the prior — that I would have to act in accordance with their customs in the monastery as Saint Patrick had ordered and the predecessors of the prior, as it is in the chapter on Saint Patrick which speaks of Saint Patrick. Thus I did, in accordance with their customs, wherein one must do with great devotion all that these men do who for sickness or other dangers are awaiting death. When all this was done, with a great procession they accustomed to lead me to the church and the person who enters is always strongly advised to by no means enter; and they told me to give up my entry to purge my sins and to enter in some order to serve the religious brothers or be one and not to put myself in such danger.


And having carried out all the customs in the church which Saint Patrick ordered as is said above, all this being done, with all the clergy that was to be found in that district as early in the morning as they could they sing a requiem mass for the person entering in. And they did all that pertained to this.

And while I was in the church I spoke with a nephew of mine, my sister's son, who was of the family of Centelles and a doctor of the church, his name being Sir Bernat de Centelles; and with two sons of mine, the elder called Lluís and the younger Ramon; and with my company and servants they settled the matter of their return journey if God should take me: and I gave my will to my nephew Sir Bernat de Centelles who was sacristan of Mallorca.

All this being done, the prior and the friars and the lord of Tearmann asked me where I wished to be buried in case I died; and I answered that earth was the tomb of the dead and that I left it to them. And with the procession they led me to the gate of the purgatory and I dubbed four knights there, of whom two were my sons and the other two were an Englishman named Sir Thomas Hawkwood and the other Sir Pere de Massa of the kingdom of Valencia. And afterwards they sung the litanies and gave me holy water and the prior opened the gate and said the following words to me in the presence of all those who were there:
“Here you have the place where you wish to enter, but if you wished to believe me and my advice, you will turn back and mend your ways in this world in some other manner for many men have entered here who have never returned and they all perished in body and soul because they did not have a firm belief in Jesus Christ and for this reason they cannot suffer the torments which are there beyond. But if you wish to enter there, I will tell you what you will find there.”

And then I told him that with God's help I would enter there to purge my sins; and they he said to me:
“I do not wish to tell you anything about the pit because you can see it and will find it; but in another place God will send you his messengers who will teach you all you must do; and immediately afterwards they will go away and leave you alone and thus it has been done to all those who have entered there before you.”


And then I took my leave of all those who were there and kissed them on the mouth and commended myself to God and entered in; and after me there entered a knight called Sir William de Courcy who was appointed to be the majordomo and his wife to be the chief lady-in-waiting of the queen of England 24 who is the daughter of the king of France. And he had done all that was proper for the aforesaid entry and he was, like me, counseled by the aforesaid friars and they advised us strongly not to speak at all with each other and that the words and dangers which had been spoken of with regard to the torments through which had perished and been lost those who has entered; and in this way they did indeed place doubts in my heart and understanding but the great desire which I had to know in what state my lord king found himself and likewise to purge my sins made me forget all that was to come; and I commended myself to the good prayers of the good men and girded myself with faith and belief the best I might and I crossed myself and commended myself to God and entered the purgatory followed by my companion. And at once the prior shut the gate and went back to the church with his clergy.


8. (Transition)

When I was in the pit, I at once found the end; and it is about two ells of Montpellier long and at the end of the pit it is a bit twisted to the left. And as soon as I was at the end, I tried with my hands to see if I could find a hole or a place through which I could pass but I did not find any. The truth is that going forward I felt that the end of the pit was very weak and it appeared that if one kept up the pressure one would enter. And then I sat myself down as well as I could and stayed like that for more than an hour without thought for anything else. It is true that a sweating and great anguish of heart took me as if I was seasick or sailing. And after a bit I fell asleep almost through boredom for the great anguish I had had; afterwards there came a thunderclap so great that all those who were in the monastery, both the canons and those who had come with me, felt it as if it were September thunder; and the sky was clear so that all those outside considered this a great wonder. And in that hour I fell from a height of some two ells; but through the anguish which I had had so that I was all sleepy, I was a bit dazed and for the great thunderclap which had been so terrible that it almost deafened me. And after a bit I groaned and said the words which the prior had taught me, which are as follows: “Christe fili Dei vivi, miserere mei peccatori.” And then I saw the pit opened and went through it for a long way and I lost my companion — I neither saw him nor knew what had become of him.

9. (The entrance to Purgatory)

Then I went all alone through that pit which the further I went the more hollow I found it in darkness, so much so that I completely lost the brightness of any light. And when I had advanced a little, I entered a place which appeared to me to be the end and there I found a chamber according to what the prior had told me; and there was no other light but twilight as one would say in the world. This chamber was not shut in all around but had pillars with arches like a monastery cloister. And when I had walked up and down enough in that chamber, I was full of wonder at its shape and so delicate a form when I saw that chamber; and I entered it and sat down. And I was greatly in wonder at the great beauty and loveliness in that most delightful chamber and at the same time at its strange shape and form; for it seemed to me that I had never seen so beautiful a chamber anywhere I had ever been.


And when I had sat their for a long while, twelve men came to me who all seemed to be in orders and were all dressed in white robes. And they all entered the chamber and on arriving greeted me most humbly. One 25 of them seemed to me to be the elder, almost like a prior, and he spoke mto me for all the others and comforted me greatly and said:
“Blessed be God who has all things in his power and who has placed in your heart the good intent; and may he perfect 26 in you the good that you have begun; and since you have come into this purgatory for your sins, know that you must act with great courage in this matter and, if you did not, you would lose body and soul for your wickedness. For as soon as we have gone out of this chamber, it will become altogether full of devils who will all in common torment and threaten you and, even worse, will promise to return you back safe and sound and with no danger to the gate through which you have entered, if you wish to believe them, and thus they will assault you to deceive. And if you consent to them for the great harm they do you with torments or fears or threats which they make to you, you will perish in body and soul. And if you believe firmly and put all your care and belief in God, you will be free of all the sins you have committed and you will see the torments which are prepared for sinners to purge their sins and the repose in which the righteous will repose and delight themselves. And be most careful to always have God in remembrance; and when the devils torment you, always call on the name of Our Lord God Jesus Christ for through that name you will always be delivered from all the torments into which you will be put. And with that we commend you to God because we cannot stay longer here.”

And then each one gave me his blessing and went away.


10. (The devils arrive)

And I remained there all alone, clothed in a garment of the faith of Jesus Christ and armed with all my power and great hope of gaining victory, having great contrition in my heart for all the sins which they might remind me that I had committed, and having firmly all my remembrance and hope in God, begging him humbly and piteously not to abandon me in this so strait and dangerous a pass, and likewise praying and begging him I said that he should give me strength and power against the enemies, for his pity which never failed a man who had hope in him.

And as I was sitting all alone in the chamber awaiting the great battle of the malign spirits, I suddenly heard a great noise as if the whole world had come together there to make a great riot; and everyone shouted as loudly as he could: I do not believe that a greater noise could be made and, if the virtue of heaven had not protected me and the good men had not taught me, I would have gone clean out of my mind.

After this noise came the sight of the devils, horrible demons, who in every part of that so delightful and pleasing chamber were so thick no one could count them. And I saw them in various hideous forms and shapes and they greeted me and looked at me and said to me as if in flattery and scorn:
“The other men in the world who are wise 27 do not come here until they are dead. For this we must be grateful to you and give you greater thanks than to the others who do not come back; 28 since with great diligence you have served very well, you are coming here to suffer torment for the sins which you have committed and perpetrated, for which you will have great torments and pain with us. But because you have served us well, if you will follow our advice and go back, we will let you live a good while yet in the world with great joy and pleasure; and if not, you will lose all the things which can help you and be good and sweet to body and soul.”

And this they told me to deceive me through threats and lies; but God gave me courage to disdain it all to them and I had no care for all their threats and never would I go out for any one thing or another, quite the contrary I held myself secure and answered them nothing. And when the devils saw that I disdained them in all, they began to grind their teeth against me and at once they made a great fire in the middle of the chamber and tightly bound my arms, my feet and my hands, and then threw me onto the fire. And they dragged my arms with iron hooks and shouted and bellowed to give me greater fear and frighten me more. But God, who had provided and fortified me with hope, did not let me forget his holy name nor what the good men had taught me — that I should call on the name of God — and in this way I defended myself against their temptation. And when they had thrown me into the fire, just as soon as I spoke the name of Jesus Christ, I was at once cured and the fire extinguished so that not a single spark remained. And when I saw this, I took courage and was much more bold than before and decided in my heart that never again would I fear them since by calling on the name of God I had beaten them.


11. (The first field)

And then the devils made a great noise and sound and left the chamber and departed to many places; but quite enough remained for me and they led me into a land laid waste for a long time. And that land was very black and shady and all I saw there were malign spirits who dragged me through the middle of that land; and there was so great a wind but very gentle that one could hardly hear it but it seemed to me that that wind passed through me and traversed my whole body and it was so painful to me that I could not stand it.

And from there on those devils led me towards the east, where the sun rises on the longest days in summer. And when they had gone a little way they turned me there where the sun rose on the shortest days of the year in winter, we came there almost to the end of the world. And there I heard many persons weeping, shouting and groaning and lamenting painfully and hard, that it seemed to me that many folk from all lands were gathered together to mourn; and the further on we came, the stronger we heard and understood their great pain. And from there we came to a great field full of pain and captivity; and I could not see the end because it was so long. And there were men and women of various kinds and estates who were lying on the ground completely naked and altogether stretched out on their bellies; and they were nailed to the ground with burning nails and there lay upon them burning dragons and they were nailed down by their feet and their hands and the dragons were biting them and poking their teeth into the flesh of their bodies as if they were to eat them. And from the great pain that those people were suffering, they many times bit the earth and cried for mercy but they did not find it because the devils were shouting in their midst and from above they tormented them and beat them most cruelly.

And then the devils threatened me with that torment and said to me:
“Such torment you will have if you do not decide to follow our advice. And we ask nothing more than that you should abandon what you have undertaken and begun and have to do and that you should go back because we will put you outside the gate through which you came in and you will go away without suffering harm.”

And I did not deign to hear them nor did I wish to answer them but it seemed to me that as Our Lord had delivered me from the other torments that he would do the same in this one. And when they saw this, they threw me to the ground to put the nails in my hands and feet; and I called on the name of Jesus Christ son of the living God, at which the devils could not in any way do me harm, quite the contrary I was delivered from that torment which was in that field.


12. (The second field)

And then they led me to another field where there were more pains than in the first; it was full of various people of various estates and those people were nailed with nails like the others but with another difference and form for these had serpents biting the veins and arteries of their neck and on their bodies they placed their heads on their breasts and in their breasts they planted needles; and there were others who had burning toads and lizards on them with long sharp snouts which broke through their breasts and dragged out their heart from their innards. And these people made the greatest lamentation that they could, which was most terrible. And the devils were running among them, beating them and tormenting them fiercely. And that field was so long that one could not see its end but I did see the width of the field and afterwards the devils said to me:
“This torment you will suffer if you do not turn back.”

And I said not a word and when I refused to do anything they wished to torment and force me but they could not because of the name of Jesus Christ which I spoke and at once I was free of that danger.

13. (The third field)

But the devils led me to yet another field where there were those for whom I could have great sadness and great suffering and pity in my heart, for there were so many people that one could not count them. The people lay on the ground on small nails, all burning, which so pierced them in their whole body from head to toe that one would find no place where one could place the end of one's little finger but it was all pierced. And they lamented like people who were close to death and with great difficulty they could form their speech like the others- And a wind was blowing so fiercely that it tormented all of them when it touched them; and the torments and the devils who were there and beat them hard and tormented them so cruelly that no living man could see such torments. Then the devils said to me:
“This torment you will suffer if you will not turn back.”

But I did not wish to consent to this and then they threw me to the ground and wished to torment me like the others but they could not because I called on the name of Jesus Christ and so escaped.


14. (The fourth field)

And then they tried to harm me in this third field 29 and then they led me into another field which was all full of fire, in which there was all manner of fire and most terrible and fierce and grievous torments, where there were so many people they were uncountable: some hung by the feet with chains of burning iron, others by the hands, others by the arms and others by the legs. And the field where they hung burned underneath with a sulfur fire flame and they roasted them on great griddles of burning iron. Others roasted over the fire on great spits of iron and to baste them they let drip on them drops of various metals, all burning, which the devils melted over them. Withal the devils tormented them with various torments and no one could in any way imagine or think of the torments which were there. And there I saw many of my companions whom I knew and kin of mine — men and women — and the king Joan of Aragon and friar Francès of the Franciscan convent of Girona and Dolça de Queralt who was my niece and was not dead when I left the land nor did I know of her death.

All these were on the way to salvation but for their sins they were there in that pain. And the greatest pain which my niece had was for the paints and whitening powders she had used on her face when she was alive. And friar Francès, with whom I spoke, suffered the greatest pain on account of a nun whom he brought out of a nunnery — and he would have been damned but for the great contrition which he had for his sin and the penance he did during his life.

Afterwards I spoke much with my lord the king, who by the grace of God was on the way to salvation. He did not wish to declare the reason for which he was suffering pains — and I say that the kings and princes who are in the world should keep themselves above all from committing injustice in order to please any man or woman or others nearer to their family, be they men or women, from whom they have issued or come.

I do not care to speak further of this but thank God because they are on the way to salvation; may it please God that all men be thus and be in that number if they cannot do better. But if in this world one knew how sins are punished, one would rather let oneself be cut up into small pieces than wish to sin or think any evil or wickedness; for no one could imagine or recount the shouts and bellows and the ugly deeds which they do to them or the torments which they suffer. And the devils always torment them and make so loud a clamor that none could be greater; every one of them wished to torment me but I called on the name of God, on account of which they could not harm me.


15. (The wheel of fire)

After this the devils led me to a great valley where there was a wheel of burning fire, all the spindles and spokes of which were full of hooks of burning iron and a soul hung on each hook. And that wheel hung vertically, one half down and the other against the ground where there was a black fire like sulfur and those hanging on that wheel were burning. And then the devils said to me:
“This torment you will suffer but we shall show you beforehand what torment this is.”

And then the devils went on one side and the other and placed the wheel against each other and made great flames come out of the middle and around the wheel, and made it revolve and go so suddenly that of those hanging on the wheel none could see the other, rather it seemed that there was only fire because it was revolving so fast. And those hanging on that wheel lamented most miserably and then the devils seized me and threw me onto the wheel — whirling round I called on the name of Jesus Christ and at once I was out of the wheel and was free of that danger and torment.


16. (The baths of molten metals)

From this so great a torment they led me to another torment where there was a great house, all smoking like an oven or furnace; and it was so long that I could not see the end. While the devils were dragging me over there, when I was a little to the fore I wished to stop a little because I felt so great a heat that I could no longer walk. And the devils ordered me:
“Why are you stopping? This is a thing to bathe in, whether you want to or not. — with those who were bathing there.”

And when I saw closer up, I heard people weeping and crying most piteously; and when I enter that house, I saw that it was full of round pits which were so near to each other that one could find no way through. And each of these pits was full inside of metals, all molten and burning, and there people dived into molten lead; and others in boiling copper; and others in iron which by the force of the fire and the great heat seemed to be red wine; and other in silver so hot and boiling that it seemed to be clear water; and others in gold so hot and all molten it was as bright as the sun.

Thus many sorts of people of diverse estates were in great torments and they were all naked; and all I had seen of torments seemed as nothing compared to that for all those who were there seemed to be standing on their toes and they all looked towards a wind which to me seemed that called tramontana (NW wind) and it seemed as if they were awaiting death and they shivered most narrowly and curiously. And then I wondered much and one of the devils said to me:
“You are wondering why these people are so afraid, what it is they are awaiting; but if you do not turn back you will find it out very soon.”


17. (The frozen river)

And hardly had the devil said this when a change of wind occurred which blew away all the devils and likewise myself and all those people into a cold, stinking and very low river towards the other part of the mountain. Many people wept and lamented most piteously for the cold and the stench and when they tried to come out of it, the devils made them dive in even more strongly. And I being afraid of the great torments, began to call on Our Lord Jesus Christ and thus I found myself at once out of the danger of that torment.

18. (The well of fire)

Afterwards the devils approached me and led me to the east and I looked in front of me and saw a great flame, stinking like sulfur. And that flame rose so high, as it seemed to me, and there were men and women of various estates, all burning, who were flying in the air as high as I could look just like the sparks of a fire do. And when the flame came down and weakened the people fell into the fire. And as we came near, it seemed to me that that was an oven or a well from which the flame came out. And then the devils said to me:
“This well which you can see is the mouth of hell where our dwelling place is; and because you have served us up to now you will enter and be with us always and that is the reward of those who serve us. And know that you will enter here and perish body and soul; and if you follow our advice and wish to go back, we will lead you without harming you to the outside gate through which you came in.”

But I always had a great overriding trust in Our Lord and held the promise in great contempt. And when they saw this, they seized me and threw me into the well and the further I went down, the wider I found it and the more I felt pain and hardship and much anguish, so much so that I thought I was failing so much that I thought I was forgetting the name of God; and I called on Jesus Christ and all his help in the great anguish which I felt and the great pain and torment. 30 And as it pleases God and by his grace I did not wish to despair, I called on the name of Jesus Christ and at once the strength of the flame threw me out of the well with the wind and the air and I came down by the side of the well and stayed there a great while not knowing where I was nor in which direction I should go and I was all alone for I did not know where the devils had gone or what had happened to those who had brought me.


19. (The bridge of hell)

And then other devils came, coming out of the well straight at me, and said to me:
“What are you doing here? Our companions told you that this was the well of hell and they lied, for our custom is to always lie, because we willingly deceive by lying; in truth, we deceive all those who we can. But this is not the well of hell — but we will lead and put you there.”

And they made me a great storm and saying 31 this they led me far. And from there we came to a very long, wide and stinking river; and it seemed to me that everything was fire and flame of ignited sulfur and it was all full of devils. And those who had brought me said to me:
“You must go and cross this bridge; as soon as you go out, the wind which is is the river will blow you and cast you into this river, and our companions who are there will seize you and make you dive into the deepest part. But you must pass and look before which path the bridge is.”

And that had in it three things which make one fear much. The first that it was icy and narrow; and even if it were wide enough, one could hardly keep oneself on it. The second, it was so high that it was most to be feared and it was a terrible thing to look at the ground. The third was that the wind rushed so strongly on it that no one could imagine the noise that it made there. They they told me that:
“If you wish to believe us, you will escape this torment for this is the last one that you will find.”

And I thought then that Our Lord had kept and defended me and with great courage I mounted on the bridge. The further I went forward on it, the wider I found it and the more surely I went, for the bridge widened on both sides, so that two laden animals could pass on it. And the devils who had brought me there remained on the river bank and when they went and saw that I was going so surely on the bridge, they made a very great and very horrible lamentation and so awful that they scared me more and their shouting made me fear more than the fear had done of the torments which I had seen or heard or passed through. And I passed off the bridge as if no one was holding it against me. And when I was well advanced, I looked at the river and the bridge which I had passed and the devils who had left me who could no longer do me any harm.

Many 32 things I saw in that purgatory, things which I was forbidden to tell on pain of death, and God forbid that they should be revealed by my mouth. He who would think on the afflictions and the torments which are there, would have them always in the memory of his heart; the travails and pains of this world or other sicknesses or poverty would not weigh them down for all the torments of this world are but sweet dews and sweet honey 33 compared to those; and no one would take carnal pleasure in any delights of this world. And he who thinks well — of these who are religious and in affliction, they should think how great are the torments and pains of hell and the pains and torments of purgatory, for it is a by far lighter thing to suffer pains in this world, both in body and soul, than if one has to suffer and go to so many ills and afflictions in purgatory, and even more in hell.

Let us pray always to Our Lord that through his holy mercy and his great mildness he may grant and make us pass through the pains of purgatory and come to the glory of paradise in the joy and well being which will never fail us. And let us pray Our Lord for our fathers and mothers and for all our good friends who have passed from this world to the other and are in those torments, that Jesus Christ through his grace and mercy may deign to release them. And may all those who will pray and give alms or other good things for those men or women who are in those pains be blessed by God and before his face, because this is the greatest need that may exist, or have pity on those who are there, for this is the greatest charity that may exist. And this is a thing for which those persons are tormented in purgatory so that they may be lightened of the torments and released, not for those who will inter through the mouth of hell. Now let everyone decide to do good and not evil and keep himself so as not to do what will oblige him to go to hell, for this is without return and without end. And may that Lord who has all things in his power keep us all, men and women, from evil. Amen.


20. (The earthly paradise)

And when I had passed, I gave praise and thanks to God for the graces which he had done me, for he had thus delivered me from so many most cruel dangers. And I saw before me a great wall, very high and of wondrous and most strange fashion, in which there was a gate all of which shone, adorned more than gold and surrounded with precious stones; and when I was close to it, at two miles distance or more, it opened and from inside there came out a great odor as if in all the world they were toasting or roasting spices or as if it were full of other sweet smelling things. And this odor surpassed all the others, it was so soft and sweet and pleasant to my mind. And there I recovered all my strength and health and it seemed to me that I had suffered no ill, but all good, with no pain and with no anguish, and I forgot entirely all the ills I had had before.

Indeed I looked before me at the gate and I saw a very great land; and it was brighter than the brightness of the sun and I had a most great desire to enter in. And before I entered, a great procession came before me which was so great and wonderful that I had never seen the like; and they carried croziers and great palm boughs 34 which seemed to be of gold; in it there came men of great estate, where there were the pope and cardinals and archbishops, monks and priest and many other clerics, such as are ordained to the service of God for as long as they stayed in the world, and many others; and the people were of different appearance, each one according to his estate in which they were in this mortal life; and likewise a most fair company of women with whom I was received with great honor and with very great joy. And they led me with them inside the gate and sang most sweetly a sort of song which I had never in my life heard. And when they had sung for a long time, two archbishops, to my mind, came and took me to their dwelling and in their company and they led me through that country 35 rejoicing and to see and behold the wonders that were there. And before they spoke to me and praised and blessed God who had thus strengthened my courage and good and true faith, through which I had beaten the devils and had escaped from so many torments. And then they led me throughout that land and showed me so many joys, sweetness and pleasures, that I could not show nor describe nor tell, so fair was the land, and it seemed to me that all this was like when the sun with its great brightness has outshone on all side whatever is in the lantern, so was the sun with less brightness because of the brightness which I saw so sweet and soft and delightful.


And that land, that country, was so wide that one could not see the end anywhere and it was full of very green meadows and delicate grasses arranged with great measure, full of flowers adorned with various soft and pleasing colors and and full of sweet smelling, delightful trees and fruits of all shape and great beauty and very great quantity and abundance that it seemed to me that one could forever live well there without dying.

And being there there was no night for the pure brightness of the rays of the sky always shone there. 36 But the great multitude of people whom I saw there was so great that I had never seen so many in the world; and they were in the form of people in orders, as they are in religious convents, each in his order, and they went and came as they wished, some with others, rejoicing and taking pleasure and making a festival with great joy, praising and glorifying the creator. And just as one star is brighter than another, such were they; and they were clothes in robes of gold and green and other in white and others in red, in the manner in which they had served God in this world. And I recognized the form of the robes of the orders, for as they were in various colors in the world, here they were in varying shades of brightness. And what seemed all color of gold and the various colors of the robes were colors of various glories and brightnesses; and there were those who were crowned as kings. And I had very great pleasure to look on them and hear the sweet chants which they made everywhere and there was so much sweetness and so much odor that a human could not think feeling that glory, because there was nothing but joy and happiness, far everyone rejoiced at himself and at the others. And all those who looked at me, praised and blessed God and made fresh joy for me as if I had for each of them raised their brothers from the dead.

And in that place there is neither hot nor cold nor anything else which might harm or discomfort or pain a man's body; and that place is very pleasant and delightful for there is there nothing but joy and happiness and delight.

And then I saw new things which I could not know or tell in this world. And after I had heard the sweet chants and melodies, the two archbishops who had led me in then took me aside and said to me:
 p.24 “Our dear brother, now you have seen part of what you desired, that is the joy and happiness of the righteous and the torment of sinners. Blesséd be God who has made all things and has redeemed us with his precious blood, who gave you that good purpose that you have passed through the torments which you have seen. And because by his virtue and his great grace you have come to us, we will tell you what it is that you have seen in this land.”

“Know that this land is the earthly paradise out of which Adam, the first father, was cast through his sin; and from this came the pain of the world. And from here he saw God and spoke with him and with the company of angels and they were with him; and because he did not keep God's commandments, he lost the great celestial pleasure of this place and the grace which God had given him, until the son of God by his goodness took human flesh and brought our redemption, through that faith which we receive at baptism where we believe that there is no other life than that in which we were born and through his love and hope, just like Adam, and because after our baptism we were left in the world and did many sins, for this reason we must come to purgatory and pass through the middle of those pains which you have seen in that purgatory through which you have passed, and the penance which we receive before death count for us in purgatory and the remainder one serves out in the aforesaid purgatory suffering torments according to what one has done. And all of us who are here have been in purgatory for our sins and all those whom you saw in torments where you have passed, when they are purged, will come to the repose where we are. And when others come, we must go to meet them as we have done for you and we bring them here. And of those who are purged in purgatory, some stay longer than others and others less and none of them can know when he will come out. But through the masses which are sung and the prayers and alms that are made for them, they come out of the torment or are partially lightened until they are totally free, for no one can know all this of himself how they suffer torments for their sins; and for this reason we thus have leisure to stay in accordance with the good we have done; and albeit we are free of the fire of purgatory, we are not worthy to enter paradise. Yet more — we are thus in great joy and great repose as you can see; and when it pleases God we will go to paradise. And our company grows and diminishes every day as those come from purgatory to us when they are purged and some of us go from the earthly paradise to the heavenly paradise.”


21. (The gate of the heavenly paradise)

And when they had spoken thus long with me, they led me to a great mountain and told me to look up and forward towards the sky. And I looked there and they asked me what color it was or what it seemed to me or where I was. And I answered them that to me it seemed the color of gold and silver come out of the furnace. And then they said to me:
“Know that what you can see is the gate of paradise and all that comes down from the sky comes down to us and thus one goes to paradise. And every day for as long as we are here, Our Lord sends us manna from heaven and you will know what food that is.”

And hardly had they said this when a great brightness came down from the sky like a great flame of fire and it seemed to me that that great brightness covered all that land and that brightness came down in rays upon those who were there, and likewise upon my head, and in no time those rays entered our bodies. And then it seemed to me that I felt inside me such a great sweetness in my heart that through the great pleasure that I had I did not know if I was dead or alive. And then the two archbishops said to me:
“This is the food of paradise which is prepared endlessly for those who from here will ascend to heaven.”

Out there I would willingly have stopped but after these things which were full of sweetness and joy for me, the archbishops told me things for which I sorrowed and was much sadder:
“Now you have seen part of what you requested or desired to see, this being the torment of sinners and the glory of the saved. And indeed you must go and return by the path on which you came, depending on what you will do or be in the world; if you live more in accordance with God, you can be sure that you will come to us when you pass away from the mortal world. And if you lead a bad life, from which may God defend you, you have clearly seen what the torments are which would be prepared for you. And returning you shall have no fear of the torments which you saw when coming, they cannot harm you nor will they dare approach you or do you any harm and the torments will in no way harm you.”

And having heard the words, seeing that I had to leave their company and depart and return by the path and the torments which I had passed, I could not stop myself crying and weeping when I saw that I had to go back and then tearfully I said to them:
“I will not leave here because I am much afraid, if I go back, that I shall do something in the world which impedes me from coming here.”

And then they told me that:
“This will not be at your will but at the pleasure of He who made you and us.”


22. (Coming out)

And then I went back weeping to the gate and they with me. And I went out but this was against my will. And they shut the gate behind me and I went back by the path on which I had come as far as the chamber and when the devils met me they fled before me as if they greatly feared me. And the torments could not harm me or do me any harm until I was in the chamber where I had passed at first. And the twelve men who had spoken with me at my going came to meet me and greatly praised Our Lord who had strengthened and held me in that strong and holy resolve. And there came my companion whom I had not seen since my entry. On account of the ill he had experienced he was much weakened and, by the grace of God, I helped him to come out. Then they said to me:
“You are free of all the sins you have committed and you must return at daybreak to your land because, if the prior were not to find you or those who are there to come and seek you at the gate, they would doubt of your return and turn back.”

And then we made the sign of the cross and they blessed us and we made as much haste as we could and advanced far enough without finding an end nor did we know where we were. For this reason I and my companion were much afraid and disturbed, thinking that we were shut in. And then we began to pray devoutly to God who had freed and delivered us from so many great dangers that he should wish to free and deliver us from this one, so that we would not perish. Being thus besieged by prayer and the travail which we had endured, with the anguish which anyone can imagine, we fell asleep; and being thus asleep there came a great thunderclap — but it was not as great as the first one and at once we woke up and I and my companion were much afraid and we found ourselves at the gate through which we had entered to the first pit. And being there, doubting where those were who had put us in and should come from the monastery to seek us, we were at the gate and as soon as they had opened it they saw us coming out from there. And we were received with much joy and at once they put us in the church where we said our prayers and gave thanks to God as he had taught us.


23. (The return journey)

And leaving there we returned by the road to king Ó Néill who received us very well and had great joy. And I celebrated Christmas day where he held great court according to their custom, which to us here is very strange for a king to do, albeit he had so many people. And I departed from there and we returned to the land which the English hold in that island of Ireland. And at New Year 37 we were with the Countess of March in a castle of hers and she received us honorably and competently gave us jewels. And everywhere where we passed they gave us great honor, appearing to show us great devotion as we are delivered out of those so great dangers. And if I had wished to reply, I was questioned much more in the island than I was afterwards.

The Earl of March had gone to England and leaving there we arrived at Dublin 38 where we embarked to cross to England. And in that city I was most honorably received by the noblemen and clergy. And out of there I crossed the sea and we arrived Wales before a harbor called Holyhead and thence by daily stages we arrived in England, where I found the king in a town called Chester where there is a most beautiful abbey of Benedictine monks where the king was staying; the queen was also there and I was notably received. And from there by daily stages I crossed the island of England and passing through London I reached the port of Dover where I saw Sir Gawain's head — for here he died — and also La Cote Mal Taillée for the knight who wore it was so called. And they kept this in the castle for their great chivalry. 39 And there I embarked and crossed to Calais; and thence by day journeys I made my way through Picardy to the court of the king of France whom I found in Paris where he received me most nobly because I had been his servant and chamberlain and I was his father's who reared me; and here I stayed a good four months by order of the pope and with him I went to the jousts organized by the German emperor (who was then king of Bohemia) and the king of Navarre was there and various dukes and great lords. And when the king returned to Paris, I took my leave and returned to the pope in Avignon where he received me notably.

Now let us pray Our Lord who has all things in his power that by his holy grace and mercy he may let us so life in this world that we may so purge our sins that at the end, at the hour of death, we may escape the peins and torments which you have heard recount; that at the end we may have the good things which will never fail. Let us pray God to keep us and do you who will read this book written by my own hand pray for me, if you please.

Here ends the book of Saint Patrick on the pains of purgatory. Thanks be to God.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): The Journey of Viscount Ramon de Perellós to Saint Patrick's Purgatory

Title (original): Viatge del Vescomte Ramón de Perellós y de Roda fet al Purgatori nomenat de Sant Patrici

Title (original): Voyage au Purgatoire de Saint Patrice

Author: Ramón de Perellós

Editor: Alan Mac an Bhaird

Responsibility statement

Translated by: Alan Mac an Bhaird

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 16690 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2012

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: T100079A

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only. This text is published on CELT with kind permission of Dr Alan Mac an Bhaird, Andorra, who owns the copyright.

Notes statement

We are very grateful to Dr Alan Mac an Bhaird, Andorra, for donating this annotated translation based on the collated Catalan and Occitan texts, and for lending his expertise in resolving queries about the text and related matters. Supplementary material donated by him includes a document of safe-conduct issued by Richard II to Ramon de Perellós in September 1397, which is appended to this file; and Philip O'Sullivan Beare's incomplete Latin account of the story, available in .pdf format at http://www.ucc.ie/celt/L100079.pdf. The Catalan and Occitan versions are available in separate files, C100079A and O100079A.

Source description

Manuscript source

  1. Catalan: Tour by Vescomte Ramón de Perellós: Manuscript of 1397 is lost; text is extant in a 1486 incunable printed at Toulouse by Henri Mayer, of Francesc Eiximenis, which incunable is now kept in Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya.
  2. Occitan: the text is extant in a translation into Provençal, edited by Jeanroy & Vignaux (see below). The source is Bibliothèque Municipale de Toulouse, MS no. 894, "manuscrit de Castellane", f. 1r-40v. This has an early 16th century binding; the handwriting points to (early?) 15th century (Jeanroy & Vignaux p. x-ix).

A selection of editions, translations, and literature

  1. Philip O'Sullivan Beare, Compendium Historiae Catholicae Iberniae (Lisbon 1621, reprinted Dublin 1850), vol. 1, book 2, p. 19–31 [Latin; translation (in part) of the tour, available in .pdf format at http://www.ucc.ie/celt/L100079.pdf.] "He used an oral (?) Castilian translation of the Catalan text. It was not printed in Perpignan, as O'Sullivan Beare claimed, but in Toulouse by Heinrich (Henri) Mayer from Bâle in 1487." AMB.
  2. Fynes Moryson, A History of Ireland from the year 1599 to 1603: with a short narration of the state of the kingdom from the year 1169; to which is added a description of Ireland. 2 vols. Dublin 1735. [A reprint of part 2 and 3, Book 3, chapter 5 of the Itinerary.]
  3. Thomas Rymer, Foedera, conventiones, literae, et cujuscunque generis acta publica [...]. Vol. III (Hagae Comitis: Neaulme 1740), p. 135.
  4. Charles Hughes, Shakespeare's Europe. Unpublished Chapters of Fynes Moryson's Itinerary: being a Survey of the Condition of Europe at the end of the Sixteenth Century. With an Introduction and an Account of Fynes Moryson's Career. London: Sherratt & Hughes 1903 [for chapters on Ireland see especially pp 185–260; 285–289; 481–486].
  5. Fynes Moryson, An Itinerary, containing his ten Yeeres Travell through the twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turky, France, England, Scotland & Ireland. 4 vols. Printed at the University Press by Robert Maclehose & Company Ltd. for James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University of Glasgow, 1907–1908. [Reprint of 1617 edition.]
  6. Thomas Wright, St. Patrick's Purgatory: An Essay on the Legends of Purgatory, Hell and Paradise Current during the Middle Ages. (London: John Russell Smith 1844). [Contains a diplomatic edition of the most complete Latin version of St. Patrick's Purgatorium extant in BL, MS Royal 13B VIII, 12th century, 78–95.]
  7. Selmar Eckleben, Die älteste Schilderung vom Fegefeuer des heiligen Patricius (Halle 1885).
  8. Eduard Mall, 'Zur Geschichte der Legende vom Purgatorium des heiligen Patricius', Romanische Forschungen 6 (1891) 139–197.
  9. Thomas Atkinson Jenkins, The Espurgatoire Seint Patriz of Marie de France with a text of the Latin Original (Chicago 1903).
  10. Alfred Jeanroy & Alphonse Vignaux, Voyage au Purgatoire de St Patrice: visions de Tindal et de St Paul, Textes languedociens du quinzième siècle. Bibliothèque Mélridionale 1ère série, tome VIII (Toulouse 1903) 3–54. [available in .pdf format on www.archive.org].
  11. Lucien Foulet, 'Marie de France et la légende du Purgatoire de Saint Patrice', Romanische Forschungen 22 (1908) 599–627.
  12. Ramón Miquel y Planas, Llegendes de l'Altra Vida (Barcelona 1914): Viatge del Vescomte Ramón de Perellós y de Roda fet al Purgatori nomenat de Sant Patrici, 133–174. [available in .pdf format on www.archive.org].
  13. Karl Warnke, Das Buch vom Espurgatoire S. Patrice der Marie de France und seine Quelle (Halle 1938). [Contains critical edition of Purgatorium version extant in BL, MS Royal 13B VIII.]
  14. Robert Easting, 'The Date and Dedication of the Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii', Speculum 53:4, October 1978, 778–783.
  15. Jacques Le Goff, La Naissance du Purgatoire. Bibliothèque des histoires 39. (Paris: Gallimard 1981).
  16. Yolande de Pontfarcy, 'Le Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii de H. de Saltrey, sa date et ses sources', Peritia 3 (1984) 460–480.
  17. Carol G. Zaleski, 'St. Patrick's Purgatory: Pilgrimage Motifs in a Medieval Otherworld Vision', Journal of the History of Ideas 46:4, Oct to Dec 1985, 467–485.
  18. Dorothy Molloy Carpenter, "The Journey of Ramon de Perellós to Saint Patrick's purgatory: the Auch manuscript". [Unpublished doctoral thesis, UCD 1984, based on the Occitan version. -- CELT is grateful to Dr Alexandre Guilarte, Bibliographer at the DIAS, for this information.]
  19. Jean-Michel Picard and Yolande de Pontfarcy, Saint Patrick's Purgatory: A Twelfth Century Tale of a Journey to the Other World. Four Courts Press, Dublin 1985 (with introduction and English translation).
  20. Jordi Tiñena, Ramon de Perellós (Barcelona 1988). [Based on the 1486 incunable, with introduction, notes, appendix and glossary. -- CELT is grateful to Dr Alexandre Guilarte, Bibliographer at DIAS, for this information.]
  21. Michael Haren et Yolande de Pontfarcy (eds), The Medieval Pilgrimage to St Patrick's Purgatory. Lough Derg and the European Tradition (Enniskillen: Clogher Historical Society 1988).
  22. Eileen Gardiner, Visions of Heaven and Hell before Dante, New York 1989, 149–195.
  23. Yolande de Pontfarcy, 'The topography of the Other World and the influence of twelfth-century Irish visions on Dante', Dante and the Middle Ages: Literary and Historical Essays, ed. John C. Barnes et Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin (Dublin 1995) 93–115.
  24. See also Arlima.net: http://www.arlima.net/mp/purgatoire_de_saint_patrice.html for more detail about medieval versions in several languages, editions and translations.
  25. For a bibliography on St Patrick's Purgatory see also http://www.hell-on-line.org/BibPatrick.html

The edition used in the digital edition

Bhaird, Alan Mac an, ed. (2012). The Journey of Viscount Ramon De Perellós to Saint Patrick’s Purgatory‍. 1st ed. i + 23 pp. Cork: CELT.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {The Journey of Viscount Ramon De Perellós to Saint Patrick's Purgatory},
  editor 	 = {Alan Mac an Bhaird},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {i + 23 pp},
  publisher 	 = {CELT },
  address 	 = {Cork},
  date 	 = {2012}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The text covers the editor's and translator's introduction and the English translation. An document of safe conduct for de Perellós (in English translation) and an abridged version of the text in Latin published by O'Sullivan Bere, are appended in the back matter.

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Correction: Text has been checked and proofread twice. All corrections are tagged. Text supplied by the editor to the original appears in brackets.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

Quotation: Direct speech is rendered q.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. Words containing a hard or soft hyphen crossing a page-break or line-break have been placed on the line on which they start.

Segmentation: div0=the description; div1=the section; page-breaks are marked pb n=""/.

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Profile description


Date: June 2012

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Latin; the material in the appendix is in Latin. (la)

Keywords: travel; description; prose; St Patrick's Purgatory; Lough Derg; Ramon de Perellos (Perelhos); manners and customs; O'Neills; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2012-09-24: Remaining changes integrated, new SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2012-07-23: Proof corrections integrated after consultation with Alan Mac an Bhaird. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2012-07-19: Online proofing. (ed. Janet Crawford)
  4. 2012-07-17: Header modified; preliminary SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2012-07-15: File converted to XML, remaining structural encoding applied; header with bibliographical detail created; file parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  6. 2012-06-20: Donated an edited and annotated English translation of the Catalan/Occitan text. (donation Alan Mac an Bhaird, Andorra)


Safeconduct issued by Richard II to Ramon de Perellós on 6 September 1397

Source: Thomas Rymer's Foedera Vol. III Conventiones, literae et acta publica p 135

Ann. D. 1397 An. 21. R. 2. Franc. 21. R. 2. m. 11.

De salvo conducto ad visitandum Purgatorium Sancti Patricii.

Rex, universis et singulis constabulariis, marescallis, admirallis, senescallis, gubernatoribus. ballivis, praepositis, capitaneis, castellanis, majoribus, magistris, consiliariis civitatum, villarum, et castrorum, custodibus portuum, pontium, et passagiorum, ac justiciariis, officiariis, et subditis suis ubilibet constitutis, et eorum loca tenentibus, ad quos etc. salutem.

Sciatis quod, cum, nobilis vir, Reymundus vicecomes de Perilleux et de Rodes chivaler, camerarius carissimi patris nostri Franciae, in regnum nostrum Angliae venire, et per idem regnum versus terram nostram Hiberniae, ad purgatorium Sancti Patricii ibidem videndum et visitandum, cum viginti hominibus et triginta equis in comitiva sua, transire et proficisci intendat et proponat, nostra licentia mediante.

Nos, contemplatione dicti patris nostri, volentes pro securitate adventus, passagii et repassagii praefati Reymundi in hac parte providere.

Suscepimus et per praesentes ponimus et suscipimus ipsum Reymundum infra dictum regnum nostrum veniendo et per idem regnum nostrum verius terram nostram praedictam tam per terram quam per mare proficiscendo et transeundo ibidem morando perhendinando et exinde per dictum regnum nostrum ad partes suas proprias redeundo ac homines et equos suos usque ad numerum praedictum, necnon aurum argentum vasa jocalia manticas coferas ac alia hernesia et bona sua quaecumque in salvum et securum conductum nostrum ac in protectionem tuitionem et defensionem nostras speciales:
Et ideo vobis mandamus quode eidem Reymundo cum hominibus equis auro argento vasis jocalibus manticis coferis ac aliis hernesiis et bonis suis praedictis infra dictum regnum nostrum veniendo et per idem regnum nostrum verius terram nostram praedictan tam per terram quam per mare proficiscendo perhendinando et exinde per idem regnum nostrum ad partes suas proprias ut praedictum est redeundo non inferatis seu quantum in vobis est ab aliis inferri permittatis injuriam molestiam dampnum violentiam impedimentarum aliquod seu gravamen et si quid eis vel eorum alicui in personis au rebus suis praedictis forisfactum vel injuriatum fuerit, id eis et eorum cuilibet sine dilatione faciatis corrigi et debite reformari.

Proviso semper quod idem Reymundus ac homines sui praedicti ad introitum suum quorumcumque castrorum fortalitiorum seu villarum firmatarum praesentes literas nostras de salvo conductu capitaneis majoribus seu custodibus eorumdem demonstrent ac pro victualibus et aliis necessariis suis in regno et terra praedictis emendis, promptas et rationabiles faciant solutiones; et quod dicti homines proditores nostri abjudicati seu banniti extra regnum nostrum non existant.

In cujus, etc. usque Festum Paschae proximo futurum duraturas.

Teste Rege apud Westmonasterium, vi die Septembris.

Per ipsum regem.


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Other languages

C100079A: Viatge del Vescomte Ramón de Perellós y de Roda fet al Purgatori nomenat de Sant Patrici (in Catalan)

O100079A: Viatge al Purgatòri de Sant Patrici (in Catalan)

Source document


Search CELT

  1. recte anti-pope Clement VII (1378-1394) 🢀

  2. recte Count of Geneva (he was the son of Amadeus III of Geneva). 🢀

  3. Urban VI (1378-1389). 🢀

  4. Joan I of Aragon died on May 19 1396. 🢀

  5. Fernando Pérez Calvillo (Calviello in Aragonese) 🢀

  6. Jofré de Boïl, cardinal of Santa Maria in Aquiro 🢀

  7. In 1396 — when Richard II was betrothed to Charles VI's daughter Isabella (then aged 6) 🢀

  8. C and O have "Got" i.e. "Wood"; Richard II's father the Black Prince was born at Woodstock Palace and was known as Edward of Woodstock; it is indeed 8 miles from Oxford and the palace was set in an enclosed park. 🢀

  9. C has Tersom; O has Ocsonia 🢀

  10. C has Estanafort; O has Estancfort, both corruptions of Ocsenaford 🢀

  11. C has Esteper and O Sestrexter representing Chestershire, now Cheshire 🢀

  12. C has "la ylla de Armant", O "la yla d'Arman" 🢀

  13. O has "the city of Dublin" (ms Belvi sic!) which is a fairly large city. 🢀

  14. Roger Mortimer, fourth Earl of March, born in 1374 and killed at Kells on 20 July 1398, lord-lieutenant of Ireland from 1382 to 1398 🢀

  15. C has Darmant, O has d'Armanhac (sic!) 🢀

  16. C has Drudan, O Diondan 🢀

  17. C has Dondela, O Dandela 🢀

  18. C has Armas, O Armach 🢀

  19. C has “aurenetes” (swallows) which does not make very good sense here; O has “alams” which I take to be a corruption of “alarb” i.e. bedouin, Arab 🢀

  20. C and O have Processio which is clearly a garbled version of *Protessió (= Protecció), a translation of Irish Tearmann (refuge, sanctuary), which in this case is Tearmann Dábheog (now Tearmann Mhéig Raith). 🢀

  21. Lough Derg 🢀

  22. C has “intrar d'aquí a la fi” “enter up to the end”, which is obviously corrupt, while O has “s'en intra hom entro al ginolh” “one enters up to the knee” 🢀

  23. Mág Raith 🢀

  24. C is here corrupt, reading “que fos en lo realme de Anglaterra”; I have replaced it by O which has the correct reading “que fossen entorn la regina d'Englaterra”. Queen Isabella was only a child, being born in 1389. Sir William was baron Courcy of Kinsale and his wife Margaret Peinnel. By a patent dated January 1 1397 Richard II granted them an annual pension of £100 in consideration of their good services to him and his Queen Isabella (see Lodge and Archdall 1789, The Peerage of Ireland, Vol. VI p. 148) 🢀

  25. C has “alcuns” (some) but O has “un” (one). 🢀

  26. C has “e perfectio” (and perfection) but O reads “el perfecisca” (may he perfect) 🢀

  27. O has “que çaïns venon” (who come here). 🢀

  28. O has “que nos retenem” (whom we keep). 🢀

  29. C adds “lo qual era tot ple de foc” (which was all full of fire) in anticipation of the second part of the sentence. 🢀

  30. C adds “ny eran ny hi són” (neither were nor are there) which is absent from O and is hardly in its place here. 🢀

  31. C has “dehien” (they were saying) but O has “dizent” (saying). 🢀

  32. C has “mes totas” (but all) but O reads “Motas” (many). 🢀

  33. C has “de totz los mals que hi són” (of all the evils which there are) but O reads “e dos mel” (and sweet honey). 🢀

  34. C has “robes” (dresses) but O reads “rams” (boughs). 🢀

  35. C has “intrada” (entrance) but O reads “encontrada” (country)  🢀

  36. C is hopelessly corrupt here having “E estan[t] dedins hom no hy pot suffrir neguna pena ny enu[i]g, car la claretat ve pura del sol, de aquell hy reluys molt fort tots temps” (And being inside one can suffer there no pain or discomfort, since the brightness comes pure from the sun, of that it shines there most strongly always); O, here translated, reads “E estant aqui non y avia ges de nuog, car la clartat depurada dels rachz del cel y relusia tostemps.” 🢀

  37. C is here corrupt, reading “es lo cap de Anglaterra” recte “e lo cap de any”; O has a better reading “lo jorn de cap d'an” (New Year's day). 🢀

  38. C is here hopelessly corrupt, reading “arribem e davallem las montanyes” (we arrived and went down the mountains, sic!); O simply reads “aribem a Daneli” (for “Daveli”). 🢀

  39. Sir Gawain's skull was claimed to be at Dover Castle as was Cradok's Mantle (La Cote Mal Taillée) — cf Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Artur, Preface of William Caxton “Item in the castle of Dover ye may see Gawaine's skull and Cradok's mantle.” 🢀


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