Researching the heretics

Glossary of Historical Terms

As I read through the book one last time, I made a note of all the terms that might be confusing to some. If you would like any other words in the book added to this glossary of historical terms, please request them through the Contact form.

Abbey of Senones

Abbey of Senones: The small monastery founded in 640 became one of the most powerful Benedictine Abbeys in Lorraine coveted by lords, kings, and bishops.

Act of Contrition: A Catholic prayer asking for forgiveness of sins. One typical prayer used during confession or before death.

Angeles bells: Ever hear church bells tolling at 6:00 AM, NOON, and 6:00 PM? Those are the Angeles bells. Before people owned clocks, the Catholic church tolled the bells to signify when to pray before beginning the work day, taking a meal break, or ending the day.

Auberge: An inn or tavern

Baptism of Angels: This ancient legend ensures that if a baby died before they were baptized, they would not languish in Limbo but would be accepted into heaven. Read more…

Churching: After 40 days of postpartum confinement, a woman must present herself to the church to be purified before she could rejoin the community.


Damask:  16th century silk fabric. Typically, a single-color reversible fabric where the pattern shows via shiny and matte areas.

“Textile with Lace and Garland Pattern LACMA M.68.59.1” by Fæ is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

De la Goutte de Paradis: Loosely translated –from the drop of heaven — Nicolas’s family name.

Death knell: The tolling of the church bells to announce a death.

Fête: A festival or celebration


Gauls: (Gallia) The Roman name for inhabitants of Western Europe.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 A battle between Cerealis and the Gauls in the Rhineland; th Wellcome V0041591.jpg

La Chatte Pendue: An ancient legend about a woman accused of being a witch. After the townspeople hanged her, they left her body on the gallows. In the morning, however, instead of her body hanging there, a cat hung in her place. Read more…

Lake de la Maix

Lac de la Maix: A glacial lake in the Vosges. A place of worship and pilgrimage. The site of the legends The Baptism of Angels and The Devil Fiddler.  Circuit of the lake of the maix – Lorraine Tourism (

Le Donon

Le Donon: The highest mountain in the Vosges Mountain range, marking the divide between Alsace and Lorraine. The area has been considered sacred since prehistoric times.

Le Donon by Eric@focus is licensed under CC by-no2.0

Glossary of Historical Terms: Learn more: The Donon… The region’s “sacred mountain” – Grandfontaine | Visit Alsace

Le Petit-Courty: The small stream flowing through Cathillon farm. This fictional stream flows into real the La Grande Courty River.

Legend of the Devil Fiddler: An ancient legend explaining the formation of Lake de la Maix. Read more…

Limbo: In Catholic theology, if someone dies before their baptism, their soul still carries Original Sin, and they cannot go to heaven. However, it is not fair that they be damned to hell if they have no other sin. They must go to this other place called Limbo. where they will never experience the presence of God.

Louvetiers: The king didn’t allow anyone to kill wildlife, so he hired people specifically for the job. Wolf hunter.

snow bird people dark

Miasma: Noxious smells. The black death was thought to be spread by the smell of the rotting flesh caused by the disease. Plague doctors wore a beak filled with herbs to thwart the smell. (Photo by Tess Myrl on

Astronomical Clock in the Cathedral in Strasbourg

Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg: A Gothic masterpiece. Construction of the crypt began in 1015. The spire was completed in 1439. Unfortunately, many buildings have been built very near to the cathedral, so the view of it today is not as awe-inspiring as it must have been in 1585.

Astronomical Clock in the Cathedral in Strasbourg by Tobias Stimmer is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Rush Light Stand

Rush light: a type of candle formed by soaking the dried pith of the rush plant in fat or grease.

Rush Light Stand by American is licensed under CC-BY 3.0

Sacristy: A sacristy is the side room in a Catholic church where the priest changes clothes and where he stores altar linens, holy oils, candles, and incense.

Salm: The name of an ancient principality in the Holy Roman Empire ruled by counts. Presently the area is in France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg.


Slops: Wide kneed breeches. Loose-fitting pants that can reach anywhere from above the knee to just below the calf.

LACMA M.61.5a-c” by Fæ is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

St. Clement’s Cross: The anchored cross. St. Clement was tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea, so the cross with the anchor has also become known as the mariner’s cross.

cross and anchor” by Leo Reynolds is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Vestibule: The lobby in the back of the church between the inside and outside doors.

Viaticum: the Eucharist as given to a person near or in danger of death.

New but old

Wattle-and-daub: building method in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung, and straw.

New but old by Zorba the Geek is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Wild hunt of the Demon Hellequin: An ancient legend. If travelers are not inside by the time the sun went down, they risked the wrath of the demon Hellequin stealing their souls. Read more…

Still have questions?

If you would like other words added to this

glossary of historical terms, please let me know.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: