Conditions were not ideal in Domrémy while Joan was a youth. Of course, the Hundred Years War made the situation appalling at times. Of notable importance is the fact that France was at war with herself during this period. Due to a feud between the Prince of Burgundy and the “dauphin” (heir apparent to the Kingship of France) Charles the VII, the Burgundians sided with the English to deny Charles the French crown and create a “double crown” for the King of England. The Anglo-Burgundian alliance made significant headway against Charles VII and his beleaguered Armagnac army (named for the region that rallied to defend the dauphin). Domrémy was one of the few towns in the region to hold out for Charles. One notable exception was Vaucouleurs. Another was Neufchâteau.
Domrémy was almost exclusively sided with the dauphin and opposed to the Anglo-Burgundian alliance. Joan said that she knew “only one Burgundian there, and I could have wished his head cut off – however, only if it pleased God.” Nearby Maxey was Burgundian. Whereas Joan had no recollection of the children fighting, she did remember adult villagers from Domrémy going out to fight the Burgundians of Maxey and coming home wounded and bleeding.
Despite the neighborly ill-will caused by the civil war in France and the anxiety created by the English advances, Joan maintained a beautifully positive point of view. She expressed not that she wished to fight the Burgundians but that she “had a great will and desire that my King (Charles) have his kingdom.” Early in life, love for her King and his Kingdom drove Joan’s stern attitude toward the Burgundians as opposed to a hatred for her Burgundian enemy.
Though Joan could not remember well the degree to which she continued guarding the livestock after she grew older and attained the age of reason, she did remember taking on the responsibility to drive them away from Domrémy to a fortified place called the Isle for fear of “men-at-arms.” Once, in danger of Burgundian attacks, Joan stayed for about fifteen days in Neufchâteau with a highly regarded local woman named La Rousse. She did not stay longer as she preferred Domrémy.
Fear of Burgundian men-at-arms clearly played havoc on the lives of the residents of Domrémy, Joan included. Joan would have much more serious reasons to fear Burgundians years later, but for now, she and her playmates would find ways to enjoy themselves as any children will.
Source: Joan of Arc – By herself and her witnesses, Régine Pernoud, pp. 20-21