Inquisitorial court devised by Cardinal Lorraine, first held during the reign of Francois I. In 1679, Louis XIV instituted the Chambre Ardente for the trial of
- slow poisoners (poisoning being very fashionable at the time)
- pretenders to sorcery (who were often, as in the case of the infamous affaire des poisons, one and the same)
The Chambre Ardente also employed investigators trained in the detection and apprehension of poisoners and the "sorcerers" who provided them with their means of murder.
The name Chambre Ardente was either a macabre pun or a stroke of irony; while its meaning ("burning court") is said to have referred to the fact that these trials were conducted in darkened rooms lit only by burning ("ardente") torches, the outcome of the trials was often death by burning for the offender.
One such offender, the beautiful Madame de Montespan (the first recipient, incidentally, of the cursed Hope Diamond, given to her by her lover Louis XIV), was found to be both a poisoner and a practitioner of the dark arts, but that's another story for another time... Suffice to say that she was burned per the ruling of the Chambre Ardente - and that her ashes (in yet another stroke of grim irony) became sought-after as a magical protection against witchcraft.
100th node! w00t!