History of the Vendée, Lower Poitou, in France XXIV


History of the Vendée
Lower Poitou in France



During several years, from, seat of the La Rochelle, the Protestantism, released of all its political concerns, enters one calmer era and returns to oneself, and under Richelieu, although the principles of the government were less explicit than under Henri IV, the control of the public authority with respect to reformed was nothing any more but troublesome.

Many churches, whose fate depended on some noble family, transfer their recognized or scorned rights, according to whether the lord were one or other religion. However, it was the time of the apostasies: as leaving all the times of agitation, a moral depression succeeded one period of excitement. The chiefs of the houses of Trémouille, Saint-Froze, Bessay renonçaient with Protestantism, at the same time as with their impotent attempts at feudal independence, and in 1632, the reformed worship was interdict with Montaigu, whose lord was the duke of Trémouille. On March 27, 1635, the count d' Olonne, Philippe of Trémouille, large seneshal of Poitou, obtained Parliament a stop which defended to celebrate the worship reformed in the county of Olonne, and particularly with Thatch, where it was established since 1592.

The Church of Simpleton. According to a stereotype of Mr. H.Turpault.

The minor nobility, less committed in the policy, remained, in general, as the people, attached to his faith, and several of its members, such as Louis de Chasteigner and the sior Marleray of Socelière, made their possible to ensure the sermon in the strongholds of Bessay, Mareuil and Foussay.

The national Synod of 1637 required the re-establishment of the stopped worship. with the Herbaria and Montaigu. - Luçon, Simpleton. Coulonges, Belleville are always reproduced on the lists of the places where it had not been possible to restore it.

On March 15, 1641, the Protestant worship was, at the instigation of the bishop of Luçon, removed with Bessay; on August 13 of the same year, same measurement was applied to Bournezeau, with defense to celebrate the worship in all the baronnie.

In 1638, Gabriel of the Moor of Machecoul stated to make election of residence with Montaigu, of which he had become lord and wanted, into very temqs, to let there freely practise the reformed worship. Then returning vexation. for vexation, it started to make demolish the collegiate church of Saint-Maurice, built in the enclosure of the castle. The clergy opposed it and applicant who the election of residence was illusory, obtained on September 7 a stop of the bearing Parliament defense to make the sermon with the castle of Montaigu like in Vieillevigne, otherwise than in the presence of the lord or of his family. A request made by the Protestants of Luçon was considered, on July 1, 1642, like inappropriate. In 1645, the reformed worship was interdict with the castle and in the borough of Mareuil, but one authorized the Protestants to continue their assemblies elsewhere than in the house of Boulaye, and to transport their temple in another place.

Each day one thus tore off some scrap of the Edict of Nantes, and the burning adversaries of the heresy could hope to come to end by this slow resistance; but this confidence was opposed by the events. Under Mazarin, there was so to speak deviation as long as the ministerial authority was disputed, and the Protestants were treated with much regard during the Sling; they even obtained, in May 1652, reward of their "affection and fidelity" and in spite of the remonstrances of the assembly of the clergy, a declaration by which seemed revoked all stops of the council of the king and the courses sovereign who could have conflicted some either with the Edict of Nantes, or to the other edicts, stops, payments, etc - dispatched in their favour. - The once hardened government, one started less to spare, and one let see a certain provision to restrict their freedoms, and on January 23, 1653, the bishop of Luçon made return by the seneshal of Poitou an ordinance which defended to celebrate the worship in the forest of theWhite one, or rams it of Vergier de Buchignon had, the previous year, makes build an oratory; similar measures were taken in 1655 against an appendix of the temple of Bazoges-in-Pareds and against that of Saint-Hilaire-of-Cabins; but, for this last, the worship was restored there little time after, with the assent of the lord of Baugisière, in the stronghold of which it had been built.


In 1656, a new declaration cancelled in fact that of 1652 pennies pretext to interpret it of, and charged two police chiefs, one of each religion, to visit each province to take note of the relative disagreements â the Edict of Nantes. In December 1656, the reformed worship was interdict in the episcopal cities and the localities belonging to ecclesiastics; it was defended with the ministers to preach elsewhere than in the place of their residence. In January 1657, a stop of the council decided that the temples built by Protestant lords would be demolished when the stronghold would pass to a catholic lord and that one could not raise them if the ground were resold with a Protestant.

The borough of Boupère having passed between the hands of the marquis de Pouzauges, the présidial there defended the exercise of the religion at once and ordered the demolition of the temple built since a few years. In Mareuil, the conversion of the Master had the same consequences.

Progress of the power and the monarchical unit turned against them, though they had for a long time forgotten the old claims to make a state in the state. The greatest part however, in these malevolent measurements, was to be allotted, not not on the initiative of the government, but with the pressure which the clergy exerted on the provisions of the royal authority.

Mazarin had died in May 1661; the advent of Louis XIV still brought new higher principles, more systematic, but at the same time more unfavourable with the Reform.


Since the Edict of Nantes, reformed, had held of the national synods every three years. In 1662, the arrived triennial time, the king did not authorize them to meet, and one made them hear that they were to be satisfied henceforth with provincial synods. The previous year, the conferences had already been prohibited, i.e. at the same time the general assemblies and the particular assemblies were removed, while letting remain temporarily the intermediate grade, provincial assemblies.

The provincial synod, which was held rather regularly each year, meets in Châtellerault of. June 27 to July 5. Forty seven churches, whose majority with appendices, are reproduced on the list of this assembly, where almost all were made represent, difficult circumstances in which one was giving him a particular importance (1).

Attacked until there separately, they were going to have all at the same time new vexations to wipe. The assembly, on the weight of this thought, took some safety measures and recovered to the will from God.

Attacked until there separately, they were going to have all at the same time new vexations to wipe. The assembly, on the weight of this thought, took some safety measures and recovered to the will from God.


The last two synods held in Pouzauges in 1661, and Saint-Maixent, the end of August of the following year, had already been concerned with the arrival of the police chiefs, Colbert de Croissy and the Valley, lords of Montreuil-Bonnin (1), and had ordered with the churches to make make copies or extracts of their titles, to justify their rights, and to send them to the Gilbert minister of Miss, instructed to put them in order.

The catholic clergy triumphed over almost all the points. In April 1663, a royal declaration prohibited with any Protestant become catholic, to turn over àla reformed alleged religion, and, with any priest or monk to embrace the Reform: it was to remove Edict of Nantes its principle and its base: from now on, the free choice between the principal forms of Christianity was not any more the common right of the French.

Magistrature, almost always of agreement with the clergy when it was about the Reform, déchaina at once against the apostates and the relaps: it was necessary that the council of the king intervened to defend to give to the declaration a retroactive effect; then to finish which sorrow one would inflict henceforth to the apostates and with the relaps; the issued sorrow was the perpetual banishment (June 1665).


On November 29, 1663, the two police chiefs sent in Low-Poitou had ordered with the churches and with the lords to produce in the fortnight, the titles in virtue of which they enjoyed the worship, had temples, colleges or schools and cemeteries. The operations were long in consequence of the investigations and counter-enquiries, and of the temporary recall of Colbert de Croissy. Finally following on January 17, 1665 and days, the police chiefs opened their audiences. Mauclerc of Muzanchère (1) and Gilbert, minister of Miss, general deputies of the Protestants of Poitou (2), Boursault, their lawyer, with the particular delegates of the churches and the syndics of the dioceses of Poitiers, Luçon and La Rochelle with the strait of Maillezais, appeared in Poitiers.

The police chiefs not having been able to agree on the conclusions to be given to their investigations, the difficulty was carried to the council, which gave a stop in conformity with the opinion of the catholic police chief, very in conformity itself at the request of the clergy.


On August 6, 1665, the divisions were emptied. The exercise of the worship was, for Low-Poitou, maintained in Fontenay and Saint-Hilaire-on-the Autise. The judgement on Mouchamps and Pouzauges was deferred. The decree pronounced or maintained the prohibition of Saint-Benoît cheese, of Puybelliard, Luçon, Thatch, Belleville, Poiré, co.-Hermine, Boupère, Chantonnay, St-Gilles-on-Life, Talmont, Mareuil, Jaudonnière, Mouilleron, St-Fulgent, Benet, Brossardière and the Chestnut grove, Foussais, Buardière, Cezay and the White frost.

As for the exercise known as of stronghold, of castle or high justice, one preserved it at the lords of Montaigu, Chavagnes, the Keys, Aizenay and Breuil-Barret "with the load to reside at it currently, in good faith and without fraud, and without them being able there to build a temple". TheWhite one, the Vault-Thémer where Bodet and Moriniére were prohibited, the council did not pronounce on Nesmy, Mothe de Frosse and Castle-Guibert.

One gave two months to reformed of Poitou to demolish the condemned buildings. This expired time the syndics diocesans were authorized with the faires to cut down with the expenses of the Protestants.

The stop was meant the 12 of the same month with Mr. of Muzanchère, in his residence in Paris, by Pierre Fournier, usher-sergeant with horse in Châtelet of Paris.

(NOVEMBER 13, 1665)

However the Protestants, in the hope to make attenuate the sentence, appointed at the court three gentlemen charged with a report, where one exposed the embarrassments which would result from the execution of the stop not only for the faithful ones, but also for the pastors often obliged by their functions to be transported to more than twenty miles of their residence by almost impracticable ways. They asked consequently that one preserved in Low-Poitou the churches of St-Gilles, Talmont, St-Benoit, Mareuil, Puybelliard, the Chestnut grove, St-Jouin (?) Belleville and St-Fulgent.

The deputies were accepted: the chancellor was made present the chart of the province to judge inconveniences pled by them. But the king did not grant anything in a positive way. He made it possible only to the lords to have ministers after having justified in front of the Valley and Barentin, successor of Colbert, that their strongholds had title of high justice at the time of the Edict of Nantes (1).

The two months deadline, fixed by the stop of August 6, 1665 for the demolition of the temples thus expired on October 12, but it was only on November 3 that one was to deal with the integral execution of the orders of the king. With this date, Mr. Jacques Micheau, priest, prior of Saint-Sulpice, syndic of the diocese of the La Rochelle to the strait of Maillezais, the name and having load of doctor in Sorbonne; Mr. Antoine Froment, also priest senior and syndic of Luçon, appeared before Pierre de Maurienne, adviser of the king and vice-seneshal of Fontenay-the-Count, and Julien Collaideau, prosecutor, to require them to have to make carry out the royal stop of August 6, 1665. It invited Maurienne and Collardeau to be transported with him Micheau, Froment, the clerk and such number of archers that it was necessary in the various places where the temples were located whose demolition was ordered.

The prosecutor of the king having taken conclusions in conformity, the transport of the commission know-indicated was decided with the assistance of the Rock-Jordan, archer, replacing as clerk the ordinary clerk Pierre Boulin, pertaining to the R.P.R., of free, Pierre Cheuredant, and of the five archers, Nicolas Bisson, Rene Beau, Jean Pignol, François Guesdon, Pierre Bonnet.

The commission exerted, its functions of the 4 at November 25, with a zeal which had to satisfy the king. The detailed official report of its operations was published by Misters Puichaud, according to the original manuscript communicated by Mr. George Treuttel, old to milk of Sérigné (2): we will not give any here that a short analysis.


Names of the localities
or are the temples to demolish

Date and hour
of arrival
police chiefs

Name of the Hotel
or are gone down
police chiefs

Days and hours
of departure



Wednesday November 4
9 h. of the morning

Mr. Hilleret, hotel


Meant Ordonnace with Mr. Louis Dartrois, minister of co.-Hermine


D. 3 hours of the evening

Ecu of France

Thursday November 5
at 3 a.m.

Housing of the minister was above the temple and was composed of 2 rooms. 25 workmen were occupied with the demolition which cost 31 pounds.


Friday November 7


5 hours, lying in Caillère and sunken the following day in Fontenay

Zaquarie Bart, minister


Laid down Nov 16 with co.-Hermine arrived at Bournezeau, Haide hotel, following day 17 to 10 a.m.

Arrival with Bournezeau, Haide hotel, on Nov 17,
at 10 a.m.

Nov 17 at 6 a.m., lying with Essarts, St-Michel Hotel, held by Teiral

Opposition of Joachim de Patars, sior of Teiral, for Pierre of Patras, sgr of Landeblanche and Buchignon, old of Bournezeau.


November 18, 9 hours

The Lion

4 hours

Slept in St-Denis-the-Chevasse, arrived at 5 h. and descended to the Hotel from the Three-Pillars. Departure the following day to 8 h. of the morning. This temple was the property of the Bertrand. Interdict in 1675, the worship was restored there with simple exercise of stronghold or castle.


November 19, 10 hours


4 hours of the evening

Slept with the essarts. The temple of Belleville was served, in 1663, by Theodore Tireau, who then served also those of Poiré and Aizenay.


November 20, 1 h. 1/2

TheWhite one

5 hours

Charles Mallet, minister. Slept in Saint-Gilles.


November 21, 2 h. 1/2


Nov 22, 3 hours of the evening

Employee 6 workmen with each one which 30 pennies were given.


November 22, 1 h. of the evening

White horse

Nov 23, 3 hours

Pierre Bossatran, Pasteur. Temple located in the upper town, concerning the cemetery.


November 23, 5 h. of the evening

Home of Ivonne Robin, hotel

November 24

The temple of St-Benoit had been demolished for 8 days, with the reserve of a pinion.


November 24, 9 hours


Temple demolished since November 16. Priest: Jacques Hail.


November 24, 4 hours



Entirely demolished temple



These temples had been demolished during the voyage of the police chiefs. Taxation was applied nevertheless.

On the approved minutes of Maurienne, Wheat, Collardeau, are read the following mention which we reproduce textually:

"Us sums tax yourself for fifteen days with vaccations and despens, at a rate of dix-huict books per day, the sum of two hundreds – seventy books, and is the prosecutor of Roy taxed for similar cause the sum with two-taxable quota-twenty-ung books and taxed with nostre clerk and exampt, rightly chascun of nine books per day, the sum of two-taxable quota-sixty-ten books and with our archers, four, with chascun of them for their vaccations and despans trante-six books, for the guides taxed to have led to us on the spot. cy-top mention, the sum of twenty books: let us have aussy taxed with mass, carpenters and manouvriers quy worked with the demolitions, hundred books, including into icelles the taxes mentioned and specified in this present official report. Us the aforementioned sior sindicg stated has to have desbourcé for the despance of sound bomme of room and a man of foot, at a rate of seven books ten grounds per day, cent-unze books and ten grounds.

"All which despances cy-top have estez paid and advancées by the aforementioned sior sindicg.



Four months after the execution of the stop of August 6, 1665, a payment general of April 2, 1666, on the exercise of the reformed alleged worship, were published at the request of the assembly of the Clergy is enough to say which was unfortunately the spirit. It had been preceded by restrictive measurements against the consistories, and was accompanied by a defense to the Protestant private individuals, to hold academy (houses of higher instruction, for the education of the young nobility). This long series of vexations threw fear among the Protestant populations. While the provincial synods raised of all shares their plaintive voices towards the king, that that of Lusignan stopped that the Ministers for the prohibited churches "presclieroient in the countryside under some convenient tree, where the people pourroient to be assembled at the ordinary hours", a rather great number of families left France, and reformed started to learn this road from the exile, which so many thousands of French were intended to follow.


But Colbert judged the future of its establishments and the fortune of compromised France, if one led to despair so much men, who by their commercial activity and industrial, were the most solid supports of its intentions. It employed vigorously for their defense, this salutary ascending, from which Louis XIV had not still learned how to withdraw himself: It called sacerdotal and parliamentary passion with the interest of the state, with the equity of the king. It was assisted by considerations of foreign policy. The voter of Brandebourg had addressed to the king respectful remonstrances in favour of reformed French: Louis, who then still spared the Protestant powers, answered the voter gracefully, ensured it that it intended to make live the Protestants "in a perfect equality with his other subjects", and some time stopped on the fatal slope where it was involved (1). The zeal of the Parliaments, the intendants and the clergy was maintained: one did not see any more following one another without delay the thunderbolts of the stops and the royal declarations; the payment general of 1666, on or rather against the exercise of the reformed alleged worship, was even revoked by a declaration of February 1, 1669, which defended to force or induce the Protestant children to change religion.

Reformed believed to see to open one era of repair and to return the time of Henri IV. From 1666 to approximately 1674, they breathed under the protection of Colbert: they took the stops and the edicts, which sometimes still worried them, for the last grandements of a storm which expired.


However, some hostile acts indicated by intervals that if there were softening, there was not total change of system. Measurements of local oppression were ratified by the council of the king. Thus, in November 1672, a synod could meet in Niort, only in the condition express that the Ministers and the old ones of the condemned churches would not even come in the city. The consistory was obliged to make known the residences of the deputies of the following places, only authorized to appear for Low-Poitou: Fontenay, Saint-Hilaire-on-the Autise, Breuil-Barret, Pouzauges, the Keys, Mouchamps, Montaigu, Aizenay, Nesmy, Mothe-of-Frosse and Castle-Guibert.


But the thought which had had the king to gain the Protestant pastors by concessions on some points of discipline and worship, and to bring back by them their flocks to the unit of the Church having failed, the oppressive edicts and stops started again to follow one another; - November 6, 1674, defense with the ministers to be established or preach out of their residence; - December 27, 1675,April 15, 1676, defense with the synods to give ministers to the lords of strongholds which had not still had of it; - July 23, 1677, defense with reformed to suborn the catholics hardly of 1.000 books of fine.

The soft food of the money was also going to come to assistance of the intolérence, and in much from places, without awaiting age the 14 years for the boys who wished to be done catholic and that of 12 for the girls, one often removed before this age the children with the parents, in order to raise them in convents. A house had been founded to this end in Luçon, and this establishment, known under the name of Séminaire of the Union-Christian woman, was not long in filling when one accepted abjurations at seven years.

Inattentive by the war of the hello of his subjects, that the bishops ceased presenting to him like a more important and more glorious work only its other conquests, Louis XIV gave all his attention to it as soon as the peace of Nimègue (1678) was signed. "The king, known as Madam de Maintenon, thinks seriously of the conversion of the heretics, and in little it will work there very of good. "

All that one had done up to that point to this end was thus little of thing near what one projected. But by which means was one going to work first of all? in Bas-Boitou, in particular?


Louvois was then a Minister for the war: Poitou belonged to its department, and there had as a representative the Marillac intendant, of a family disgraced under Louis XIII, and who then sought to raise his fortune. "A the example of Louvois, Marillac had zeal as soon as the king was excessively pious person. Towards the end of the year 1680, it started to make proselytes: the money, the injustice and finally violence were its means. The thought which arised at its spirit to act on the conscience of the heretics poitevins was the lifting of the taxes. There remained late terms which he wanted to make return: the archers and the ushers traversed the parishes and urged the Protestants to be converted, by announcing that one should require huguenots only these old arrears. In several places, one. notified to the Protestants that the intention of S. Mr. was that they changed religion.

Thanks to this shameless pressure, a rather great number of huguenots abjured, and the court, misled by the number of these alleged conversions and their apparent facility, believed that a little constraint would bring back all reformed to the bosom of the church. Louvois, congratulating the intendant, authorized it to employ the soldiers as missionaries (March 18, 1681).

Such was the origin of these armed missions, that one called bottées missions or dragonnades, when a few years later, they were spread in all the kingdom.

The troops were placed indifférement in the rich person and the poor, but always among Protestants. The troops were established in the houses, living with discretion, breaking the pieces of furniture, striking and torturing the people, and dislodging only after having converted or having ruined their hosts. To prevent that one escaped this alternative, Marrillac defended, under penalty of four hundred books of fine, nothing to remove houses and to give up them when the soldiers arrived there.

The people themselves, with the discretion of this army rabble without brake, were the object of ill treatments and violences inouies; sometimes one trainait them with the furnace bridge by the hair or twists it with the neck; sometimes one tore off the ploughman with his plough and led it to the church, by pressing it of its pivot. The deprivation continues sleep was also one of the torments employed to weary the courage of most inflexible.


These evils had lasted for several months, when the duke of Vieuville was named governor of Poitou, to replace Marillac, the principal author of persecution. It was thought that the new governor, who arrived from Paris, would be less hostile and would listen to the complaints. One addressed oneself to him. He answered that having maintained the king the businesses of the province, Its Majesty had testified the desire to him to see bringing back without violence its subjects to the bosom of the church: but Vieuville claimed that the residences of people of war were not to pass for constraint, and on August 12, 1681, it sent to Foussais its guards, which converted three hundred people into five days. When one went to complain some and that one asked him what it thus called violence, it answered "that this word was to apply to the control of the soldiers who burned the feet of their hosts (1)".


However the energetic protest of the marquis de Ruvigny, deputy general, stopped a little the of torture ones, and on May 19, 1689. the council made very "expresses defenses with all people, of rnéfaire nor to slander against those of the R.P.R. on the sorrows carried by the edicts. " It was only one gleam of hope, and on July 4 appeared a new stop to destroy the first. It was known as there that "the ministers interpreting that sinisterly of. 19 denied if were dared to preach publicly, that S. Mr. repudiated the exhortations which were made of its share to the people embrace the catholic religion, apostolic and Roman (1). "

Little time after, the churches from Poitou appointed in Paris the marquis de Venours and Lestortière, which gave in Louvois a request in which they exposed all tortures morals and often physics of their co-religionists, the denials of justice made at their place, the large fines that one inflicted to them when they refused to go to the mass or to listen to the sermons of the capuchins placed on their premises, the violences made at the place of the women trailed by the hair and the cord with the neck, or put at torture, etc (2)

Louvois accepted these complaints while joking, and a few days after answered to the deputies "that it had reddened of shame to have brought back their request to the king, because Its Majesty had said to him to be quite informed that this request was full with supposed facts". The following day, the deputies accepted the order to withdraw themselves.


Persecutions continued; much of reformed decided to take the way of the exile. A great number were stopped before having even left the province. Hundred fifty others were taken on a vessel, in the roads of the La Rochelle, at the moment of the departure. The day of All Saints' day 1681, thirty-three of them, which were remained in the city with the hope to find a new means of passing abroad, were apprehended by the police force and were contained in the tower of the Lantern and the other prisons of the city. The other fugitive ones, in great number, were found on the ways or waiting on the coast. Some catholics, taken pity, could not retain their tears, and brought bread to them.

Some of the emigrants, of the risk to wake up the attention of the police force, had required a shelter in their houses or their barns; but the majority of those which had received them were continued or thrown in prison.

"The arrest of fugitive involved in the same way that of many ministers of which they carried certificates, and which the government pretended to make responsible for the emigration, in order to prohibit them and to encounter then less difficulties in conversions. Bossatran de Niort and seven old, Bread and Of Soul, of Fontenay, with some of the members of the Consistory, Paumier, Chaufepié, Champion, Pasteur de Saint-Maixent, Mothe and Mougon, were imprisoned, issued or exiled in distant provinces.


The emigration did not continue any less in England, in. Denmark, in Holland, where the Protestants received the reception more sympathetic nerve. This escape ruined the country and made fall the properties at cheap price. The council opened finally the eyes and, could see what cost the State a few thousands of bad conversions. In early December 1681, to the moment when the troops were going to enter Low-Poitou, they were suddenly recalled "to the great regret and the regret not disguised of an infinity of people who had not completed yet to assemble their houses in pieces of furniture and their farms in cattle (1)". But the threats, vexations of all kinds did not continue any less, and on December 27, 1682, three alleged converted having attended the sermon with Saint-Hilaire-on-the Autise, were condemned, next on February 23, to make honourable fine lines some, the cord with the neck, and banished with perpetuity of the kingdom. The Coupé minister was prohibited and the demolished temple (2).


On January 15, 1683, the bishop of Luçon obtained the demolition of the temple of Mouchamps, the most important church of Low-Poitou, and only with Pouzauges in all the diocese, which still enjoyed the public exercise of the worship. The translation of the temple of Pouzauges was then issued, and the bishop obtained that the worship which was celebrated with the Keys of Chavagnes-the-Rise in temperature was authorized only for the inhabitants of this seigniory. One gave him at the same time the insurance that similar judgments would be handed down for the other exercises of strongholds.

In March, the sorrow of prohibition issued against the ministers who would let enter of the relaps the temples was worsened honourable fine, perpetual banishment and confiscation of the goods. The presence of a former catholic to the sermon was to involve the same consequences as that of new convert. As, one had all the more prone to be astonished to see appearing, little time after this edict, a declaration carrying as, in the temples, it would be a marked necessary where could put the catholics who, carried of a saint zeal for the good and the increase in religion would wish to attend the sermons… so, is it says in the preamble, to not only be able to refute the ministers if it is necessary, but also to prevent them, by their presence to advance any contrary thing with the respect due to the religion, catholic, apostolic and Roman, prejudicial in the State.

The consistories submitted to two contradictory laws were in the greatest embarrassment, and it did not miss people willing to benefit from a legislation absurdity to make iniquities.


"One did not know which party to take: some proposed to close all the temples temporarily: the majority, on the contrary, were of opinion more to keep the doors of them and to let enter everyone indistinctly. But, before coming to this end, the provincial synod, at this meeting in Fontenay since June 9 until the 15 of same, month, solved to still make an attempt near the Council. It gave load to the sieurs of Chavernay and Payré, to go to the marquis de Ruvigny, so that it stained to make repeal the law, and begged the king not to put his subjects of the religion reformed in the need for disobeying to him, "what they looked like largest of all misfortunes, after that to offend God and to betray the movements of their consciences". The catholic police chief wanted to be opposed to the deliberation and this step, voted unanimously, but its reformed assistant could not prevent himself from recognizing legitimacy of it. The court, without giving up the former practice to be made represent with the synods by a Protestant, had charged at the same time a catholic with attending that of Fontenay. The two police chiefs appointed by the duke of Vieuville were Jean-baptiste de Loynes, lord of Nalliers, and François-Hélie de Boisroux. This assembly was the legally authorized last. The number of the churches was then tiny room to twenty-six, including fourteen only with right of public worship: Thouars, Châtellerault, Poitiers, Rochechouart, Sauzé, Chief-Button, Miss, Aulnay, Mougon, Niort, Cherveux, Coulonges, Fontenay and Pouzauges. The twelve having exercise of strongholds were: Gastevine, Millière, Ordière, Couhé, Saint-Christophe-of-Rock, Payzay-le-Chapt, it Forest-on-Sèvre, Breuil-Barret, Montaigu, Aizenay, Keys and Nesmy (1).

The catholic police chief refused the right of meeting to the Ministers and old of the churches of strongholds of Bourdevère, Saint-Fulgent, Saint-Christophe-of-Ligneron, It Forest-on-Sèvre, Ferté, where the worship had been suspended by ordinance of Marillac (2).

The number already quite reduced of the churches was going to decrease further, and the last were to end up disappearing in the one year space.


In 1684, one still celebrated the worship in the temple of Pouzauges, but as of August 1685, it did not find grace in front of the pickaxe of the demolition contracters. That of Boupère having been demolished since 1665, it was the last of the diocese, also sought one all the pretexts to destroy it. On March 1, 1684, one surprised there a woman lately converted who made cene there, in spite of the edict on the relaps. The infringment was continued at once in front of Mr. de Baville, intendant of the province, which ordered the demolition of the temple. It was generally thought that the business had been concerted with this woman who had lent herself to the role that one made him play.

On September 26, 1685, the intendant of Poitou, Foucault, of harmful memory, wrote: "I mandé with Mr. de Louvois that there were 250 families of religionnaires in the town of Pouzauges, whose temple has been demolished for one month, that these families all were almost converted, with what contributed much the care of Mr. the marquis de Toucheprés, who in is lord and who has even desired that one put dragons in his sharecroppers (1)". Joining cruelty and the infamy to grotesque, the lieutenant of the constabulary of Fontenay, Jean Ganacheau, made, in April 1685, to trail on the tray, in the streets of Pouzauges, the corpse of poor 78 year old old woman, who, at her last hour, had refused to receive the sacraments, after having abjured, by force, his beliefs (2).


All the reformed churches of the province or about, thus were struck of prohibition and the demolished temples; but as Louis XIV had not issued yet that there would be no more Protestants in its States, the Council named office of the ministers to make the baptisms in the vast private districts of any other exercise of the worship. Thus Betoule had to serve Puybelliard and Boupère, in addition to Saint-Fulgent where it remained; Guitton was to be established in Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits, and to go to Saint-Hilaire-to-Talmont and Fenouiller (1).

The Protestants were excluded from public employment, the municipal loads, the single functions of judicature, the places of clerks, the consular houses, etc, of those of prosecutors, notaries, lawyers, etc, of the apothecary, medical professions, surgeon, printer, bookseller, etc Poitou depopulated themselves, because everywhere one saw renewing the dreadful scenes of the first bottées missions. "The Protestants, terrified with the approach of the soldiers, escaped. Separated from their families, they wandered randomly, remaining hardly a day or two pennies the same roof, and not daring to strike that the night with the door of their friends. The dragons went to the hunting of these unhappy which deserted their hearths thus. In Coulonges, they ran after the women hidden in the countryside and brought back them to the church. All the prisons abounded, and one piled up the faithful ones in the most inconvenient places, or their forces became exhausted without their constancy weakening. Not far from Pouzauges, one threw them in a low pit of the abbey of Flocellière, repugnant receptacle of all the rubbish of the convent, where one let them stagnate during several weeks (2).

Since Louvois had released its dragons in all the provinces, one received at the court of the incredible news, of the extraordinary results. The evening, with sleeping of the king, one learned that a city had converted, the morning it was a province. On September 13 it is Poitou, then Brittany, etc

"I believe well, said Mrs. de Maintenon (3), that all these conversions are not sincere, but God is useful itself of all ways to bring back to him the heretics. The children will be at least catholic, if the fathers are hypocritical. "

Louis, dazzled by the sumptuous relations of his ministers, his confessor, the bishops and the intendants, believed the dying heresy, and convinced himself that it was not any more a question but of striking the last blow, while signing, on October 17, 1685, the edict of revocation of the charter of freedom granted by his grandfather.