Historical Notes Covering Plate Nine: The Gadagne d'Hostun

These notes are mostly taken from La Saga Lyonnaise des Gadagne, by Edouard Lejeune, and Roglo. Translated from French by Francesco Carloni de Querqui.

The number before the name refers to the number on the family tree

Please click here to view plate nine.


When, on Decemberr 12, 1594, Gaspard de Gadagne, Count of Verdun, dies in an ambush of the League, Guillaume I de Gadagne loses his last son. He decides to make Balthazar d’Hostun, son of his daughter Diane, his universal heir, at the condition that the latter adopts the Gadagne surname and family crest. Guillaume wants the Gadagne patrimony, which he helped accumulate, to remain under the “Gadagne” name.

By a happy coincidence, the d’Hostun crest is similar to the Gadagne, a golden cross with thorns on a red field. The d’Hostun crest can still be seen on the walls of the old d’Hostun castle, dominating the Ysere plains, about 9 miles East of Romans. And by adopting the surname “Gadagne d’Hostun”, Balthazard keeps also his father’s family name. Thus this new branch of the Gadagne Family will brilliantly represent the Gadagne for almost two more centuries, through five generations. It will complete the family installation and their taking roots in Boutheon and in the Forez region.


Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun is born around 1590. His parents are Antoine de la Baume d’Hostun and Diane de Gadagne. When his grandfather, Guillaume I de Gadagne dies, in Lyon, on January 26, 1601, Balthazard is still a minor. Antoine de la Baume d’Hostun, 43 years old, replaces Guillaume I as Seneschal of Lyon. He manages his son’s large Gadagne inheritance.

Balthazard is still under his father’s guardianship when, in 1609, according to the wish his grandfather Guillaume I wrote in his will, he commissions an imposing white marble funerary monument for Guillaume I and his wife Jeanne de Sugny in the Gadagne Family chapel in the church of Notre-Dame de Confort in Lyon.

The Gadagne Family chapel and the tomb have disappeared in the 19th century with the demolition of the church. However, we can still have a good idea of how the tomb was, thanks to an exemplary of the project of the monument kept in the National Library [Bibliotheque Nationale, Clairambault Funds, 1134, installment 68]. In it you can see a man and a woman kneeling on their pedestals, in a prayerful position. We can identify the man by the Collar and the habit of the Order of the Holy Spirit which he wears and the woman by the Sugny Family crest, represented underneath the Gadagne crest, and by the engraved epitaph. Written in Latin, the epitaph indicates that Guillaume and his beloved wife are resting in the chapel, and it lists his titles and merits, together with those of his son Gaspard and of his brother Thomas III also buried in the same chapel.

The exemplary of the project is only a rough sketch, however it is very important. Before seeing it, most writers thought the two people sculpted in a prayerful position were Thomas I de Gadagne and his wife Peronette Buatier. Said drawing, including the epitaph underneath it, establishes without possible doubt that the two kneeling people are Guillaume I de Gadagne and his wife [CLAPASSON”Description de la ville de Lyon”(“Description of the City of Lyon”) with research on the famous peoples born in it, Lyon, 1741, page 63] [BROUTIN, “The historical castles of Forez,” Roanne, 1884, page 63]. The consoles of the balcony on the arch of Sully Street in Lyon, decorated with pieces of the destroyed Gadagne tombs, show military trophies, appropriate in a tomb of a military commander like Guillaume I de Gadagne, while strange and unthinkable on the tomb of a merchant-banker like Thomas I [MERAS M.,oral communication].

Translation of the Latin Epitah:” Here lies Guillaume de Gadagne, Count of Verdun, Baron of Boutheon, Meys and Belmont, faithful beyond measure to the Kings of France, one of one hundred chamberlains of the King, who distinguished himself in numerous and important embassies to the very sereine Emperor Maximilian, to the Republic of Venice and to the Duke of Savoy…as a reward of his faithfulness under five kings, from Henri II to Henry IV, he received the greatest honors: Counselor of the King and Knight of his military cohort…There would not be anything to add to his life if destiny did not want his only son Gaspard de Gadagne, to die, victim of a treacherous ambush on December 12, 1594, while fighting bravely against the enemies of the King. Plunged in an inconsolable sadness, his father died on January 15, 1601, at the same time as Jeanne de Sugny, dame of noble birth, his very dear spouse. So, united during their life, the same tomb reunited them on the same day. His brother, Thomas de Gadagne, Lord of Beauregard, Charly and Pravieux, Baron of Champroux and Briailles…and several of their relatives were already buried here. Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun, his grandson, by his daughter, and heir…built this monument on the year of the Lord 1609.”

Two years later, on October 20, 1611, the Count of Charlus, his son and a young page, are killed in an ambush by the Gadagne Family. According to the author of the “Vengeance of the Gadagne”, Father Vignon, the Count of Verdun was present among the Gadagne participating in the slaughter. He thinks it is Gaspard, son of Guillaume I de Gadagne, who is Count of Verdun. However, we know that Gaspard de Gadagne was killed by the Catholic League, in an ambush in 1594.Therefore, historian Lejeune, and we like him, think the Count of Verdun, who participated with his relatives in the murder of the Count of Charlus, must have been Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun, who was 21 at that time and had inherited the title of Count of Verdun from his grandfather Guillaume I de Gadagne. However, his role in the killing must not have been very important, because he was not condemned to death for it by the Parliamernt of Paris nor were his properties confiscated like those of his Gadagne relatives participating in the “crime of Mezemblin”. So he keeps the huge patrimony inherited from his grandfather intact and remains a free and respected citizen.

Two years later, in 1613, Balthazard marries Francoise de Tournon, daughter of Just-Louis, baron of Tournon, bailiff of Vivarais and grand seneschal of Auvergne. Balthazard and Francoise will have three sons, Louis, Roger and Laurent, and three daughters, Henriette, Marthe and Catherine.

With the very large Gadagne heritage, inherited from his grandfather Guillaume I, Balthazard is already very wealthy. However he will enlarge his fortune considerably. On February 2, 1616, his father, Antoine de la Baume d’Hostun, dies. Balthazard will inherit all of his numerous properties. He is already Count of Verdun, Baron of Miribel and of Belmont, and Lord of Boutheon, Meys, Perigneux, and other domains. The Gadagne crest still has pride of place over the door of the ancient vicarage of Meys, which is now the public library of the town. With his father’s death, he becomes also Marquis de la Baume d’Hostun and Baron of Charmes and Ruinat. He also inherits the seigneury of Veauche, bought by his father from Jacques Andre’ d’Apchon, and the annuities from Serres and Bagnols, acquired four years earlier.

He continues nevertheless to enlarge his patrimony around the Gadagne castle of Boutheon, which becomes his main residence. Thus, in 1620, in Saint-Heand, for 25,000 pounds, he purchases the seigneurys of Malval, Chazotte and Changy [VARAX P. (de), The Lords of Malval and Saint-Heand in the Forez Region,Bussy Edit. 1882, pages 11-15], of which, since Thomas II, the Gadagne were already “engaged lords” (in ancient France, a private citizen could buy properties from the King, on the condition that the King could buy them back at the same price; they were called “engaged properties”. So Thomas II de Gadagne had already bought Malval, Chazotte and Changy from the King of France under that condition; they were his “engaged properties” and he was the “engaged Lord” of them. In Ancient France, the law stated that the Kings of France were not the “owners” but only the “administrators and users” of the Royal domain. This was to avoid that a King who wanted to finance too many wars against his neighbors or/and build himself too many costly palaces and castles, would end up by selling all his properties to raise money for it and his heir, the new King, would end up by waiting on tables at McDonald or driving a taxi to put food on the table for his family. This is why the Kings of France would sell their properties as “engaged properties” and had the right to buy them back. However, now, Balthazard buys them “for good”. No more “engagement”. I presume the King cannot get them back, at any price, unless of course Balthazard wants to sell them back to him. Balthazar becomes the perpetual owner of some of the properties of the Royal domain).

In 1639, he buys the seigneury of La Fouillouse. For 10,000, 11,000 and 16,000 pounds he buys the rights to establish filing fees and to appoint bailiffs for the towns of Saint-Bonnet-le-Chateau, Chauffour and Marclop. Finally, on October 26, 1633, for 105,000 pounds, he buys the seigneury of Arlenc in Auvergne, from his brother-in-law Henri de Tournon.

Balthazard will also have a brilliant career. He is promoted gentleman of the King’s Chamber. He succeeds his father as Seneschal of Lyon. He also distinguishes himself by his piety and generosity. In 1631, in Boutheon, he founds the first “Camaldolese” monastery in France. It is located almost a mile north of the town, at the junction of the large and the small Volon. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Consolation [R. URBAN BUTLER, LESLIE A. ST. L. TOKE, transcribed by W.G. KOFRON.Home Catholic Encyclopedia C Camaldolese. http:/w.w.w.new advent org/ cathen/03204 htm.].

He also has a chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of Graces” built in the church of the Oratorians. In his will, he bequeathes 3,000 pounds to go and “preach, confess and catechize in the parishes of Boutheon, Veauche, Perigneux, Meys and Saint-Bonnet-le-Chateau for six days four times a year”. He does not forget the poors. He institutes an allowance of 222 pounds as a dowry every year for two poor young women of Boutheon and Veauche chosen by the Superior of Our Lady of Grace [BROUTIN A., “The historical castles of the Forez Region”, 1884, pages 76-77]. This allowance originated the “Feast of the “Rosieres” (“Young virtuous girls”) of Boutheon”. Every year, a rural country feast, assembling the population and the nobility of the area, was organized in the Gadagne castle of Boutheon and the large surrounding park. After having been crowned in the church, the “Rosiere” was pompously escorted to the castle where she was invited at the table of the Gadagne Family. At the end of the banquet, she had the honor of opening the ball by dancing the “quadrille” on top of the large tower of the castle. The crowd of onlookers, assembled in the surrounding park would admire her by clapping their hands with enthusiasm. Balthazard himself started this tradition in his castle of Boutheon. It was interrupted after his death, in 1640, but started again by his great-grandaughter Louise-Charlotte de Gadagne d’Hostun in 1733. Eventually, it disappeared during the French Revolution in 1789.

In 1625, when his oldest son, Louis, is only two years old, Balthazard writes a will in which he makes him his universal heir. Later on, however, in 1640, a short period before his death, he changes his mind. He disinherits Louis and leaves everything to his second son, Roger, who was only a baby in 1625. A few months later, when Balthazard dies, he is buried in the church of Boutheon. His wife Francoise, who dies 25 years after him, will be buried next to him in Boutheon. However, Balthazard’s heart will be buried in the chapel he has built in the church of Our Lady of Graces [BROUTIN A., “Our Lady of Graces and Val Jesus…” page 77].

As we know, in his will, Guillaume I de Gadagne had ordered to build a family chapel in the church of Boutheon. Nevertheless, following the advice of some theologians, Balthazard chose to build the Gadagne Chapel in the church of Our Lady of Graces.

By disinheriting his oldest son, in favor of his younger one, Balthazard set up one brother against the other. Immediately after his father’s funeral, Louis has the castle of Boutheon sealed and starts taking inventory of everything in it. A long series of trials will follow. At the end, the judges decide to leave all the inheritance coming from Guillaume I de Gadagne to Louis, and all the properties coming from Antoine de la Baume d’Hostun to Roger.

At this point, while Louis and his descendants feel obliged to keep the Gadagne surname to rightfully enjoy the Gadagne inheritance, Roger does not feel such duty any more as he did not get any of it. His wife, Catherine de Bonne Lesdiguieres, brings him as a dowry the “County of Tallart”, in the region of Dauphine’. So, Roger’s part of the family starts a new branch “the Counts of Tallart”, different from the “Gadagne d’Hostun”. However, following historian Lejeune, we are still going to recount their history, as they are after all direct descendants of Balthazard and have a very interesting family history. Also because, at the third generation, a marriage between a Gadagne d’Hostun and a de Tallart will unite again the two branches of the family and end their disagreement.

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Louis is born in 1622. His father, Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun, dies when Louis is 28. Louis inherits the name and the crest of the Gadagne d’Hostun. He will be count of Verdun, lord of Boutheon, Meys, Miribel, Perigneux and other domains [POIDEBARD W., BASDRIER J., GALLE L., “Family Crests of the book lovers of the regions of Lyon, Forez, Beaujolais and Dombes”, Lyon, 1907, pages 297-298]. He marries Philiberte de Becerel, niece of Charles Becerel, Canon Count of Lyon, Dean of the Chapter and Rector of the General Alms. Louis and Philiberte have two sons, Gilbert and Charles-Joseph, and three daughters, Gabrielle, Antoinette Armande and Isabeau.

According to the custom, Louis leaves all his fortune to his oldest son, Gilbert, while Charles-Joseph, called “the count of Gadagne” will be captain of the carabineers at the Regiment “Royal Piedmont”. Gabrielle remains single all her life. Antoinette-Armande marries Joseph de Belly, lord of La Periciere in the region of Avignon (which still belongs to the Popes) [PITHON-CURT J.A., “History of the nobility of the Region of Avignon”, Marseille, 1970, volume IV, page 373]. Isabeau becomes nun in the monastery of Jourcey-en-Forez, where Gabrielle, the youngest daughter of Guillaume I de Gadagne, was raised.

Like his father, Louis makes the castle of Boutheon his main residence. He assembles a very rich library in it. He dies there at 66 years old. On March 6, 1688, he is buried next to his parents in the town church of Boutheon. A local legend says that in 1886, while repairing the pavement of the church, the carpenters found the tin coffin containing Louis’ corps. It seems that they did not hesitate to sell it to cover the expenses of their work.


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Gilbert de Gadagne d’Hostun, son of Louis de Gadagne d’Hostun, is count of Verdun, baron of Boutheon and lord of Meys, Miribel, Perigneux and other domains. His title of Count of Verdun enables Gilbert to be the representative of the French nobility at the Parliament of the States of Burgundy in 1695. Following the Gadagne tradition he becomes a military and is entrusted important offices. He is cavalry captain of the Villeroy Regiment and lieutenant general for the King in the Forez Region.

On October 12, 1687, he marries Marie-Claire d’Albon, third oldest daughter of Gilbert-Antoine d’Albon, (count of Chazeuil and knight of honor of Queen Henrietta of England), and of Claude Bouthillier de Rance’. Gilbert and Marie-Claire have only one daughter, Charlotte-Louise, who will inherit all their fortune.

In the meantime, Gilbert’s first cousin, Camille de la Baume d’Hostun, count of Tallart, is tired of the disagreement between the two branches of the family, the Gadagne and the Tallart. So, on February 13, 1696, in Paris, he signs with Gilbert de Gadagne d’Hostun, a marriage contract between his son, Francois de la Baume d’Hostun and Gilbert’s daughter, Charlotte-Louise de Gadagne d’Hostun. Charlotte-Louise, born in 1685, is only 11 at the time. We know that Francois is born sometimes between 1678 and 1683, so he must be between 13 and 18 years old. They are both very young. The clauses of the marriage contract are numerous and do not leave anything to chance. They are formulated with extreme care and precision to avoid any future dispute. However, the parents must obtain the dispensation from the Catholic Church for the marriage, because the engaged are closely related cousins. So, also because of the young age of the bethroded, the wedding is postponed to February 28, 1704. The ceremony is beautiful and everybody wishes the young couple a happy life, within a family finally reconciled.

Like his predecessors, Gilbert continues to look after the upkeeping of the Castle of Boutheon. This is shown by a cost estimate, priced by Gilbert on June 14, 1726, for repairs to be done to the double gallery of the castle [“Cost estimate for repair work to be done in the Castle of Boutheon, fixed and regulated between the Count of Verdun and Mr. Humbert Ayner and his brother Mr. Claude Ayner. Notary Casile. Rhone Department Archives, 3E3253, papers 556-558]. For what relates to the rest of his numerous properties, he limits himself to yeld his seigneury of Miribel to Andre’ Gentialon de Chatelus for 9 years in 1692.

Gilbert dies on February 5, 1732. He leaves 20,000 pounds to the Oratorians Friars of Montbrison, with whom both the Gadagne d’Hostun and the d’Albon have excellent relations. After his death, his widow Marie-Claire d’Albon, leaves to the Oratorians the important library assembled by her father-in-law, Louis de Gadagne d’Hostun and increased by Gilbert himself. The library included more than 500 volumes [These precious books, bound with the Gadagne d’Hostun crest on them, were confiscated from the convent by the Library of the town of Montbrison, during the French Revolution. They are actually kept at La Diana]. Several of the books dealt with Jansenisme, a controversial Catholic doctrine, started by Dutch author Cornelius Jansen, eventually condemned by Pope Clement XI, in 1713, which shows us how, both the Oratorian monks and the Gadagne d’Hostun were very interested in the Jansenist doctrine, which agitated so many people during that historical period. [AVENTURIER G. “Religious librairies and Jansenisme in Forez”, La Diana Bulletin, 1995, LIV, # 6, pages 423-449]. Historian Lejeune expresses his gratitude mostly to Mr. Gerard Aventurier de Saint-Etienne, who put his very interesting research on the donation at his disposal.] [COLLET, A. “Collection of the Oratorian Library kept at La Diana”, La Diana Bulletin, 1991, LII, # 4, pages 855-869]


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Charlotte Louise, born in 1685, is the only child of Gilbert de Gadagne d’Hostun and his wife Marie-Claire d’Albon. She will inherit all their fortunes. On February 28, 1704, in Paris, Charlotte-Louise, 19 years old, marries her cousin, Francois de la Baume d’Hostun, only a few years older than her. Thus the two branches of the Gadagne Family, the Gadagne d’Hostun and the de la Baume d’Hostun de Tallart, are reunited and reconciled.

Like most of the Gadagne, Francois is a military. He serves under the command of his father, the famous Marshal of France, Duke Camille de la Baume d’Hostun de Tallart. However, on August 13, 1704, in the battle of Hochstaedt, against the Austrians and the British, Duke Camille loses his first battle and is even taken prisoner. Francois, cavalry brigadier, is seriously injured at a knee, during the battle. A month later, on September 20, he dies of the consequences of his wound, in Strasbourg. So, barely six and a half months after her wedding, Charlotte-Louise, still only nineteen, remains a childless widow.

Five years later, on December 9, 1709, Charlotte-Louise marries again, this time with Marquis Renaud-Constant de Pons, Lord of Louzac, Brie, la Garde, Barret and Coulonges in Saintonge, Saint-Ciers in Gironde, Genouilly and Saint-Pompain, flag-bearer of the police of the King’s guard. He is born in 1686, so he is a year younger than Charlotte-Louise. As Historian Lejeune remarks, Renaud-Costant’s long list of properties and seigneurys seem to insure a stable, financially secure life. However, Renaud-Constant has a devouring, consuming passion: gambling, allied with an unbelievable bad luck. So he quickly devours all of his large fortune and most of Charlotte Louise’s.

Then, Renaud-Constant moves to Paris, where he lives in poverty, hiding his misfortune. He does not care anymore about the castle of Boutheon, which slowly falls apart. In 1730, the dungeon of the castle threatens to crumble down over the rest of the building. So Renaud-Constant orders to demolish it completely instead of repairing it, which would be more expensive. He also orders to cut down all the trees of the beautiful surrounding park, to pay his debts.
On September 27, 1741, at 55 years old, he dies in absolute poverty.

At her husband’s death, Charlotte-Louise, who has inherited all her parents’ fortune at her father’s death in 1732, still has available income from her remaining properties but she has also inherited several debts from her late husband. In addition to the income coming from her domains, she has, like her ancestors, right of toll on the crossing of the Loire River, which flows a few hundred yards from the castle of Boutheon. A ruling of the State Council of the King, on October 2, 1742, “renews the right Mrs de Pons (Charlotte-Louise) has of keeping a boat to carry people, animals or objects across the Loire River, next to Boutheon, provived she guarantees access to it and smooth functioning of it, and that the boat will not be used for malevolent purposes at night, and that she applies the following fees: three coins for a pig or a goat, six coins for a cow or an ox, one halfpenny for a knight, two halfpennies for a cart pulled by only one horse, two halfpennies and six coins for a carriage and any other vehicle pulled by two animals, etc.”

When she dies, in 1750, she leaves her only son Louis-Henry a very delicate financial situation and a patrimony full of debts. To be able to inherit, according to Gilbert de Gadagne d’Hostun’s will in his testament, Louis-Henry de Pons must add his grandfather’s surname to his and become “Louis-Henry de Pons de Gadagne d’Hostun”[Department Archives of Saint-Etienne, B 136, 1731-1743].


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Louis-Henry de Pons de Gadagne d’Hostun is the only child of Renaud-Constant de Pons and Charlotte-Louise de Gadagne d’Hostun. He is born on February 6, 1717. He is Count of Verdun and Louzac, and Lord of Boutheon, Veauche, Meys, Miribel and other domains. On September 1, 1734, when he is only seventeen, he marries Angelique-Marie-Henriette Tiercelin de Brosses.

At his mother’s death, according to her will of September 7, 1747, Louis-Henry inherits several properties and domains: the seigneurys of Boutheon, Meys, Miribel and Perigneux, the castle of Boutheon, the income from the rent of la Merlee’, the domains of Port and Boinard in Boutheon, the small and the large domains of la Ronze, and the domains of la Presle in Craintilleux, of Grand’Grange, and Gagere, an ancient master house in Meys, the domain of la Roche at Saint-Priest-du-Rousset and finally, the large and the small domain of Pied-de-Vache. To this we must add the large pine woods of Perigneux, a tilery (factory where they make tiles), and six ponds, called “de la Ronzy”, “de Gadagne”, de Severt”, “du Creux”, “de Veauche” and “de Boutheon”, located in the parishes of Veauche, Boutheon and Craintilleux [BROUTIN A.,”The historical castles of Forez”, abovementioned work, page 84].

The year after his mother’s death, Louis-Henry has an inventory made of all his inherited properties and domains [Inventory of the domain of Boutheon in 1751, Bruyas Family Archives, Notre-Dame de Bonson (Loire)]. It is achieved between November 4 and November 20, 1751, in his presence and that of the executors of the will and of all the creditors, with the goal of making the list of all the repairs to be done and their cost. Unfortunately it reveals the disastrous state of disrepair of all his properties. With its cracked walls, its roofs ready to fall in, its windows without window panes or frames, the castle of Boutheon is ready to crumble at any moment. Its beautiful park is now treeless and used as pasture for cows. The farms, woods and ponds are also in an appalling state. Not only, does Louis-Henry, have to pay at least the interests of the money he owes his numerous creditors, he must also honor the gift of 20,000 pounds his mother made to the Oratorian monks in her will, and other less important gifts.

Thus, in December 1752, Louis-Henry signs an agreement with the directors of the convents of Montbrison and Notre Dame de Graces, by which the back payments of the rents he owes them, will be covered by a yearly rent of 450 pounds. A third of this rent will be given to the poor, the rest will be used to give a dowry to the most deserving young women of Boutheon, Veauche and Perigneux. In 1777, he will have to sell the income coming from La Merlee’ of Boutheon to Sauzes, the elder, merchant in Saint-Etienne.

Finally, on February 7, 1793, pressured by his creditors, Louis-Henry resigns himself to sell the castle of Boutheon and its domain to Claude-Antoine Praire de Neysieux, for 340,000 francs [Ruling of the Royal Tribunal of Lyon, Thursday August 31, 1820, Bruyas Family Archives, Notre-Dame de Bonson (Loire)]. However, in 1789, the French Revolution takes place in France. Because of a severe food shortage, the French people rebel against the King, the Nobles and the Clergy. The latter two categories own 95% of the land and are exempt from taxes and work. The King is held responsible for the existence of such a social and economical organization. King of France Louis XVI and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette are beheaded. The nobles are hunt down and their castles looted and/or burnt. Many nobles escape abroad, including the Dukes of Gadagne, which we will study in the following chapter.

The year Claude-Antoine Praire de Neysieux buys the castle of Boutheon, he is arrested by the Revolutionaries, his properties are sequestrated on Octobre 12, and he is shot to death in Lyon, Place des Terreaux, on November 15 [BRUYAS Y., In the town of Bonson, “Old houses and old family papers” Edition Aux Arts, Lyon, 2003]. Poor Claude-Antoine was only 30 years old, had married Benoite Gonyn on November 16, 1792, almost exactly a year before being killed, and his wife was expecting a baby. During the following ten years, the numerous creditors try to get their due. Finally his son Antoine-Philippe is able to balance the situation and sells the castle of Boutheon for 105,181 francs and 67 cents to Baron Graille de Monteyma and the rest of the properties to the Dulac and the Forissier de Saint-Galmier [Minutes of August 6, 1821 Bruyas Family Archives, Notre-Dame-Bonson (Loire) Historian Lejeune expresses his deep gratitude to Yves Bruyas, descendant of the Praire de Neysieux family, who gently opened his archives to Lejeune and provided precious information on the castle of Boutheon and its history].

Thus ends the presence for almost two centuries and a half of the Gadagne in Boutheon. A few years later, Louis-Henry passes away and this is the end of the branch of the Gadagne d’Hostun..

This is Historian Lejeune’s conclusion. I (Francesco Carloni de Querqui) was curious. Did Louis-Henry have any children? Lejeune does not affirm it or deny it. So I looked in Roglo. I found two more generations of Gadagne d’Hostun and other interesting information. As we remember, Louis-Henry de Pons de Gadagne d’Hostun married Angelique-Marie-Henriette Tiercelin de Brosses, on September 1, 1734, when he was only seventeen. His wife was born in 1713, so she was four years older than him. They had no children. We do not know the year she dies.

In Roglo we find that Louis-Henry marries again, in 1767, when he is fifty. His wife is Francoise Agathe Dumorey. I presume she is not from a noble or famous French family, because I cannot find anybody with her surname in Roglo. Maybe that is why we do not know her dates of birth or death, or the names of her parents or siblings or any other member of her family. They have a son, whom they name Louis-Henry like his father. Again, we have no biographical information on Louis-Henry junior, dates of birth, death, etc.

From Roglo we find out that Marquis Louis-Henry de Pons d’Hostun junior (the surname Gadagne is not listed for him in Roglo; maybe because the castle of Boutheon and the rest of the Gadagne inheritance have been sold?) marries a woman whose name is not listed in Roglo, or anything else about her. They have a daughter, named Charlotte (like her great-grandmother)-Suzanne. Again, nothing is listed about her. No descendant of hers is listed in Roglo and so ends, to our knowledge, the Gadagne d’Hostun branch of the French Gadagne. Unless of course she marries somebody who is not noble, so not listed in Roglo, and she has children, grandchildren and a tribe of descendants, who are waiting to meet us somewhere in Southern France.

We will now follow the branch of Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun’s second son, Roger.


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Roger de la Baume d’Hostun is the son of Balthazard de Gadagne d’Hostun (1590-1640) and Anne de Tournon (1602-1665). He is born in 1623. He inherits all the properties of his grandfather Antoine de la Baume d’Hostun, while his older brother, Louis de Gadagne d’Hostun, inherits the properties of their great-grandfather, Guillaume I de Gadagne, including the famous castle of Boutheon. This is the reason why Roger does not feel the need of carrying the Gadagne surname as he did not inherit anything of their fortune.

Roger is Marquis de la Baume d’Hostun, Baron of Arlenc, Lord of Veauche and Charmes and “engaged lord” of Saint-Bonnet-le-Chateau, following his father. On May 17, 1648, he marries Catherine de Bonne, daughter of Alexandre, Lord of Bonne, Auriac, La Rochette and Tallart, Field-Marshal and Lieutenant General in the Government of Lyon and its region, and of Marie de Neuville Villeroy. This marriage enables Roger to add the title of Count of Tallard to the ones inherited from his father and to ally himself to one of the most powerful families of the region, the Villeroy. Since 1612, the Villeroy follow one another in the government of Lyon and one of them, Nicolas, is Marshal of France. So, Roger, who succeeded his father and grandfather in the charge of Seneschal, quickly, together with his wife, becomes one of the most important personalities of Lyon.

Roger’s wife, Catherine de Bonne, is born around 1630. She was 18 when she married him in 1648. Four years later, she gives him a son, Camille (1652-1728).

Author Francoise Pascal wrote a book on Catherine de Bonne, Roger’s wife. In her book, she describes Catherine as “pretty, unpredictable and capricious”. Nobody could refuse her anything in Lyon. On May 5, 1654, she decides to dance a ballet in the City Hall of Lyon, in front of a large group of people, including her relative, Archbishop Monsignor Camille de Neuville Villeroy. The Consulate of Lyon does not hesitate to pay all the expenses of it.

Catherine is Dame of Honor of Queen of France Ann of Austria (I presume called Ann “of Austria” even though her parents were the King and the Queen of Spain, because they were from the Hapsburg Family, Emperors of Austria and of the Holy Roman Empire). Catherine is known as “Madame de la Baume”.

Author Tallemant des Reaux describes Catherine as “tall, mischievous, spying, loving to create quarrels between everybody including her close relatives, just for the pleasure of creating evil. She was unfaithful and deceitful with her lovers, whom she loved only for her sexual pleasure, and she always had several at the same time, playing with them and not caring about their happiness or their feelings…“

One of her lovers is Count Bussy Rabutin (1618-1693). Count Bussy Rabutin’s first name is Roger, just like Catherine’s husband. Bussy-Rabutin has been married twice, with three children from his first marriage and four from the second. He has a famous mistress called Cecile Elizabeth Hurault.

In 1663 Roger de la Baume d’Hostun gets tired of his wife’s infidelities and has her locked in the Convent of the Misericorde. However, Bussy-Rabutin is in good terms with the nuns and is allowed to come in and make her a friendly visit. He does not suspect that Catherine is furious with him, because she thinks Bussy prefers another mistress, Madame de Montglas, to her. She knows Bussy is writing a book called “Amours des Gaules” (“Love affairs in France”) in which he recounts his illicit love affairs in detail. So she asks him if he can give her his manuscript for the night so she can read it. Not suspecting anything he entrusts it to Catherine.

Catherine stays up all night and copies the manuscript on many loose leaf sheets of paper. The following day she has a friend of her distribute them all over Paris. The scandal is enormous and even the King, Louis XIV is angry. He exiles Bussy-Rabutin in his castle in Burgundy, prohibiting him to present himself to Court any more. Bussy had an artist paint a portrait of “beautiful Catherine de Bonne”. He has it in his castle. He writes the following note underneath it:”the most beautiful mistress of the Kingdom of France, but also the most unfaithful”.

From that moment, he hates her fiercely. Bussy has a cousin, a famous French author, “Marquise of Sevigne’”, whom I had to study in French High School, who also detests Catherine. Catherine does not care and reciprocates her animosity.

Catherine dies on September 26, 1692, at 62 years old, twenty years before her husband. Her death is announced in the “Journal of Dangeau:”On Friday September 26, 1692, in Fontainebleau, Madame de la Baume, mother of the Count of Tallard, dies; She had been forbidden to present herself at the Court of the King already for some time. She was the daughter of Madame de Courcelles, sister of Marshal de Villeroy. She had caused quite an uproar in her youth”…Journal of Dangeau, volume IV (1692-1693-1694) page 174 – published by Feuillet de Couches, Paris, Firmin Didot Freres, Libraires, 1855.

Even though Roger lives in Lyon, he still takes care of his properties and related duties in the region of Forez. On February 12, 1655, he sells back the annuities of Serres and Baignols, which had been bought by his grandfather, to Jean Dupre’. Four days later, he gives the Oratorian monks of Montbrison his domain of la Gouyonniere and the properties of the Hermitage of Boutheon and of the Peage de la Paix, so they can go on mission four times a year to Veauche, Perigneux and Boutheon.

Finally, he gives the beautiful altar piece which we can still admire today, to the church of Veauche [BRIAND, R. “The baroque altar piece of the Assumption in the church of the town of Veauche” La Diana Bulletin, 1999, LVIII, # 2, pages 79-94]. In his very noteworthy study, the author points out the great resemblance between the baroque frame of this altar piece on which the crests of the Gadagne d’Hostun and of the de la Bonne appear with that of the Church of Saint-Andre’-du Puy which shows on its pediment the crest of Roger’s aunt, Marthe de Gadagne d’Hostun, and establishes they are of the same artist. Since December 30, 1982, the abovementioned altar piece is classified as “Historical Monument of France”. Roger dies in 1712, at 89 years old.

Sources of Catherine de Bonne’s life are: C.MAUBOIS (Information forum Genevieve Godel) viii 2011S.Fourlinnie (Maubois, forum 07/11/08 15:57, sources:”Lyon and the King: 1594-1654” by Yann Lignereux, 2003, and EDOUARD LEJEUNE, abovementioned work.
Source of Catherine de Bonne’s marriage and family: Paul de Boisgelin”Great armorial of France.H.Jougla de Morenas”.


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Roger and Catherine have only one son, Camille. Camille is born on February 4, 1652, in Lyon. By his marriage with Marie-Catherine de Groslee’de Viriville de la Linoliere, from an ancient family of the Dauphinois region, on December 28, 1677, Camille is Marquis de la Baume d’Hostun (later, Duke of Hostun (since 1712) Count of Tallart, Baron of Arlenc, and Lord of La Linoliere, Sillans, Saint-Etienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, Iseaux, and other domains.

Camille and Marie-Catherine have two sons, Francois and Marie Joseph, and a daughter, Catherine-Ferdinande, who marries the Marquis of Sassenage. Tired of the disagreement that has lasted for two generations between the two branches of la Baume d’Hostun, because of their common grandfather Balthazard de Gadagne’s will, on February 13, 1696, in Paris, Camille signs with his cousin Gilbert de Gadagne d’Hostun a marriage contract between his son Francois and Gilbert’s daughter Charlotte-Louise. Because of the young age of the two engaged, the marriage is celebrated eight years later, on February 28, 1704, happily reuniting the two branches of the family.

Like most of the Gadagne Camille is a military. He becomes one of the great and famous generals of the French Army. He loses only one battle, the Battle of Blenheim, Germany, on August 13, 1704. However it is his most important one, where he is the commander in chief of all the French Armies in Germany. According to Sir Edward Sheperd Creasy, Blenheim is one of the 15 most important battles of World History. Its outcome changes Europe’s history forever. In the history of his life, Roglo states:”The poor standards of his plans caused the disaster of Blenheim.” I was curious and excited that one of our great-uncles was commander-in-chief in one of the 15 most important battles of world history, which changed the history of a continent forever. So, I studied the battle of Blenheim in all its details, and I recount it in the second half of Camille’s life. You can skip it if it does not interest you..

He starts at 15 years old as flag-bearer of the company of English gendarms (heavily armed cavalry). His brave behavior during the victories of Mulhouse(1674) and Turckheim(1675) against the troops of the Holy Roman Empire, earn him the grade of Brigadier. He participates in the conquest of the Franche-Comte’ and in all the military campaigns in Holland (1676-1678). He is promoted field-marshal in 1678, and serves in the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), between King Louis XIV of France on one side and a European-wide coalition, called the Grand Alliance, led by England, Holland, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, King Charles II of Spain, Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, and major and minor princes of the Holy Roman Empire on the other. He participates in the sieges of Courtay, Dixmude and Luxembourg in 1691. He is transferred in the French Army in Germany. After the invasion of the Palatinate, on March 30, 1693, he is awarded the grade of Lieutenant-General.

His friendship with King of France Louis XIV ensures a position of authority. After the war he serves for two years as ambassador to the Court of the King of England, William III, in London. His exceptional knowledge of European political affairs proves highly valuable. When (Catholic) ex-King of England James II dies in September 1701, in exile, after being defeated and replaced by (Protestant) King William III husband of his daughter Mary, (Catholic) King of France Louis XIV recognizes (Catholic) James’ son, also named James, as his successor to the throne of England. Consequently, the actual King of England, William III, expels Camille from London in 1702.

A little parenthesis related to the Florentine Guadagni. As we have just mentioned above, at the death of exiled King of England James II Stuart, King Louis XIV of France recognizes his son James Stuart, exiled in France and related to Louis XIV, as James III King of England, Scotland and Wales. King James III tries a few times to invade Great Britain to recover his throne but he is always repelled. France and other countries where James III was living ask him to leave them so as not to get in trouble with the Protestant Kings of England. So King James III ends up in Rome, capital of the Papal States, who, of course, is more than willing to give asylum to the Catholic exiled King of England.

James III names his elder son, Charles Edward Stuart, Regent Prince, with the right to become King of England, Scotland and Wales, at his death. As James III pretends to be King of England, he is called “the Old Pretender”. His son will be called “the Young Pretender”. Eventually, Charles is able to organize a good army, conquer Scotland and from there invade England, in 1745. However, his army is defeated on April 16, 1746. After wandering in the Scottish Highlands for six months he returns to France on September 20. At his father’s death on January 1, 1766, Charles succeeds to all his British rights and is called “King Charles III’.

He lives in Rome until July 1774 and then he moves to Florence, where he falls in love with the Guadagni Palace of Via Micheli 2. At that time, the palace belongs to Niccolo’ Guadagni, Marquis of Montepescali (1730-1805), cousin of our branch, who are Marquis of San Leolino. It is one of the 12 largest palaces of Florence. By the way, at that time, the Guadagni Family owned 4 of the 12 largest palaces of Florence (i.e. the Guadagni owned one third of all the largest palaces of Florence at the same time. No other family of Florence has even come close to it, it was an honor to own even one of them, and the richest families maybe owned two and for only a short period of time). The four palaces are the one of Via Micheli 2, the one of Piazza Santo Spirito, who is still partially owned by our cousins Dufour –Berte Guadagni, and which is the most famous of the four, the one in Piazza Del Duomo, owned by Pietro Guadagni, who changed his name in Torrigiani to inherit the Torrigiani fortune and sold the palace (because he had too many palaces when he also inherited the Torrigiani ones) and the one on Lungarno Torrigiani, also inherited by Pietro Guadagni-Torrigiani and known nowadays as Palazzo Torrigiani, still owned by the Torrigiani Family.

The Palazzo in Via Micheli 2 was bought by Tommaso Guadagni (1582-1652) in 1634. Tommaso was wealthy and magnificent. He used his great wealth to protect art and artists. He bought it when it was a small elegant palace owned by don Luigi of Toledo, brother of Medici Grand-Duchess Eleonora, and had it enlarged and modified according to the design of one of the most famous Florentine architects of his time, Gherardo Silvani, in 1644. Its daring architectural innovations make it unique in the history of Florentine architecture. While the Guadagni Palace of Piazza Santo Spirito was the most imitated of all the palaces of Florence, nobody ever dared to imitate the audaciously new style of the Guadagni Palace of via Micheli 2. It is surrounded by a large private park, which used to be even bigger at the time. The famous painter and historian Giorgio Vasari said that “There was not a similar private park in Florence and maybe not even in all of Italy…!”

An interesting character of the Guadagni Palace is that it is built according to an elegant architectural fashion of the 17th century, when the palace, surrounded by a large park, was built more like a country villa, which was called “casino” instead of “Palazzo”. In the “palaces”, the first floor was made for carriages and horses and an elegant stairway would take you to the second floor, called the “noble floor”, enlightened by large windows, and where the big reception living rooms and ballrooms were located, together with the bedrooms of the most important members of the owners’ family. Children would sleep on the third floor and servants on the fourth. These palaces were built in the narrow Middle-Age streets of the city center, where there was no room for adjacent gardens. An interior courtyard would give light to the central rooms and provide a place where the family children could get some fresh air.

In the newer parts of the city, where wealthy families owned enough land to have a private park, casini were built. The reception and living floor was now the first floor, leading to the park, which became an important living space, with fountains, statues, artificial grottos, ponds surrounded with flower gardens, etc. There were no more interior courtyards, because they were not needed anymore to give light or fresh air, as there was the park for it. When I went and visited Giuseppe Torrigiani in his palace with the large gardens, and admired his “palace”, he gently told me:”Francesco this is not really a palace but a “casino”, because we do not have an interior courtyard” (but the largest private park in Florence around it).

There are very few “casini” in Florence, which I know of, because very few people could afford large private parks in the old Middle-Age and Renaissance city. Pietro Guadagni-Torrigiani (1773-1848) bought several old Middle-Age streets and tore down the houses to build his park.

The inside rooms of the Guadagni palace of Via Micheli 2, have beautiful frescoes, one of which is by the famous artist “Il Volterrano” (1611-1690), who was a personal friend of Tommaso. It represents Saint Martin giving half of his coat to a poor beggar. On a little Loggia of the second floor, there is a large fresco covering a whole wall which is an “apology of the Guadagni Family”. All of Tommaso’s ancestors’ family crests, both paternal and maternal, are painted in the order of the following generations of the Guadagni family tree. Also all of the Guadagni palaces, castles and villas are painted on that wall, with the names underneath, Masseto included. Cousin Michael Cooper and I saw it and took pictures of it.

Charles Edward Stuart buys the Guadagni Palace (or “Casino”) from Niccolo’ Guadagni in 1774. He moves in with his wife, Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, daughter of Prince Gustavus Adolphus of Stolberg-Gedern. Charles and Louise had married two years earlier, first by proxy in Paris, and then they renewed their vows in person in the chapel of Palazzo Marefoschi in Macerata, Italy. Charles was 50 years old when he married and Louise was 20. It was the first marriage for both. They had no children. In 1780 Louise leaves Charles; in 1784, Charles issues a decree permitting her to live separately from him.

Before marrying Louise, Charles had a relationship with Marie-Louise de La Tour d’Auvergne, and had a son from her, Charles, who died as a baby (1748), and one with Clementia Walkinshaw, and had a daughter from her, Charlotte (1753-1789). In 1783 Charles signs an Act of Legitimation of his daughter Charlotte: this legitimation was registered in the Parliament of Paris. The following year, Charlotte comes to live with Charles in the Guadagni Palace. In Florence, Charles goes by the title of “Earl of Albany”. He gives his daughter the title of “Duchess of Albany”.

When he buys the Guadagni Palace, Charles has an artist add a large painting of his family crest on the North side of a great living room on the first floor. From his birth, Charles bore the titles of “Prince of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles, and Great Steward of Scotland, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester”. At the death of his father, in 1766, as we remember, he becomes “King Charles III of England, Scotland and Wales”, or at least he pretends to be, because he lives in exile and no other government recognizes him as such. And so he is called the “Young Pretender” and to this day the Guadagni Palace is also called the “Palace of the Young Pretender”. On the crest painted on the wall, which we can still admire nowadays, we can see the three panthers on blue background, emblem of England, the harp of Ireland and the rampant lion of Scotland. The crowned rampant lion of England and the unicorn of Scotland are also depicted.

At the end of 1785, Charles and Charlotte move to Rome, where they live in Palazzo Muti. Charles dies in Rome on January 31, 1788, and his younger brother, Henry, succeeds him in all his British rights. Charles’ body is buried in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.

The Guadagni Palace is then bought by Simone Velluti Zati, Duke of San Clemente. The Duke never lived in it, but rented it to important people living in Florence, like Lord Normandy, English Ambassador at the Granduchy of Tuscany, or Russian Prince Nicholas Demidoff. A few years ago it was bought by the University of Florence, and it is now the Faculty of Achitecture, an appropriate destination for such a beautiful architectural jewel.

Now, let us go back to Camille. Camille de la Baume d’Hostun is also Duke of Tallart and often is called simply “Tallart” or “Tallard” in history books. This is how we will sometimes call him from now on because this is the name under which he is historically known and famous. Tallard’s military career reaches its height during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), between France and Bavaria, called the Two Crowns, on one side, and Holy Roman Empire, Great Britain, Holland, Portugal and the Duchy of Savoy, called the Grand Alliance, on the other.

On September 7, 1703, the Duke of Burgundy and Tallart take the town of Breisach. Tallard proceeds to invest Landau in mid October. The German Prince of Hesse-Kassel comes to the rescue of Landau. Tallard roundly defeats him in the battle of Speyerbach on November 15, 1703. As a result, Landau falls two days later. Shortly after, Tallart is created Marshal of France.

The following year, a combined Franco-Bavarian army defeats the Imperial Armies. In Southern Germany, Camille de Tallard, at the head of a new army, is victorious in the Electorate of the Palatinate. At this point, French leaders entertain grand designs, using a combined French and Bavarian army they plan to conquer Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire itself. They hope this would lead to the collapse of the Grand Alliance. So, the French-Bavarian army, led by Camille, who has been promoted general of all the French Armies in Germany, starts marching towards Vienna. On the other hand, Malborough, commander of the English Army, is marching from Holland to stop them, and Prince Eugene of Savoy, at the head of the Austrian army is coming from the South to join Malborough.

On May 14, Imperial general Baron Thungen tries to stop Camille’s advance through the Black Forest, in Southern Germany. However “with considerable skill Marshal Tallard manages to bring 10,000 reinforcements and vast supplies and munitions through the difficult terrain, whilst outmaneuvering Baron Thungen, who sought to block his path. Tallard then returns with his own force to the Rhine river, once again side-stepping Thungen’s efforts to intercept him.The whole operation is an outstanding military achievement”[FALKNER, “Blenheim 1704”, page 20]

However, on June 13, Tallart’s plan to change the direction of his advance to protect Bavaria from Malborough’s incoming British army is stalled by French bureaucratic complications. The rigidity of the French command system was such that any variations from the original plan had to be sanctioned by Versailles (Palace of the King of France, close to Paris). The Count of Merode-Westerloo, commander of the Flemish troops in Tallard’s army writes:”One thing is certain: we delayed our march from Alsace far too long and quite inexplicably.”[CHANDLER, “Malborough as Military Commander”, page 133]

Eventually, Tallard’s progress through the rocky passes of the Black Forest slows down a lot, allowing Malborough’s and Prince Eugene’s forces to meet and prepare for the great battle against the allied French-Bavarian forces. Many of Camille’s cavalry horses are suffering from glanders, and the mountain passes are proving tough for the 2,000 wagons of provisions. Local German peasants, angry at French plundering, compound Tallards’s problems, leading Merode-Westerloo to bemoan:”the enraged peasantry killed several thousand of our men before the army was clear of the Black Forest.” [CHANDLER, “Malborough as Military Commander”, page 131] However also the British and Austrian march has not been without loss: French spies reported that 900 sick had been left at Kassel.

Finally, the two opposing armies face one another on August 12, 1704. The Franco-Bavarian forces are encamped behind the small river Nebel, near the village of Blenheim on the plain of Hochstadt. Malborough and Eugene’s troops camp at Munsters, 5 miles from the French camp. The ensuing battle, a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession, was fought on the following day, August 13, and is known as the Battle of Blenheim or as the Second Battle of Hochstadt. Camille’s army numbers 56,000 men and 90 cannons, the army of the Grand Alliance, 52,000 men and 66 cannons.

The battlefield stretches for nearly 4 miles. The extreme right flank of the Franco-Bavarian army is covered by the Danube River; to the extreme left flank are the undulating pine-covered hills of the Swabian Jura. A small stream, the Nebel, (the ground either side of which is soft and marshy and only fordable intermittently) is in front of the French line. The French right rests on the village of Blenheim near where the Nebel flows into the Danube; the village itself is surrounded by hedges, fences, enclosed gardens and meadows. Between Blenheim and the next village of Oberglauheim the fields of wheat have been cut to stubble and are now ideal to deploy troops. From Oberglauheim to the next hamlet of Lutzingen the terrain of ditches, thickets and brambles is potentially difficult ground for the attackers [BARNETT, “Malborough”, p. 106].

In front of the superior numbers of the enemy, and aware of their strong defensive position, some Allied officers remonstrate with Malborough about the hazards of attacking; but the Duke of Malborough is resolute:”I know the danger. Yet a battle is absolutely necessary, and I rely on the bravery and discipline of the troops, which will make amends for our disadvantages”. Malborough and Eugene decide to risk everything and agree to attack.

The British-Austrian forces leave their camp at 2:00 a.m. and march silently towards the French-Bavarian positions. The last thing Camille expects that morning is to be attacked by the Allies. Assured of his strong natural position, he is convinced that Malborough and Eugene are about to retreat north-eastwards towards Nordlingen. He writes a report about it to King of France Louis XIV. The messenger has just galloped away with the note for the King, when the Allied army begins to appear opposite the French camp. “I could see the enemy advancing ever closer in nine great columns”, writes Merode-Westerloo,”…filling the whole plain from the Danube to the woods on the horizon.”[BARNETT, “Malborough”, p. 109]

Camille and the other two commanders, French general Marsin and the Elector of Bavaria, have different views on how to best defend their position: Marsin and the Elector want to advance their troops to the edge of the river and kill the enemy while they are getting out of the water. Tallard wants to lure the attackers out of the river and then unleash the cavalry upon them, causing panic and confusion, while the enemy is struggling in the marshes.

Eventually, they got to a compromise and deployed their forces at a certain distance of the river. On the other side, it took a while for Prince Eugene’s forces to get ready for the attack, due to the difficult terrain and enemy fire. In the meantime, the British forces, well deployed in front of the river at 10:00 am, had to endure three hours of fire from the French artillery and suffered 2,000 casualties before the attack even began.

Finally, at 1:00 p.m., British Brigadier-General Archibald Rowe’s brigade begins the attack. The English infantry rise from the edge of the Nebel, and silently march towards the fortified town of Blenheim, a distance of about 150 yards. When they get to a distance of 30 yards the French fire a deadly volley. Rowe had ordered his men that there should be no firing until he strikes his sword upon the palisades, but as he steps forward to give the signal, he falls mortally wounded [CHURCHILL:”Malborough: His Life and Times ”page 53. Two of Rowe’s staff officers are killed trying to carry him away: Lieutenant-Colonel Dalyell and Major Campbell]. The English survivors close the ranks and attack anyway but repeated French volleys and the counterattack of the French Aristocratic eight squadrons of elite soldiers, called Gens d’Armes, force them to retreat. However, helped by the German Hessian Brigade, the English repulse the “Gens d’Armes, and launch another attack.
Also this second attack is repulsed. However, the persistent attacks on Blenheim panick the Marquis of Clerambault, French commander of the town. So, without consulting the commander in chief Camille de Tallard, he orders his reserve battalions into the village, upsetting the balance of the French position and nullifying the French numerical superiority. ‘The men were so crowded in upon one another”, wrote Merode-Westerloo, “that they couldn’t even fire – let alone receive or carry out any orders” [FALKNER: “Blenheim 1704”, page 70]. Malborough spots this error and countercommands Lord Cutt’s intention to launch a third attack. He orders him simply to contain the enemy within Blenheim; no more than 5,000 Allied soldiers are thus able to pen in twice the number of French infantry and dragoons.

On the Allied right, the Imperial troops of Prince Eugene have a hard time attacking the armies of general Marsin and the Elector, who are superior in number. Our friend Merode-Westerloo writes:”…Prince Eugene and the Imperial troops had been repulsed three times- driven right back to the woods- and had taken a real drubbing.”

While these events are taking place, however, Malborough and his English troops are crossing the Nebel. Again the elite Gens d’Armes charge at them. This time, however, Colonel Francis Palmes’ five English squadrons face them. To the consternation of the French, the Gens d’Armes are pushed back in terrible confusion. “What? Is it possible?” the Elector of Bavaria exclaims, “the gentlemen of France fleeing?”

Camille is facing the British. He is alarmed by the repulse of the elite Gens d’Armes and urgently gallops across the field to ask Marsin for reinforcements. However French General Marsin is hard pressed by Eugene’s repeated attacks on his side and refuses. As Tallard and Marsin consult with each other, more of Marsin’s infantry is taken into the village of Blenheim by panicked Clerambault. Fatally, Camille, aware of the situation, does nothing to rectify this grave mistake, and is left with just nine battalions of infantry to oppose Malborough’s massed attacking enemy ranks.

Finally Marsin sees Camille’s problem, and sends his cavalry to attack Malborough’s open flank. Malborough asks Eugene for help. Even though Prince Eugene is himself in a desperate struggle trying to attack well entrenched superior enemy forces, he immediately sends Count Hendrick Fugger and his Imperial Cuirassier brigade to help repel the French cavalry. This was a great advantage the Imperial and British Armies had: even though Eugene and Malborough had personally met for the first time only shortly before the battle, they immediately became friends, trusting each other’s military valor and uprightness of intents. They showed a high degree of confidence and mutual cooperation during the whole battle. The French generals instead carried each one their own personal plan, often damaging the needed cooperation between allied forces. Camille, as commander in chief officer, could have forced his subaltern officers to obey his orders promptly. He has been criticized for allowing Clerambault to maintain a force of infantry in the small town of Blenheim so large that it denied the main army manpower it needed. Why did he do that? My personal opinion is that Blenheim was the first battle in which Camille was commander in chief of all the French armies under him. He was probably still used to respect the other French generals’ battle plans and individual initiatives.

On seeing the Imperial Cuirassiers galloping towards them, Marsin’s cavalry turns around to face them, allowing Malborough’s troops to complete the crossing of the Nebel River. The Cuirassiers defeat the French squadrons who retreat in disorder. Merode-Westerloo tries to extricate some French infantry crowded in Blenheim, but Clerambault orders the troops back in the village. Tallard’s cavalry squadrons, lacking infantry support, tired and ragged, attack nevertheless Malborough’s troops and manage to push them back for a while. So much so that an English officer turns around and attempts to leave the field –“Sir, you are under a mistake, the enemy lies that way…” Malborough rebukes him. More numerous, the united Allied cavalry finally put Tallard’s tired horsemen to rout, even though suffering heavy casualties. The remaining nine French infantry battalions fight with desperate valor, trying to form square. But it is futile. They are overwhelmed by English close-range artillery and platoon fire. Merode-Westerloo later wrote – “They died to a man where they stood, stationed right out in the open plain – supported by nobody.”
In their disordered retreat, many of Tallard’s troops plunge in the Danube River and over 3,000 French horsemen drown there. Others are cut down by pursuing Imperial cavalry. Camille tries a final rally behind his camp’s tents, shouting entreaties to stand and fight, but eventually he is caught up in the rout. Surrounded by a squadron of Imperial Hessian cavalry, Marshal Tallard surrenders to Lieutenant-Colonel de Boinenburg, the Prince of Hesse-Kassel’s aide-de-camp, who sends him under escort to Malborough.

The Duke of Malborough welcomes the French commander – “I am very sorry that such a cruel misfortune should have fallen upon a soldier for whom I have the highest regard”. With salutes and courtesies, Camille is escorted to Malborough’s coach.

In the meantime the Bavarian troops repel a third attack of the Imperial cavalry. Prince Eugene is exasperated. He shoots two of his troopers to prevent a general flight. He declares in disgust that he wishes to “fight among brave men and not among cowards”. However he leads a fourth attack and finally the Bavarian capitulate. The French infantry is defeated in a desperate hand-to-hand bayonet struggle. At this point the Elector and Marsin decide that the battle is lost and retreat hastily from the battlefield.

Malborough now sends all his troops on the village of Blenheim, last resisting bastion of the French forces. Clerambaut realizes that his tactical mistake on confining his huge force in the village has contributed to Tallard’s defeat in the center. So, shameful and panicky, he quickly deserts Blenheim and the 27 battalions defending the village and reportedly drowns in the Danube while attempting to make his escape.

Blenheim is attacked on all sides and catches fire. “…our men fought in and through the fire…until many on both sides were burned to death.” – Private Deane, English 1st Regiment Foot Guards writes. Hearing the din of the battle, Camille sends a messenger to Malborough offering to order the garrison to withdraw from the field. “Inform Monsieur Tallard”, replies the Duke,”that, in the position in which he is now, he has no command.” After a very bloody fight of many hours, at 9:00 pm, the Marquis de Blanzac, who has taken charge in Clerambaut’s absence, reluctantly accepts the inevitability of defeat, and some 10,000 of France best infantry lay down their arms [FALKNER: “Blenheim 1704,”p.98].

During these events Malborough was still in the saddle conducting the pursuit of the broken enemy. Pausing for a moment he scribbles on the back of an old tavern bill a note addressed to his wife, Sarah:”I have no time to say more but to beg you will give my duty to the Queen, and let her know her army has had a glorious victory.”[BARNETT:”Malborough”, p.121]

French losses were immense: over 30,000 killed, wounded and missing. Among the casualties was Francois de la Baume d’Hostun, oldest son of Camille, who had just married his 19 year old cousin Charlotte-Louise a few months before. Moreover, the myth of French invincibility had been destroyed and King Louis XIV’s hopes of an early and victorious peace had been wrenched from his grasp. Merode-Westerloo summarized the case:”The French lost this battle for a wide variety of reasons. For one thing they had too good an opinion of their own ability…Another point was their faulty field dispositions, and in addition there was rampant indiscipline and inexperience displayed…it took all these faults to lose so celebrated a battle.” It was however a hard-fought contest, leading Prince Eugene to observe – “I have not a squadron or battalion which did not charge four times at least.”

British historian Sir Edward Sheperd Creasy considers Blenheim one of the most important battles in world history, writing – “Had it not been for Blenheim, all Europe might at this day suffer under the effect of French conquests resembling those of Alexander the Great in extent and those of the Roman Empire in durability.”[EDWARD SHEPERD CREASY, “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, 1851”]

The field-commanders were military giants, changing the world history in a few hours of battle. An Italian historian considers Prince Eugene as one of the five greatest generals of all times, the other four being Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar and Napoleon.

All French prisoners were ransomed or exchanged, except Camille. He was too great of an enemy general for the British, to have him soon back in the field, at the head of the French troops. So he was taken to England and housed on parole in Nottingham until his release seven years later, in 1711. The writer Daniel Defoe reported that his “small, but beautiful parterre, after the French fashion”, was one of the beauties of Nottingham.

Released in 1711, Camille returns to France. In spite of the Blenheim defeat, King Louis XIV does not bear him any ill will. The King makes Tallard a Duke in 1712 and a Peer of France in 1715. He is also appointed Lieutenant General for the Dauphine’ Region and made Knight of the Orders of the King, Later, he is appointed Governor of the Franche-Comte’ Region. In his testament, the King appoints Camille to the Council of Regency but the Duke of Orleans has the testament nullified. Camille is elected President of the Science Academy in 1724 and he becomes a French Minister of State in 1726. He dies in Paris on March 30, 1728. He is buried in the Church Sainte-Elizabeth, at the Porte du Temple (Door of the Temple).


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Marie-Joseph de la Baume d’Hostun, second son of Camille de la Baume d’Hostun and Marie-Catherine de Groslee’ de Viriville de la Linoliere, is born on September 17, 1684. He is destined to become a priest. However, at the death of his older brother, Francois, caused by his wound in the battle of Blenheim in 1704, Marie-Joseph renounces the Holy Orders and starts a brilliant career at the service of the King.

After having been Prior of Plessis-Grimond, he fought bravely in the war and the King promotes the Duchy of Tallard, his father gave him in 1715, to Peerage, by patent letters dated March 1715, registered April 2, 1715. Marie-Joseph is promoted Infantry Brigadier in February 1719. He is appointed Governor of Franche-Comte’ in 1720. He is made Knight of the Orders of the King in 1724. He is also Duke of Hostun, Baron of Arlenc, Lord of Sillan, Saint-Etienne, Reaux, Saint-Bonnet-le-Chateau, Saint-Galmier, Verigneux, and Chambeonand de Marclop.

On March 15, 1713, in the parish of Notre-Dame in the castle of Versailles (residence of the King of France) he marries Marie-Elizabeth-Angelique-Gabrielle (known as Marie Isabelle) de Rohan (1/17/1699-1/4/1754), daughter of Hercule Meriadec, Duke of Rohan, Prince of Soubise, Peer of France, Lieutenant-General of the King’s armies, and Anne-Genevieve de Levis-Ventadour. What is interesting is that Anne-Genevieve de Levis-Ventadour is of the same family as Jean de Levis, count of Charlus, murdered by the Gadagne brothers in 1611.
Marie-Joseph is 28 years old when he gets married, Marie Isabelle only 14. In the church of Tallard there is a beautiful painting of the marriage of Marie Joseph and Marie Isabelle. Marie Joseph is dressed in a shining metal armor, with knee tall black leather boots, a long silver wig falling down on his shoulders, and a long red coat, with a top of white ermine fur, dragging behind him, with a long gold necklace around his neck. Marie Isabelle wears a long white dress with silver flowers on it, a ribbon hat on her hair, and a long red coat held by a young page walking behind her.

The Rohan are a proud noble French Family. A well-known saying of theirs is:”I disdain to be a Prince (The highest nobility title after ”King”), I cannot be the King (because there is already one), I am Rohan…!”

Marie-Joseph and Marie Isabelle have only one son, Louis Charles, born on February 15, 1716. Shortly after his birth they start living separate lives. Marie Isabelle is only 16 in this moment, her husband 30.

Interestengly enough, Marie Isabelle’s grandmother, Charlotte de La Mothe-Houdancourt (1654-1744), had a similar youth. In 1671, when she is seventeen, she marries Louis-Charles de Levis, Duke of Ventadour(1647-1717) who is twenty-four. In 1673, they have their only child, Anne Genevieve de Levis-Ventadour, who will become Marie Isabelle’s mother. Shortly after her birth, mistreated by her husband, who is a libertine, she goes to Paris and lives a separate life. In 1704, she is appointed governess of the “Children of France” (Children of the Kings of France), following her mother’s example.

From 1725 to 1729, Marie Isabelle is appointed Dame of Honor of the Queen of France Marie Leszczyinska.

In 1729 she obtains the “survivance” (the word means helper of the actual governess, and future replacement when the latter dies or resigns from her job) of the office of governess of the “Children of France”. She replaces her mother, Madame de Ventadour, as governess of King Louis XV’s twin daughters, Elizabeth and Henriette, born in 1727.

In 1732, she is appointed “Survivanciere” also of her abovementioned grandmother Charlotte de la Mothe-Houdancourt, Duchess of Ventadour, who is also Governess of the “Children of France”, as was Charlotte’s mother (so Marie Isabelle is the fourth generation of the same family appointed to be governess of the “Children of France”. This shows the great trust the Royal Famnily of France had in Marie Isabelle’s Family). Through her new appointment, she inherits her grandmother’s large income of 115,000 pounds and is able to lead a rich and sumptuous life.

In his memoirs, Dufort de Cheverny mentions Marie Isabelle:”The Duchess of Tallard is the most beautiful, brilliant and enjoyable lady of the King’s Court…Gossips say she is still courted because she has made the fortunes of everybody on whose belhaf she has intervened.”

On the other hand, one of the The King’s daughters, Madame Adelaide, detests Madame de Tallard:” On the day the education of the King’s daughters was considered finished, Madame de Tallard, taking advantage of her position of governess, ordered that all the objects which the Princesses had used during their “upbringing” be removed and given to her, including the most common snuffboxes which they would keep in their pokets. Madame Adelaide cannot stand Madame de Tallard. The Princess has a lively and pleasant imagination: she chose the occasion to invent a funny story on Madame de Tallard: “ All of a sudden, we saw the Duchess of Tallard eating many Italian sugared almonds…We asked her why she was doing that…She answered that she could not find any more boxes to put them in…””

In 1739, Marie Isabelle is asked to escort Princess Elizabeth, who is going to marry Prince Philip of Bourbon, heir to the throne of Spain, to the Spanish border. A French noble, d’Argenson, notices that Marie Isabelle is not held in high esteem by the princesses she in charge of. In May 1740, he writes:

“Princess Henriette, whom (her father) the King plans on having her marry the Duke of Chartres, is witty and kind-hearted. She realizes Madame de Tallard has a deceitful and play-acting nature; so she prefers to go back to Mommy Doudour (Marie-Isabelle’s mother), as she calls Madame de Ventadour. She loves very much the latter and is indifferent to the former” (D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,” volume III, p.61).

In October 1740, d’Argenson writes:”The Duchess of Tallard is strongly hated by all of the Princesses’ friends and by the Princesses themselves. Princess Elizabeth had somebody criticize her from Spain; she has not written her for quite some time, but she always writes to Madame de Ventadour (Marie Isabelle’s mother), whom Spain venerates as much as France. Henriette, who is now the elder of the King’s children in France, detests Madame de Tallard even more than Elizabeth,”this mystifying governess, who pretends to be the friend of Chauvelin (Custodian of the Seals), while she is constantly courting the Cardinal”. Marie Isabelle treats the poor Princesses like dirt; she has them wait for her, when it is time to go somewhere, so she can play another hand of “Piquet”, a French card game, or of “Cavagnole”, a lotto game”(D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,”volume III, p.197).

In October 1751, d’Argenson writes: “The waste of the finances at the King’s Court increases every day. The Residence of the King’s daughters has unbelievable expenses: Madame de Tallard throws presents to people’s faces, she is given everything she asks for, and she becomes richer with everything” (D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,” volume VII, p.9).

In December 1751, he adds:”Madame de Tallard is hated by Madame de Pompadour (King Louis XV of France’s mistress); she has very bad manners, she is a real Messalina (Promiscuous, ambitious and influential Roman Empress), haughty, commanding, making life very unpleasant for the “Dames of France” (“Daughters of the King of France”) as long as she was their governess; she is also mean and a malicious gossip…I have been told she will end up by being forced to resign” (D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,”volume VII, p.38-39).

In 1752, d’Argenson writes:”There is now some talk about appointing a “survivanciere” to help Madame de Tallard as governess of the “Children of France”; it is now fashionable to appoint “Survivancieres” to help the permanent “staff members”, which of course doubles the expenses and the government has to pay for them. The Princess of Marsan has refused to be appointed “Survivanciere” of Madame de Tallard; on the other hand, Madame de Montauban is moving heaven and earth to obtain it, so she can give it to her daughter, Madame de Brionne” (D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,”volume VII, p.304).

According to Madame Campan, it seems that the Duchess of Tallard wants to resign from her office and live privately, retired from the world, before dying. She tells the Queen of France Marie Leszczynska, that she wants to live in the mezzanine of her palace instead of in the “noble floor”.

She dies in Versailles (the King’s palace) during the night of January 4th 1754: “The Duchess of Tallard, governess of the Children of France, died last night, not greatly missed by the King, but admired by the scores of friends she has. Before dying, she has bravely gathered with her hands the most beautiful diamonds she had and given them to the Countess of Brienne and a few other friends. She has appointed the Prince of Rochefort as her sole legatee” (D’ARGENSON:”Journal and memoires,”volume VIII, p.202).

Her body is taken first to the Ventadour Palace and then to Paris (LUYNES, volume XIII, p.132).

Her will, dated 1753, is kept in the Archives of the Castle of Chantilly.

Her body was buried in Paris, on January 7, 1754, in the Chapel of Merci, burial site of the Rohan-Soubise Family.

The French Gazette states:
“The zeal with which the Duchess of Tallard carried out the important duties of Governess of the Children of France has won her the King’s trust and the esteem of all the Court.”

She had appointed Monsieur de Chauvelin, former Seals Custodian, as her executor.
She was replaced in her duties of Governess of the Children of France by her niece Marie Louise Genevieve de Rohan-Soubise (1720-1803), Countess of Marsan (5th generation of “Governess of the Children of France” from the same family).

Marie-Joseph dies a year and a half after his wife, on September 6, 1755.


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Louis-Charles d’Hostun (1716-1739), born on February 15, 1716, is the only child of Marie Joseph de la Baume d’Hostun, Duke of Tallart, and Marie Isabelle de Rohan. As most of his family, he becomes a military.

On July 7, 1732, when he is only 16, he is appointed Colonel in the regiment of his father, the “Tallard Regiment”. On December 21, 1732, he marries Marie-Victoire de Prie (1717-1738), who is only 15, while he is still only16, daughter of Marquis Louis de Prie, Knight of the Orders of the King, His Majesty’s Ambassador at the King of Sardinia. However, Marie-Victoire dies in August 1738, at 21 years old, without giving him any children.

Louis-Charles dies on September 19, 1739, at 23 years old, and with him ends the branch of the descendants of Guillaume I de Gadagne.


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