Historical Notes Covering Plate Ten: The Gallean de Gadagne (1534-2006)

This plate is taken mostly from La Saga Lyonnaise des Gadagne, by Edouard Lejeune, and Small history of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne by French General Charles Roure and from Roglo. It is 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 ten.

Ten miles from the city of Avignon, in Southern France, there used to be a little independent country, like nowadays the Principalities of Monaco and Lichtenstein, or the Granduchy of Luxembourg (the latter is however quite bigger), called Duchy of Gadagne. The rulers of this country, it is easy to guess, were the Gadagne, our ancestors. Apart from Lichtenstein, very few countries if any, are called by the name of their rulers. The Family name of the King of Belgium, for example, is Saxe-Cobourg, but the country is called Belgium not Saxe-Cobourg. The King of Spain is a Bourbon, but Spain is called Spain, the Duke of Parma was a Bourbon but his Duchy was called Parma, the family name of Queen Elizabeth used to be Sax-Coburg-Gotha, but her Kingdom is called United Kingdom, or Great Britain or England, and so forth. Instead, “our little country” had our name and, in spite of losing its independence in 1792, during the French Revolution, it is stilled called “Gadagne”. When I visited it, I really felt at home, in a country called by my mother’s last name, and owned and ruled by her ancestors.

“Gadagne” used to be called “Castrum Nevun” (Latin for New Castle, in French “Chateauneuf”) during the Roman Empire. Then in 470 a.d. the Western Roman Empire collapsed and the Arabs invaded Spain and Southern France, including Chateauneuf. In the 8th Century the famous French knight Guillaume, called the “Black-Hearted”, and who later was made a saint “Saint Guillaume”, freed Chateauneuf from the Arabs. Guillaume lived in it until he retired to the Abbey of Saint-Guillaume-in-the-Desert. He gave Chateauneuf to the Abbey, with the condition that Chateauneuf would give a cow to the Abbey every year, on the day of Saint Guillaume, which is May 28. The cow had to be light brown or mixed colors. From then on, Chateauneuf did not have to pay taxes to any King or Prince or other Government, but only a yearly cow to the Abbey, and so was independent from anybody else. This independence lasted over 1,000 years until the French Revolution.

Most of the information on “Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne” comes from the book “Petite histoire de Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne” (“Small history of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne”) by French General Charles Roure, native of Gadagne, with whom I corresponded. Eventually I had the pleasure of meeting him personally during my week-end stay in Gadagne. Some of his information comes from the Archives of the French Gadagne and their descendants, the Marquis de Galard, whom I know personally. I found information also in the Memoirs of Simone de Galard, descendant of the last Duke de Gadagne.

On January 19, 1598, Luisa de Gadagne, daughter of Thomas III de Gadagne, and sister of Balthazard, Claude and Guillaume de Gadagne, marries Georges de Gallean. The Galliani family (Galleans) settled in Nice in 1200. In 1352, they bought the dominion of Vedene. Louis III de Gallean bought Saint-Saturnin in 1535.

Georges’ grandfather, Louis de Gallean, was Lord of Issars, Vedene, and Saint Saturnin, Knight of the King’s Order, First Consul of Avignon in 1534 and 1545, Delegate to the Pope in 1534, Governor of the Apostolic Palace in 1534. As we remember, the City of Avignon and the nearby Region of the Comtat Venaissin belonged to the Pope until the French Revolution in 1789.

Georges de Gallean, Baron of Vedene, inherits the Gadagne surname from his wife and becomes Count of Gadagne. He has ten children from her, four daughters, of whom two get married and two become nuns, and six sons, of whom the eldest, Charles, will be Lord of Vedenes and Saint Saturnin and Eguilles. The Gallean-Gadagne keep the Gallean crest, a silver shield divided diagonally by a golden band, with a red rose on each side, and the mottoes: “L’obstacle augmente mon ardeur” (Obstacles increase my zeal) and “Toujours davantage” (Always more).


Charles-Felix (1618-1701) is the third son of Georges de Gallean and Louise de Gadagne. His oldest brother, Charles, dies young, in 1628, and I presume his second oldest brother, Louis, who lives until 1675, inherits his titles of Lord of Vedenes and Saint Saturnin and Eguilles. So Charles-Felix inherits the title of Count of Gadagne and chooses to be a military, like most of the Gadagne.

At 14 years old, Charles-Felix is already lieutenant in the Galeres regiment. He has enlisted under the name “Beauregard-Gadagne”. He is an officer, he wears the black three-cornered hat, the long coat reaching below his knees, covering his breeches, and red or white stockings and buckled shoes. A sword is dangling from his waist.

At 18, he participates in the attack of the Islands of Lerins, captured and fortified by the Spaniards. I will reproduce, as much as I can, the colorful literary style of Author General Charles Roure. As General Roure told me with pride, when I met him a few years ago in his house in Gadagne,” In 1,200 years of history, Gadagne has produced only two generals: Charles-Felix de Gadagne and me..!” Sometimes a retired general highlights different details than a historian…

General Roure relates a detail that does not concern directly Charles Felix but adds life to the story. “We love to read the features of fearlessness and bravery which characterize the officers of this campaign, he writes. Count of Harcourt, commander in chief of the expedition against the Island of Lerins, asks the colonel in charge of the regiment, if he thinks he will be able to get a foothold on the island with his men jumping down from the ships. “Do the sun rays land on the island?” answers the colonel. D’Harcourt is surprised. Why that question? Colonel Daguerre answers:”If the sun rays land on the island, so will my regiment!”

With the same ardor, Charles-Felix dives head first into the sea, swims with powerful strokes and is one of the first to enter the enemy fortress. The Spaniards attack him on every side. He is wounded six times by swords and spears but continues fighting and ends up by capturing the officer of a small group of enemies who are counterattacking.

In 1637, he is wounded again, by cutlass, while disembarking at Leucate. In 1638, he enters the French Marine Regiment. He participates in all the battles fought by the two great French generals, Conde’ and Turenne.

Lieutenant under General Rantzau, he is wounded twice by sword, twice by spear, and finally captured. Exchanged with another prisoner, Charles-Felix leads his soldiers in more battles. He fights heroically in every battle and is often wounded. At the siege of Aire, in 1641, he is hit by a gunshot in the shoulder and by a spear in his thigh.

He is promoted captain at twentyfive. In 1643, he fights in the famous battle of Rocroi, where the French defeat the Spaniards. He participates in the wars fought in Catalonia and in Spain. Once, a gunshot breaks his leg. As he cannot move anymore, an enemy attacks him and wounds him with his sword. Luckily a friend of his, Paul de Fortia, puts him on his shoulders and takes him to safety.

Charles-Felix becomes the assistant of the glorious Prince of Conde’, cousin of the King of France. He is given the command of six hundred soldiers and a few cannons. At Rethel, he attacks 1,200 enemies and forces them to surrender.

He is promoted lieutenant-colonel, colonel, and then general.

In his memoirs, while recalling the battles of Sully and Gien, in 1652, on the Loire River, Brienne states that the safeguard of King Louis XIV, of Cardinal Mazarin, and of their party, was entrusted to “the Regiment of the Marine, commanded by Gadagne, gentleman of noble family, well known for his courage and experience.”

That same year, in his Memoirs, the Duke of York recalls the courage of Charles-Felix. It was during the battle of Etampes, close to Rambouillet. The French Commander Turenne orders the attack.

“That night, with 1,000 sodiers, Monsieur de Gadagne attacks an advanced enemy fortification and conquers it…However the following day everybody thinks Gadagne is dead, because he is not found among his troops. In reality, he had been surrounded by the enemy cavalry and had only two or three soldiers with him. Helped by his men, he was finally able to escape the enemy and join his troops. He was not injured even though he had been hit by sword more than twenty times, and by spear. His heavy buffalo skin coat was all ripped and full of holes, but it protected him.”

We could continue to recount Gadagne’s battles and successes, during his long and brilliant military career, of which the French War Department gave a detailed statement to Monsieur Bremond. However we will return to Avignon, in 1655.

In 1655, Charles-Felix was resting in Avignon. “For several years”, the historian Charpenne notes, “Avignon had been in a state of turbulence and licentiousness, like the Italian Republics of the Middle Ages.” Avignon had 12,000 workers in the silk industry, whose owners were mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants. The Papal city of Avignon was competing with the nearby French city of Lyon for supremacy in the silk industry. To help the silk manufacturers of Lyon, the King of France put a huge tax on the silk products originating from Avignon. Many Avignon silk industries had to close and their unemployed workers roamed angrily in the streets. The local nobility, headed by the Marquis of Bertaut-Crillon, was jealous of the power of the Italian and Jewish immigrants, and sided with the unemployed rebellious silk workers. There was continuous fighting between the servants of the silk factories’ owners and the unemployed workers. The Governor of Avignon would hang a few of them, but violence continued in the streets. Reinforcements were sent from Isle and from Cavaillon and finally there were six thousand soldiers in the city.

At this point, the governor decided to give the command of the soldiers to Charles-Felix, experienced and well known general of the King of France. In a few days, with calm and without brutality, the Count de Gadagne is able to quell the emotions of the unemployed and diminish the haughtiness of the owners. He takes over the city and hands it pacified to the governor. The Pope takes notice of it and, later on, as we shall see, he will compensate Gadagne

Charles-Felix goes to war again. The King of France gives him rich annuities for his deeds, and Charles-Felix becomes very wealthy.

At Valenciennes, he is wounded again and captured with honor. Bussy-Rabutin, lover of our great-aunt Catherine de Bonne de la Baume d’Hostun, writes:”Gadagne accomplished a deed for which no compensation is too great…” The King gives him an allowance of 6,000 pounds for “his wise and cautious behavior.”

From a letter of General Turenne to the head of the Justice Department, we learn that one of his prisoners, Monsieur de Cugnac, offers to be exchanged with Gadagne and even goes so far as to pay his ramson.

Free, Charles-Felix returns to Southern France. There he marries Jeanne de Grave’, who brings him a dowry of 800,000 pounds, immense for that time. Monsieur Gimet calculates that it corresponds to 8,000,000 of Franks of 1935. She is the daughter of Jean de Grave’, Lord of Launay, in Brittany, President of the Tribunal of Accounts of that Region. The marriage is performed in the presence of the King of France, the Queen Mother, the Duke of Anjou, brother of the King, Cardinal Mazarin, head of ther French Government, and many Princes of the Kingdom. At that time, Charles-Felix is Counselor of the King, Lieutenant-General of the King’s armies, and Royal Governor of the Town and Castle of Pont-a’-Mousson.

Jeanne de Grave’ is very pretty. She will survive her husband by 18 years. She manages their fortune firmly and wisely. She is very charitable and always helps the poor and the destitute. She even has a home built for poor old people.

Charles-Felix is forced to leave his young wife and return to war. The Prince of Conde’, under whose command Charles-Felix had fought in the victory of Rocroi against Spain and in other battles, has now rebelled against the King of France and sides with the Spaniards. Faithful to the King, General Turenne attacks Conde’ at Dunkerque, in what will be known as the Battle of the Dunes. In the army of the King of France, usually the officer with the highest seniority obtains the command of the army for the battle. If the seniority is the same, you draw lots. However, on the eve of the battle of the Dunes, against Conde’, Turenne does not follow the tradition and chooses Gadagne, who has less seniority than many others. Historian Brienne notes:”Of all the lieutenant-generals, Gadagne was the one Turenne trusted the most.”

So Charles-Felix commands all the French infantry and wins the Battle of the Dunes, in 1658. He is nicknamed “The hero of the Battle of the Dunes.” The Battle of the Dunes is one of the important battles of European History. The English-Irish troops faithful to the exiled King of England Charles II Stuart fought in it siding with the Spaniards, while the English troops of Oliver Cromwell sided with the French. The King of France gives Gadagne another annuity of 6,000 pounds for his victory.

Generosity and friendship are two main traits of Charles-Felix. We can give an example of each.

General Crequi was the commander of the French cavalry in the Battle of the Dunes. When he hears
Charles-Felix acclaimed as the “hero” of the battle, he becomes extremely jealous. He starts criticizing Gadagne so much that a duel among the two becomes inevitable’

The two men face one another armed with a pistol each. Crequi shoots first and misses. Gadagne continues to advance calmly towards his rival but doesn’t shoot. At a certain moment he pretends a stranger has come into the scene, thus interrupting and ending the duel. A few months later, Crequi becomes Marshal of France and reconciles with Charles-Felix.

We have already quoted the Duke of York’s Memoirs. He was an old friend of Charles-Felix. York was upset when the English allied themselves with their old enemies, the French. So he joins the Spaniards and fights in their ranks in the Battle of the Dunes. During that same battle, as we know, the French fight side by side with their English allies, and defeat the Spanish army. At the end of the battle, Gadagne hears that the Duke of York has been captured by the English troops. Notwithstanding the fact that the English are his allies, Charles-Felix assembles two or three French squadrons commanded by his best friends and marches against the British to free the Duke, either peacefully or by force. Friendship for him is more important than anything else. Once he hears that York’s capture is a false rumor he rejoices greatly and leads his men back to the French encampment.

As the war goes on, Gadagne fights with distinction until the peace of the Pyrenees in 1659. He is then sent to Lorraine, until 1663. His wise conduct helps avoid the outbreak of another war.

He is appointed Governor of Berry, and of the Islands of Oleron and Re’.

A new phase of Charles-Felix’s career begins in 1664. The head of the French Department of the Navy, Colbert, convinces King Louis XIV to figh the Arab pirates who are ruining the trade in the Mediterranean. They decide to establish a commercial base on the Algerian Coast, at Djidjelli, in Kabylia, 170 miles East of Algiers, in North Africa.

Gadagne is appointed commander of all the French troops. It is a great honor but also a heavy responsibility. Unfortunately the Duke of Beaufort, cousin of the King and Admiral of the fleet, against whom Gadagne fought in the Battle of Faubourg St. Antoine, is appointed head of the whole expedition. During the entire expedition, Beaufort will always try and minimize the actions of his subordinates.

In the book “Histoire of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne”, we can read the letters the King wrote directly to Charles-Felix, side-stepping Beaufort. Charles-Felix writes the King his ideas on the expedition. However, the King uses Gadagne’s ideas to “divide and conquer” his generals, instead of for the common good. Because of Beaufort, the expedition was a disaster. This is how it went.

From the Archives of the French Navy, General Roure takes information not published by historians Gimet and Bremond, which we are happy to add here.

The expeditionary force includes the regiments of Picardie and Navarre, Royal guards and navy soldiers, for a total of 5,000 men. Gadagne is appointed commander of them all.

The navy, under the command of Beaufort is composed of:
-Fourteen warships under the famous Knight Paul,
-Eight galleys of Monsieur de Ternes and seven galleys of the Knights of Malta, under the orders of de Galdianes.

On July 22, 1664, Gadagne lands his 5,000 troops and attacks the enemy cavalry who is proudly parading on the African coast, while the fleet of 29 ships is placed in a half circle around the coast. Between four and five hundred Kabyles (Algerian warriors) are killed and the enemy city is conquered. However the Kabyles remain on the hills surrounding the city, and often launch brief attacks on the French troops entrenched around it.

To the losses caused by the enemy guerrilla-warfare, we must add the ones provoked by diseases and illnesses. By September 10th, a third of the French soldiers have died, while the Kabyles are receiving continuous reinforcements.

At the beginning of October, 12,000 Kabyles attack the French army. Gadagne manages to drive them back and kills 700 of them.

At the end of October however, some Arab galleys from Bizerte bring cannons to the Kabyles. The Kabyles place their artillery on top of the Djebel Ayouf, the highest hill overlooking the French camp and start bombarding Gadagne’s army. Instead of stopping the Arab ships with his powerful fleet, before they have time to unload the cannons, Beaufort decides to chase them afterwards, leaving Charles-Felix and his outnumbered army stranded on the Algerian coast, under the enemy fire.

The morale of the French soldiers is very low, besieged by a much larger contingent of enemies, well positioned on top of the surrounding hills and bombarding them relentlessly. Beaufort decides that the situation is hopeless and returns to France with all his fleet on October 27, leaving Gadagne and his men alone and unprotected in Africa. Beaufort wants to make sure he can give the King his version of the story before Gadagne returns.

Angry and sad, Charles-Felix is forced to sign the order of re-embarkment of his troops. However, because Beaufort has disappeared with his whole fleet, he does not have enough boats left to carry all of his men. So he has to leave 150 of his men, mostly the sick ones, and 30 cannons in Africa, in the hands of the Kabyles.
When he arrives in France, he is forced to hide his indignation and sign the minutes of the War Council of France, who has decided the evacuation of Djidjelli.

Beaufort has played his cards well. The King wants to deal carefully with Beaufort because after all he is his cousin and has many powerful relatives and friends at Court. So he writes him a letter full of praise. According to Beaufort, Gadagne is to blame for the failure of the expedition. Someone even tries to poison Charles-Felix, to make sure he does not defend himself.

However, many generals, historians and courtiers defend Charles-Felix and say that he could not have done otherwise. When the Head of the Department of the Navy, Colbert, whose idea it was to organize the expedition of Djidjelli, asks Major de Castelan to write an exact report on the expedition, the Major gives very positive minutes on the behavior and the actions of Gadagne.

On November 17, 1664, Madame de Sevigne’ writes to Monsieur de Pomponne:” The people who planned the expedition are now blaming the faithful executors of it: they want to take Gadagne to trial, for not having well defended himself. Some people hold it against him; however, everybody else thinks he could not have acted differently!”

The King ordered to open an investigation on the failure of the Djidjelli expedition. The conclusion was that the disaster was due to the “plague”.

In his Memoirs, Bussy-Rabutin writes: “… I will be satisfied with saying that if the expedition had followed Gadagne’s initial plan, it would have been as useful and glorious for the King, as it was instead detrimental, as it followed other people’s advice.”

The King gets upset with all the fuss and refuses to appoint Gadagne Marshal of France, the highest honor in the military career.

The Djidjelli expedition was however, a learning experience for the French Government. Almost two centuries later, in 1830, when the King of France Charles X prepared an expedition to land a French army in Sidi-Ferruch, North Africa, he made General de Bourmont, head of the armed forces, commander in chief of the expedition, instead of the Admiral of the fleet Duperre’.

In 1667, Charles-Felix is commander of a Regiment of the Navy again. He participates in the conquest of the Region of Franche-Comte’. On February 14, 1668, he captures Dole, of which he is appointed Governor. He is wounded again during the battle..

In 1668, Charles-Felix buys the independent state of Chateauneuf, called Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic, from earlier rulers, from its actual ruler Baron Francois II de Simiane. Francois II has a large family and the taxes paid by his subjects are not enough to cover his expenses.

The price of the Barony of Chateauneuf is 68,000 pounds and the taxes for the acquisition due to the Apostolic Chamber of the Comtat Venaissin (region owned by the Pope in Southern France, where the country of Chateauneuf is located) are 9,000 pounds.

As a mark of gratitude for Charles Felix’s positive dealing with the disorders in Avignon in 1655, Pope Clement IX raises the Barony of Chateauneuf to a Duchy and renames it “Duchy of Gadagne”. This is the name it still has nowadays. The town of Chateauneuf itself, capital of the Duchy (there are three other little towns in that small country) is renamed Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne but often called simply “Gadagne”. In the most recent years, now that Gadagne is not an independent country anymore, ruled by the Gadagne, but is part of the French Republic, they try to restore the Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne name, but, and I saw it personally when I went there in 2004, it is witten Chateauneuf de GADAGNE, with “Gadagne” in capital letters, and the surrounding region is still called only “Duchy of Gadagne”.

The Pope’s letter of investiture, in Latin, is full of praise for the new Duke of Gadagne.

Charles-Felix has now become the ruler of an independent country. Can he still enlist and fight in the army of the King of France? Yes he can. In 1537 and 1538, King Francois I of France, at that time allied with the Pope against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, peacefully entered the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon with his troops and gave its inhabitants the privilege of serving in the Army of the Kings of France, if they so desired, with the same status as the French citizens. That is how Crillon, a citizen of the Duchy of Gadagne, became Marshal of France, and the 1st Duke of Gadagne himself, Charles-Felix, fought forty years in the Army of the King of France.

In France they do not seem to care that the Pope made Charles-Felix “Duke” and they continue to call him “Count”. In 1674, when the Duke of Gadagne is Governor of Aunis, a French Region, Colbert writes to him:”Dear Count…”

In 1674, the Duke is fighting again, next to his beloved leader and friend, Turenne, whom he serves faithfully. However, later that same year, tired of waiting for a promotion to Marshal of France, which would be the crowning achievement of his military career, but never seems to come, Charles-Felix refuses to serve another time under Turenne. He excuses himself by saying he does not have enough money to pay for the expenses of going to war. Some critics say that Gadagne’s “poverty” is due to his wife’s miserliness. Turenne offers to pay for all of the Duke’s expenses. Gadagne continues to refuse. The following year, on July 27, 1675, Turenne is killed in the battle of Salzbach, and Charles-Felix will always regret not to have been at his side in that tragic moment.

In 1675, eight generals are made Marshals of France. On August 2, 1675, Madame de Sevigne’ writes her daughter:”Yesterday, talking about the eight new French Marshals, the King was saying: if Gadagne had been patient, he would have been one of them; but he lost patience and retired: too bad for him.”

The inhabitants of the Duchy of Gadagne are called “Castelnovin” from “Castelnovum”, Latin for Chateauneuf, or “Gadagnen” from “Gadagne”. Historian Brienne comments with amusement: “Gadagne is “Castelnovin”; he went to grow cabbage in his nice house of the Comtat Venaissin”.

However Charles-Felix is only fifty-seven years old. He misses the military life. He goes to Paris and is received by the King. “I am not sick and I am not an old horse, he says, I can still serve.” The King is kind to him and hugs him, but does not offer him any command position.

So the Duke resigns himself and goes back to Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. He has to wait fourteen years before another military command is offered to him.

In 1689, Doge Morosini, leader of Venice, is ill and the Republic of Venice is fighting against the Turks. Through his ambassador in Paris, the Doge asks the King of France for permission to hire Gadagne, who is now 71 years old. It seems that the Doge has heard of the unfortunate expedition in Kabylia, and approved of Charles Felix’s behavior. Plus, Charles-Felix fame of fabulous military commander is known all over Europe. The King gives his authorization and the Duke is appointed Commander in Chief of all the armies of the Republic of Venice by official contract. He is paid 18,000 ducats per year, corresponding to 90,000 Franks of1935. He is allowed to pick his own generals.

Gadagne defeats the Turks in Malvoisie and in many other battles, in Greece and in Albania.

In 1692, the contract with the Republic of Venice is over. Charles-Felix is 74. The Doge thanks him and Gadagne returns to Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. He dies there on January 8, 1701, at 83.
His widow has a beautiful tomb built for him in the parish church. A sculpture on the tomb represents Charles-Felix lying down in military outfit, with the Duchess praying at his feet. In the middle of the 19th century this monument was still in the chapel of Saint Philomena. The parish priest exchanged the monument for two columns of black marble probably to make room. The columns were still decorating the altar of Saint Philomena in 1990. Historians Gimet and Bremond looked in vain for the sculpture. General Roure still hopes to find the tomb of Charles-Felix, which belongs to the history of the Duchy of Gadagne, of which Charles-Felix is the founder.

From his campaign against the Turks, Charles-Felix brings back a young Turkish orphan. When he is fourteen, the orphan is baptized by Father du Terrail, Chaplain of the Duchy. His god-parents are Charles-Felix and Jeanne, the Duke’s wife, so he is named Charles-Felix Jean (which is “John” in French). As a last name, they name him Bardonjoe, which is the name of the Turkish town where he was found. However nothing else is recorded of him or his life in the city archives of Chateauneuf-de- Gadagne.


Note: the “Gadagne” are the French branch of the “Guadagni”, the” Gadagnans” are the inhabitants of the Duchy of Gadagne, like the Americans are the inhabitants of America. That is how the inhabitants of the Duchy of Gadagne are still called in France, like the Parisians are the inhabitants of Paris, etc.

In 1668, Charles-Felix de Gallean de Gadagne buys the independent country of Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic from its owner and ruler Francois II de Simiane. On November 30, 1669, Pope Clement IX raises the Barony of Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic to a Duchy renaming it Duchy of Gadagne, as a thanksgiving to Charles-Felix for having restored peace and order in the Papal City of Avignon in 1655. For over a century, until the French Revolution in 1789, the Gadagne are rulers and owners of the Duchy.

As rulers they are “monarchs” like the Kings of England, France, Spain, etc. Except that their country is too small to be a Kingdom and so it is a Duchy, and thus they are not the Kings of Gadagne but the Dukes of Gadagne. However, the situation is the same: they are not only the owners of the land, hiring and paying workforce, they are also the supreme political authority and they do not have a “workforce” but “subjects” to govern. If the “subjects” revolt they cannot “fire them”. They either change the laws the “citizens” do not like or put the “rebels” in jail.

Now, how did such a “minuscule” country remain independent for so many centuries, surrounded as it was by the larger and politically strong Papal States and the Kingdom of France? And what kind of country was it that the Gadagne became the rulers of?
We will go back several centuries and summarize the history of “Gadagne”, a country which bears our family name even nowadays that it belongs to France, and whose citizens are still called the “Gadagnans”.

As we remember, Gadagne, which was called “Chateauneuf”, was part of the Roman Empire. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, it was conquered by the Arabs, then freed by Knight Guillaume “the Black-Hearted” .Guillaume gave it to the “Abbey of Saint Guillaume in the desert”. The lord of Chateauneuf had to give a cow to the Abbey every year on the day of Saint Guillaume, May 28. The town had no other obligations towards any other town, King or ruler and thus kept its independence throughout the centuries.

The town of Chateauneuf is built on a hill which has the shape of a round pyramid. In the year 1150, a “new” castle is built on top of the hill, probably replacing an old one, and it gives its name to the town: “Chateauneuf”, which means “New Castle” in French.

In 987, a judge in the neighboring city of Avignon, named Adalelme, has 3 sons. He gives Chateauneuf and all its surrounding territory to his second son, Amic. Amic has a son, called Pierre Amic who dies in 1113. Pierre Amic has a son, Giraud Amic, who dies on the same year, leaving a daughter, Constance. Giraud Amic had such renown of goodness and wisdom, that Constance and her husband name their son Giraud Amic II. In 1150, Giraud Amic II builds the new castle “Chateauneuf” and becomes the first lord of the town, called Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic. A cousin of his, Beranger, builds a new castle close to Avignon, called “Chateauneuf-du-Pape (“New castle of the Pope“ because Avignon belongs to the Popes).

In 1324, the Pope extends his authority over the privileges of the Abbey of “Saint Guillaume in the desert”. Rostaing-Amic pays homage to the Pope but specifies that he only accepts the Pope’s “spiritual and religious” authority, politically he remains only under the authority of the Abbey. Everytime there is an assembly of the Papal States, Chateauneuf refuses to participate, declaring its independence from the Papal authority.

The Giraud-Amics start having financial problems in the 14th century. So, on July 24, 1371, Giraud VI sells his fiefdom to Guiran VII de Simiane. The new name of the country should now be “Chateauneuf-de-Simiane”. However, the inhabitants do not want to be treated like merchandise, bought and sold. So they wait eight years to take the oath in front of their new ruler, until he accepts to write that he “inherits” the fiefdom and does not “buy” it and keeps the name “Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic”. For another 298 years this will be the name of the country until it becomes “Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne”.

We will now analyze the administration of Chateauneuf, which the Gadagne inherit, when they buy the country. Chateauneuf has a Parliament. The members are not elected. It is composed of all the heads of the families of the fiefdom. Are excluded the men younger than twenty-five, those who pay no taxes, the transients who do not live permanently in the country and anybody who has a lawsuit against it.

The parliamentarians vote by raising their hand. In case the law to be voted on is open to different interpretations, the voters must express their opinion in a “loud and understandable voice”.

The bailiff (representative of the Duke) convenes the assembly of the Parliament more or less twelve times a year by blowing the horn or ringing the bells. The number of members attending varies from 26 to 126. As there is no building in the town large enough to gather all the parliamentarians, the parliament assembles in the square on top of the hill, between the church and the castle of the Duke.

Every year the parliament elects two consuls, who have the executive power. It is like the Prime Minister in England, except that being two diminishes the danger of the prime minister becoming a little dictator. They cannot be elected two years in a row. Sometimes so many people present themselves to be elected consuls that eight votes are enough to be elected. The Duke has no power over it except checking the regularity of the election. The consuls have a special pew in the church and are exempt from having to to pay personal tax.

At the same time they vote to choose the consuls, the parlamentarians also vote to choose the “captain”. He commands the town militia and intervenes every time the “authority” is needed.

The “bailiff” is an employee of the Duke. He dispenses justice in the name of the Duke. He presides over the Parliament. He receives the oath of office of the Consuls. Often the bailiff has a Law doctorate from the University of Avignon. He remains in his post for 20 or 30 years. He represents the Duke and enforces his rights.

Private property starts in Chateauneuf in the early Middle-Ages. When somebody builds a house on the slopes of Chateauneuf it becomes “his” house. The same if he cultivates a piece of land in the neighborhood of the town it becomes “his” field. When the town starts being ruled by a “Lord”, first the Giraud-Amic, then the Simiane, finally the Gadagne, the Lord becomes the owner of the community properties, like the forest, the marshes, the uncultivated land. Mostly he has a moral “right” on everything and everybody, but the individual properties remain. They are subject however to the taxes due to the Lord on them.

The Duke defines the layout of the country road which leads to his properties, consequently also those leading to his subjects’ properties. He has the power to change its location or its trace. He has the right to have armed forces at his service. He has the right to impose mandatory unpaid chores on his subjects, like putting a stone consolidation on his dirt roads, dig ditches and move the dug dirt to his roads, pay a special tax to retribute the sentries guarding the doors of the walled town of Chateauneuf or to pay for the strengthening or higher raising of the walls themselves or building towers to better protect the town.

The citizens of Chateauneuf de Gadagne are mostly farmers. They live in very small houses piled up one against the other, around narrow winding streets, inside the walls of Chateauneuf de Gadagne. The houses have very few rooms. Many family members sleep in the same bed, on a hay mattress. Next to the house there is a small barn for chicken, sheep, a pig if you are wealthy, and a donkey.

Two or three public fountains in the town provide water for its inhabitants.

The cultivated fields are outside the town. Wheat is the main product. It is taken to the mill of the Duke, who keeps 1/20 of the flour for his own personal use. You cook the flour in the oven of the Duke, who keeps one loaf of bread every sixteen. Once a year every family must give a chicken to the Duke, who thus has a full henhouse.

Every time a cow is butchered, the Duke gets to eat its tongue. Nobody else in the whole country is allowed to eat the tongues of the cows, except the Duke and his family. Until the 19th century only three cows are killed every year in the Duchy, one for Christmas, one for Easter, and one for Carnival (the week before Ash Wednesday). The Gadagnans resent this special privilege of the Dukes to eat the cow’s tongue, so in 1789, just before the French Revolution, they list it as a special complaint.

The Gadagnans are not allowed to raise pidgeons, only the Duke can.

As all the forests of the Duchy belong to the Duke. Only the Gadagne, their family and guests are allowed to go hunting and shooting.

From the early Middle-Ages, the Society of Fishermen of the neighboring town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has the exclusive right to fish on the Sorgue River, so the Gadagnans are not allowed to do any fishing in the only river flowing through Gadagne. However they can fish whatever they find in the narrow streams watering the cultivated fields, and also catch crawfish.

The production of wine is very prosperous in the Duchy. The first wine of the Duchy is officially recognized on September 12, 1216. Every family produces their own wine, both for its own consumption and to sell it. Only the Duke, however, can sell wine between June 29 and August 30th. So he has the time to empty his cellars without competition from the other wine-growers of the country, and have them ready to put in the new wine.

The wine of the Duchy is renowned to be very good, as the Legate of the Pope, the vice-legate, and the General of the Pope’s army in Avignon, come and buy their wine from private wine-growers of the Duchy of Gadagne, rather than from their own wine-growers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

On October 13, 1737, the Parliament of Gadagne forbids to introduce foreign wines in the Duchy because:
” The wines collected in the land of the Duchy of Gadagne have a great reputation and are considered the best in the State (Papal States in Southern France), and buyers from Paris, Lyon and other foreigners (from France and other European countries) come every year to buy the wine named “de Gadagne” and pay a very good price for it. It is important for the winemakers of the Duchy to keep their good credit with foreign buyers and the good reputation of the wine. For this reason we should avoid the entrance of foreign wine in Gadagne, so that our citizens who import it in the Duchy do not try and sell it as Gadagne wine to foreign buyers. This would create a very bad prejudice for the reputation of our wines for us and for the foreigners who come and buy it and would not come back any more because of this “fraud” (H.G.B. page 27).

Later on, in 1754, the Parliament decides to forbid the mixing of local mountain wines with wines from the lowlands, so as to create and preserve different selected qualities of Gadagne wines.

Let us return to our typical family of the Duchy of Gadagne. They live on bread, home grown vegetables, wine, maybe some bits of pork, milk and cheese from goats and sheep, eggs and chicken. Salt is expensive in the Duchy. After having paid the taxes to the Duke, there are the taxes to the Church.

The church of Chateauneuf is located on top of the hill of the town, next to the Castle of the Dukes. It was built in the 13th Century in Romanesque style. It has a pastor and two vicar priests plus a clerk. It depends from the Theological College of the city of Montpellier.

The inhabitants of the Duchy must pay 1/10 of the value of their crops, either in goods or in money to the priests every year. The church also owns farmland, which is rented to local peasants in exchange of their crops.

There are other taxes payable to the Dukes. If there is an auction sale, the buyer must pay 25% of the value of his acquisition to the Duke. If he enlarges his garden or his field he must put the seal of the Duke on the legal papers concerning it and pay a gradual tax on it.

The citizens of Gadagne must pay property taxes to the Dukes every year. Only the nobles are exempt from these taxes. Each family must also pay a tax for each member living in the house. Widows and minor children pay only half of it.

A day every year the citizens must work for the Duke for free. Sometimes, if needed, they must provide a cart and an animal to pull it at their own expense.

Sometimes the Parliament requests mandatory unpaid work for public works of general interest. However the citizens can pay themselves out of it and many do.

In 1668, Charles-Felix buys the “Barony of Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic”, which the Pope raises to a Duchy with the new name of “Duchy of Gadagne” the following year. The French Branch of our family will rule over it for 121 years, until they lose it in 1792 during the French Revolution.

The last Duke of Gadagne, Louis-Charles-Henri, 5th Duke of Gadagne, dies, at 87 years old, in 1925, in the Gadagne Castle of Montellier, a few miles from Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. He has only one daughter, Mathilde de Gadagne (1873-1952). To reunite the Florentine and the French branches of the Family, our great-grandfather, Guadagno Guadagni, wanted his oldest son, Guitto Guadagni (1861-1941), to marry Mathilde de Gadagne. However Guitto married Dorothy Schlessinger, very tall, beautiful and wealthy, and had four sons with her, all very tall and handsome, Guadagno, Migliore, Vieri and Donato. Mathilde instead married Marquis Rene’ de Portes (1861-1940), funny coincidence, the exact age of Guitto’s. Mathilde and Rene’ have three children, Francoise (1894-1948), Anne (1895-2001) and Henri.

Francoise and Anne de Portes marry two brothers, Charles de Galard Magnas and Gerard de Galard de l’Isle. Gerard and Anne have four children, one of whom, Jean de Galard de l’Isle (John in English), has a son, called Guy, born in 1959, who came and see us Carloni de Querqui, at our house in Denver, and spent a week-end with us. My mother, Isabella Guadagni, was there at that time also. So the French branch of the Guadagni, who continues with the de Galard, after the death of the 5th and last Duke of Gadagne in 1925, and the Florentine branch of the Guadagni, my mother Isabella and us (Guadagni offshoots), met and reconnected the family ties. The de Galards still live in the Gadagne Castle of Montellier, near the Duchy of Gadagne (still called Duchy of Gadagne even if it is not an independent state any more). Guy showed us pictures of the castle of Montellier, which is beautiful. I am invited to all of the de Galard family weddings and I am sure that they would be very happy to meet other members of the Guadagni Family. They all speak and write perfect English.

By the way my grandfather Bernardo Guadagni, brother of Guitto and of Luigi (father of Tony Gaines), married a French young girl, Madeleine Querqui, who lived in the Castle of Le Puybelliard , in Vendee’ (Western France). He had three daughters with her, Tecla Guadagni Bartolini Baldelli, Beatrice Guadagni Rosselli Del Turco and Isabella Guadagni Carloni. They used to spend most of their summers in France, at Le Puybelliard. When Bernardo died, in 1940, his widow Madeleine sold the castle of Le Puybelliard, which had been in the Querqui family for many centuries, but kept three farms of it, one for Isabella, one for Tecla and one for Beatrice.
Tecla and Beatrice sold their French farms but my mother kept hers longer. I added the Querqui surname to mine, and continue my French grandmother’s family.

So in a way, Bernardo did what great-grandfather Guadagno wanted Guitto to do (even though Grandmother Madeleine Querqui was not a cousin of ours, through his marriage, Bernardo reconnected the Florentine Guadagni with France). The Querqui have many cousins in Vendee’, all “Huguenots” (French Protestants) and all living in castles. When my sister Eleonora did her last year of High-School in a Catholic French boarding school in Vendee’, every week-end some French relatives would invite her to one of their castles. When I lost my arm in an accident near Florence, Italy, at 23 years old, a French cousin of ours, Anne Routchenko Babut, invited me to spend two weeks in her castle of Mouchamps, in Vendee’, to relax and regain strength. On Sundays I would go to the little Catholic village church, where all the Catholic peasants of Mouchamps would go, while the Babut went to the Huguenot Church. The peasants would look at me and whisper in French, not knowing that French is my mother language, together with Italian, “He is Italian…and lives in the Castle..!”

Let us return to Charles Felix and his descendants and let us explore together the 121 years of Gadagne “reign” over the proud and independent little country called after them“Duchy of Gadagne”.

A member of the de Galard Family gave General Roure a copy of the contract of the marriage between Charles-Felix de Gadagne and Jeanne de Grave’ in 1656, which we will transcribe.

Were present “Sir Charles-Felix de Gallean, count of Gadagne, Councilor of the King in his councils, Lieutenant-General in his armies, and Governor of the City and Castle of Pont-a’-Mousson for his Majesty, living in Paris, Traversiere Street, Parish of Saint-Roch.

And Miss Jeanne Grave’, daughter of Jean Grave’, living: Lord of Launay, Councilor of the King in his councils, President of the General Accounting Office of Bretagne, and of Bernardine de Ceray, his wife, deceased, living (Miss Jeanne Grave’) in the City of Paris, in Neuve-Saint-Honore’ Street, in the house of the Assumption Nuns…”

The marriage contract is signed:
“In the presence and wih the approval of the King, our Sovereign and Lord, of the Queen Mother, of the King’s brother, Duke of Anjou, of Monsignior Cardinal Mazarin (Prime Minister of France) and of a large number of Princes of the Kingdom: Madame de Lorraine, the Duke of Vendome, the Duke of Penthievre,…the Archbishop of Arles: my Lord Francois Adhemar de Montelz de Grignan, etc.”

The conditions concerning the dowry of the future wife follow.

. General Roure writes that this marriage contract is interesting insofar as the splendor and pomp of the marriage ceremony is in such a sharp contrast with the mediocrity of the little town which is going to become the “habitual residence of the Count of Gadagne” and where he is going to leave his young wife so often alone [ROURE C.,”Above-mentioned work”p.88].

“We cannot fail to compare the magnificent and dazzling costumes of the nobility at the Court of King Louis XIV, nicknamed “the King Sun”, their wigs, their feathered hats, their kneebands, their flat shoes with red heels, and silver buckles, with the dull and coarse outfits of the members of the Gadagne Parliament, even when they are Consuls”, continues General Roure.

The document of the Pope founding the Duchy of Gadagne is signed in 1669. However, the bailif of the Duke convokes the Parliament of Chateauneuf only on January 6, 1670, in the name of “Charles-Felix de Gallean, Count of Gadagne, Knight and Army General, Duke of Chateauneuf and other towns”. The Duchy of Gadagne includes four towns: the most important and capital of the Duchy is Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, the “other towns” are Jonqueirete, Tailladas and Long Champs, situated near Chateauneuf.

Starting on January 6, 1671, the Duchy is called “Gadagne” and the town “Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne”.

The new lord makes a triumphant entry in his Duchy in September 1669. The Consuls decide to buy thirty pounds of gunpowder and to rent muskets to greet Monsieur de Gadagne. They also offer him a gift of twenty five gold “Louis” (Louis is a gold coin used in France as money, during the reigns of Louis XIII to Louis XVIII), of the total value of 12,500 actual Franks, which for the little Duchy of Gadagne is a large sum of money.. They have to borrow money at 5% and 6% interest to raise the gold “Louis” for Charles-Felix.

In France, before the French Revolution, nobles did not have to work or pay taxes. However, if they wanted to fight for the King of France against foreign enemies, they often had to raise their own army or contribute to the common expenses of the King’s Army, mostly if they were high in command. So, Charles-Felix needs money to continue to fight for the King as he has done for several decades. He tries to revive old Middle-Ages taxes in “his country”, which had become obsolete and fallen into disuse under the Simiane rulers.

Two great trials are going to oppose the Parliament of the Duchy of Gadagne to their new sovereign, Charles-Felix. In my opinion, it is fascinating that the Duchy of Gadagne was a constitutional monarchy in 1669 and probably many centuries before. The only other constitutional monarchy in Europe, to my knowledge, was England. All the other European countries had to wait some time until the 19th century, and after many revolutions, to obtain the same level of democracy. Our country (I call it “our country” because after all it is named after us and we ruled it for 121 years) was politically several centuries ahead of the rest of Europe.

In Italy, there is still an independent country, called”The Republic of San Marino”, which is smaller than Gadagne. It is only one small town, as far as I know, located on a small mountain. I drove by it a few years ago, but did not enter it. San Marino probably started to be independent soon after the fall of the Roman Empire, like Chateauneuf, and as the latter, they have a government made of two consuls (executive power) and a Senate (legislative power). Both little countries had a government similar to the one of the Ancient Republic of Rome, before it became an Empire under Caesar Augustus. The only difference between the two is that San Marino has never been under a “lord” but always remained a republic. While Gadagne is now part of France, San Marino is still independent. It is not far from Bologna.

In the “absolute” monarchies of the rest of Europe, a sovereign could pass any law he wanted without asking anybody’s permission. If we remember, a few years earlier, in 1651, the prime minister of the King of France raised the taxes considerably to pay for war expenses. The only way to oppose him was to rebel against the King of France and attack his army to try and defeat him and thus oust his prime minister. That is what many French nobles did in a rebellion called the “Fronde of the Princes”. Claude de Gadagne’s son in law, Guillaume de la Queuille joined the Fronde and was killed in battle leaving his young wife widow with four small children.

In the Duchy of Gadagne instead, Charles-Felix cannot revive any obsolete taxes without the consent of the Parliament. In spite of “dull and coarse outfits”, as General Roure describes them, the parliamentarians of the minuscule country are ready to stand for their democratic principles against their new ruler, a legendary commander of armies all over Europe.

The duke wants to revive an old law that requires all the citizens of the Duchy to pay 5% of the value of their harvests to the ruler of the country. The “forains”, people who own properties and goods in the Duchy but do not live in it, and are often richer than the “Gadagnans” themselves and have good relations with the Papal Authorities of the Papal States surrounding the Duchy, support the Parliament of the Duchy. The Simiane had stopped collecting that tax many years before.

Charles-Felix on one side and the Parlamentarians on the other consult lawyers about it. However the lawyers are going to add another lawsuit to the one started by Charles-Felix against his own parliament, this time against the Duke. It concerns the “taille”, a tax owed by everybody on all the goods they own. The “land register” must contain everybody’s properties, including the sovereign’s, so that the taxes are justly paid. However, the Duke’s properties are “not listed” in the land register of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne.

For the first time, an internal opposition starts in the Parliament. Some consuls (I presume some “former consuls”, because there could be only two at a time) tell the bailif, who represents the Duke that they do not want to plead against Charles-Felix, because neither the Simianes nor the Giraud-Amics have ever paid taxes on their personal properties.

Several sessions of the Parliament end up in uproar and confusion, to the point that the bailiff threatens the parliamentarians with a fine of fifty crowns if they do not stop yelling.

In the minutes of a session it is written that: “Choked with rage, Martin Villon gripes that Claude Sanferan threatens him out loud to beat him up severely as soon as they leave the Parliament…”

No definite majority vote is obtained on either side. In the meantime, the Parliament continues to maintain they do not have to pay the 5% tax. Eighteen years later, the problem is still not solved.

Charles-Felix avenges himself by decreeing annoyances versus his subjects. These annoyances are listed in an official report of the assembly of the “forains” (property owners not resident in the Duchy). They communicate it to the Parliament of Gadagne on August 3, 1687.

Charles-Felix has his men plant trees in the middle of the roads of the Duchy. This hinders the circulation of carts and other animal pulled vehicles, forcing the farmers to carry everything by hand and to go long distance on foot. He also has the hedges bordering the roads destroyed. Thus the animals grazing in the land of a farm on one side of the road are now free to cross the road and invade the pastures of another farmer, on the other side of the road. Or they can simply stand in the middle of the road, blocking the way. His subjects cannot protest because all the public roads of the Duchy and the bordering hedges belong to the Duke.

Charles-Felix has the right to establish the mandatory capacity of the grapesbaskets in the Duchy and change it when he wants, again creating problems for the wine producing farmers. He seizes all the private guns of the Gadagnans and forbids hunting. He forbids his subjects to take “sand” from the roads to build or enlarge their own houses.

He forbids the shepherds to take their flocks pasture in the stubble-fields, even if the field belongs to the sheep-owner, etc

Several consuls approve the trial project against Charles-Felix prepared by the “forains”. However Martin Villon and his friends oppose it because they fear the expenses which the Parliament will have to pay for the trial. The community already has to borrow money just to pay the consulted lawyers.

On August 25, 1693, the Tribunal of Rome (Capital of the Papal States, in which Gadagne is located) recognizes the right of the citizens of the Duchy not to pay the 5% tax on their harvests, because it is obsolete.
So Charles-Felix loses his first lawsuit.

In the second lawsuit, related to the “taille” (tax on everybody’s private-properties), the lawyers want to consult the land register of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, to see if the Dukes are paying their due. However, the Duchess keeps the land register in her castle and does not allow anybody to read it. So the lawyers are not able to calculate the taxes which Charles-Felix and Jeanne should pay. In 1695 the Parliament assembles and votes their right to keep the land register in the City Archives. So the Dukes cannot keep it in their castle any more but only go and consult it in the City Archives Room.

Charles-Felix and Jeanne are both devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They have the Saint Catherine chapel, North-East side of Gadagne’s church, located next to the castle, rebuilt and renamed “Chapel of Our Lady of Good Relief”. Their tombs are put there.

In 1496, the actual rulers Etienne de Simiane, and on January 29, 1515, Melchior de Simiane had made donations to the Chapel, with corresponding Masses to be celebrated for them. On May 28, 1677, the Duke and the Duchess of Gadagne make a new donation to the priest of the church: the income generated by two cultivated lands of Saint-Saturnin. The sale of these two lands, with exemption of the sales tax granted by the Duke, grants the priest a permanent income. In exchange for this income, the priest must celebrate Mass every day of the week, to the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Relief.

Charles-Felix dies in 1701. In 1713 his widow, the Duchess of Gadagne, increases the incomes of the “Chapel of Our Lady of Good Relief” She gives the priests a donation of 400 pounds, in King’s money (not in the Pope’s money. As the Duchy of Gadagne is independent and does not have its own currency, I presume they can use either of the currencies of the two neighboring important countries, the Pope’s or the King of France’s), and the permanent income generated by it. In exchange, the Duchess lists very precise duties of the priests:

Recite five mysteries of the holy Rosary, preceded by the explanation of each mystery;
They must be recited immediately after the Sunday High Mass, with the litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the psalm “De Profundis” recited at the end of the Rosary;
These prayers will be recited “forever”: on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, in the Chapel of the Holy Rosary of the Church (main altar).

In 1750, the third Duke of Gadagne, Joseph-Louis-Marie de Gallean, realizes that the above-mentioned incomes are not producing much money any more, so he increases the funds of the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Relief. He sells a field, in the area of Magues, to Michel Herbert. Michel promises to give a yearly income of 12 pounds to the church “forever”.

General Roure states that many important events happen in the life of “our community” between the foundation of the Duchy of Gadagne and the death of Charles-Felix.

Sometimes there are scarcities of food or agricultural disasters. When the vice-legate of the Pope, who takes care of the administration of the Comtat Venaissin, orders the inventory of the amount of grain kept in the County, so it can be fairly allocated among the needy, the Parliament of the Duchy asks its first Consul, Sandera, to “remind his Excellency the Vice-Legate that Gadagne is not part of the Comtat Venaissin, is not associated with the meetings of the Comtat, and has documents to prove it”.

The relations of the Parliament with the Duchess of Gadagne, who is often alone in the castle while her husband is participating in a military campaign or when she becomes a widow, are sometimes disturbed by disagreements or differences of opinion.

When in 1702, she orders that no citizen of the Duchy can bake bread without declaring it to the Duchess’ Court, the Parliament is up in arms and she must yield.

When the Duchess declares herself universal owner of all the farmland in the Duchy, the Parliament criticizes her statement in front of the Tribunal of Rome “with all the respect and deference which the Community owes to Our Lady the Duchess”. She must “defend herself as honestly as she can in a matter, where we believe the public freedom has been prejudiced.”

Often the disagreements are settled with a compromise. In 1714, the Tribunal of Rome changes its mind and recognizes the rights of the Dukes of Gadagne to exact a 5% yearly tax on the value of the harvest of their subjects. However certain fruits and products are exempt: fodder, wood of blackberry bushes and willows, fruits from isolated trees, grazing grass, and part of the olive harvest if there is a severe winter freeze.

The Duchy is struck by a harsh winter freeze in 1709 and by several years of severe drought. The grain is lost, the roads are potholed. They need to borrow money and impose unpaid chores to repair the roads.

The Duchess helps the poor. She founds an old age pension for elderly destitutes. The consuls thank her for “All the kindness and generosity she had and still has for everybody.”

The Parliament of the Duchy continues to fight for the independence of Gadagne from the Papal States. Are the representatives of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne allowed to participate in the assemblies of the Comtat Venaissin without paying taxes like the other communities? Yes, they are, declares the Parliament of Gadagne in 1709, because they have a title of franchise exempting them from it. The Tribunal of Avignon agrees with them. The Comtat Venaissin takes the matter to the Tribunal of Rome. The Pope does not want to displease his legate. So, in 1716, he grants the rights requested by the Parliament of the Duchy, provided that they supply oats and food for the troops of the legate stationed in the Comtat.

In 1701 and 1708, the minutes of the meetings of the Parliament of Gadagne are very numerous. It is the court-clerk of the Duchess who writes them down without intervening on her behalf.

By law, in the Comtat Venaissin Jews were not allowed to live out of four specific towns which had been alloted for them. However, as Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne was independent from the Comtat, some Jews started moving into it in the 17th century. In a book of his, Professor Moulinas gives us some detailed information on the life of the Jews in the Duchy of Gadagne. In October 1667, Jews were pressing their own grape harvest so as to make their own wine according to the Jewish laws. In 1697, Saul Cohen rents a house he owns in Droite Street, Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne to a carpenter, Antoine Amadou.

However, in the Duchy of Gadagne, the Jews must follow certain rules:
they are not allowed to own a business with employees or to be part of the public administration, so as not to be tempted to hire people in exchange of their conversion to Judaism;
no Christian should call a Jew “master”;
Jews must kneel when a funeral procession is passing by and take off their yellow hat; the Bishop of Cavaillon had ordered all the male Jews to wear a yellow hat and all the Jewish women a yellow cloth on their head. In 1667, one year before Charles-Felix buys Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic, a Jew from Piedmont, Italy, entered Chateauneuf with a black cap instead of a yellow one. Everybody was scandalized by it, and the children of the town tried to stone him to death (testifies Esprit Monnier from Chateauneuf on October 4, 1667). Eventually the Jew was put in jail and went to trial in Avignon.
General Roure prefers not to describe the atrocious tortures inflicted on the Jews if they had intimate relations with Christians.

When I visited Chateauneuf de Gadagne in 2005 with Professor Edouard Lejeune, author of “La Saga Lyonnaise des Gadagne”, and was a guest of Frederique Jayer, the new owner of the castle of the Dukes of Gadagne, we visited the jail of the Duchy, a large stone tower, next to the castle. In one of the empty cells we visited, on a wall, an inmate had written a date (some time in the 18th century, I forget the exact day) and a few words in Jewish language in Hebrew characters. It is the proof that at least one Jew was incarcerated under the Gadagne Dukes. If I remember well what Frederique told me, I think he was the administrator of some Gadagne properties in the Duchy. He had also drawn vertical lines with a pencil, I presume to count the days, crossed by horizontal lines, to mark the weeks. This is the only record of mistreating a Jew in the Duchy of Gadagne that I know of. And after all, he might have been guilty of some wrongdoing and justly punished for it.

The fact that several Jews moved into the Duchy of Gadagne from the neighboring Papal Comtat Venaissin, and lived there for a long time proves that under the Gadagne government they could find more freedom and well being than elsewhere.


The Duchesss Jeanne de Gadagne dies on August 7, 1719. She is buried next to her husband Charles-Felix in the church of Gadagne.

In the last years of her life, the Duchess does not have any important disagreements with the Parliament. The scarce crops of those years create financial problems for the Duchy, by decreasing the amount of the taxes on the local harvests. The Parliament increases the “taille” tax, on the properties owned, and the personal tax.

The Parliament is completely independent in their decisions on fiscal matters.The Duke or the Duchess just convalidate the decisions taken by the Parliament, through the presence of the Bailiff, representing them.

Before leaving Charles-Felix and Jeanne de Gadagne and talking about their descendants we will talk about the imposing castle on top of the hill of Chateauneuf de Gadagne, which it dominates. The castle of the counts of Vedene was a fortified Middle Age fortress with big thick walls and towers. When Charles Felix de Gadagne buys Chateauneuf, he keeps the huge walls of the castle but on top of them builds a large Florentine Renaissance style palace. Building a large palace in Chateauneuf de Gadagne was an expensive task because there were no stone quarries in the proximity. The stones had to be carried on horse drawn carts from very far away. The Gadagne however were still one of the richest families of France so the cost of the construction did not matter. The palace on top of the walls was a very tall construction and it seems that in the late afternoon the body of the Gadagne castle, on top of the hill, blocked the rays of the setting sun and the Eastern part of the town was in the dark two hours before sunset. The Gadagne filled the castle with beautiful furniture and artistic masterpieces.

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Charles-Felix and Jeanne have no children. The constitution of the Duchy states that the duchy is hereditary through male representatives of the family, from father to son, etc. If the Duke dies without children, the Duchess reigns until her death. At her death, a male heir (nephew, cousin) becomes the new Duke.

In her testament of 1710, the Duchess designates Charles-Noel de Gallean, lord of Castellet, as her heir. In 1715, she modifies her testament and appoints her sister Francoise de Grave’s son, Louis Achille, as her heir to the Duchy. Louis Achille is Marquis of Nerestang, Lord of Aurec, Saint-Didier, etc, general of the King’s armies. The castle of Nerestang is near Saint-Etienne, not far from the Gadagne castle of Boutheon.

At the Duchess’ death, Louis Achille de Nerestang becomes the new Duke of Gadagne. He has been cavalry captain, then colonel in 1708, and general of the King of France’s armies in 1711.

He is the descendant of a famous family. During four generations the Nerestangs have been Grand Masters of the Order of Saint-Lazarus in Jerusalem, and of Notre-Dame-of-Mount-Carmel. Louis Achille’s father armed at his own expense four men-of-war to fight the British Fleet in the Mediterranean and almost ruined himself in the process. He was Colonel of his family Infantry Regiment (Regiment du Bourbonnais).

Louis Achille de Nerestang makes his solemn entry in Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne in October 1723 (over four years after the Duchess’ death). The Parliament votes the necessary credits for the ceremony (armed soldiers, presents…) “to offer him signs of the sincere affection and submission which they have for such a good sovereign”.

Nerestang has money problems. On September 12, 1719, he writes his farmer: “I presume you will not be angry to find out that I am very happy of the inheritance Madame de Gadagne left me. Not only does it include some good farmland and a well-stocked castle, but also nice commodities easy to sell, so I will be able to restore a bit the bad state of my finances.”

In another letter on November 12, 1722, however, he expresses his bitter disappointment: “I am in a shortage of money, because I cannot get anything out of Gadagne, surrounded on all sides by an epidemic of plague, causing a complete interruption of any trade.”

The Marquis of Nerestang, who never married, dies childless on February 7, 1733, at 60 years old. He was related to Charles-Felix through the latter’s wife, who was his aunt. So he had no Gadagne blood in his veins. In her testament, Jeanne de Gadagne stated that if the Marquis of Nerestang dies childless, the new Duke will be Francois-Pierre de Gallean-Gadagne, Lord of Vedene, great-nephew of Charles-Felix.Thus the Duchy of Gadagne returns to the Gadagne and remains with them until its end in 1792, when it becomes part of the French Republic.


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Francois-Pierre de Gallean, third Duke of Gadagne and Lord of Vedenes is the son of Joseph de Gallean, Marquis of Vedenes (dies in 1720) and Isabelle de Galliffet. Joseph is the son of Louis de Gallean de Gadagne, Charles-Felix’s older brother.

In 1733 Francois-Pierre gives his country in homage to the rector of the Pope in Carpentras. So, after 11 centuries, the Pope is able to acquire the rights over Gadagne, which had been granted to the Abbot of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert by the Knight Guillaume in the seventh century A.D., through the offering of a cow. For the occasion, Francois-Pierre de Gallean de Gadagne walks a cow in the rector’s courtyard before offering the rector the value of the cow in cash.

Francois-Pierre dies in 1737.


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In 1738, Francois-Pierre’s oldest son, Joseph-Louis-Marie, 4th Duke of Gadagne, officially submits himself to this formality. This homage ceremony is described in the Archives of the Vaucluse Department B 16. Monsieur Boudard published it in his book:”The peasant Barons”:

“In the year 1738, on the 15th day of the month of May, the noble and powerful Lord, Sire Joseph-Louis-Marie de Gallean, Duke of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, and Lord of the towns of Vedene and Saint-Saturnin, cavalry officer, lieutenant of the heavily armoured cavalrymen of noble birth constituting the King’s Guards, paid homage to Our Holy Father the Pope, for the castle, fiefdom and jurisdiction of Gadagne, formerly called Chateauneuf-Giraud-Lamy, situated in the Comtat Venaissin, diocese of Cavaillon. Its borders being the rural areas of Morieres, Caumont, Saint-Saturnin and Thor, for the tax of eight florins, corresponding to the value of a light brown color cow, to be paid at every feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; the abovementioned Lord Duke confesses and declares that every time a new Pope is elected or a new Duke succeeds in the ruling of the abovementioned fiefdom of Gadagne, the Lords and their successors are due to give back the said fiefdom to our Holy Father the Pope or to the Rector of the Comtat Venaissin, and then our Holy Father the Pope or the said Rector are due to return the said fiefdom to its Lord, who must immediately pay homage and swear fidelity to our Holy Father and his successors, or to the Rector of the Comtat Venaissin or whomever the Rector will appoint for this end.”

General Roure adds:”This offering of all the goods to the Pope or his representative before they give them back in exchange of the homage and the oath of fidelity is a bizarre transaction”. In 1738 they skip the offering of the cow.

Until the French Revolution in 1789, the first male born of every generation of the Gallean de Gadagne becomes the next Duke of Gadagne.

Francois-Pierre (who will die in 1737) is a captain in a cavalry regiment which later becomes the 3rd Cuirassiers. When he makes his first entry in Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, on March 15, 1733, 5 weeks after the death of the 2nd Duke of Gadagne, the Marquis of Nerestang, the treasurer of the Parliament has no money to organize the reception for the arrival of the new Duke. So he invites all the “Gadagnans” who own a gun to use it or to lend it to help organize the military company of the captain of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. The Parliament of Gadagne has to borrow money to rent four drums and a small flute for the ceremony.

Francois-Pierre marries Louise d’Amanze’ on October 10, 1703. They have four sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Joseph Louis Marie de Gallean de Gadagne will become the 4th Duke of Gadagne at his father’s death. The other sons are: Charles Felix (+ 1783) lieutenant in the galleys, known as “the Knight of Gadagne”, as he becomes Knight of Malta in 1710, Charles-Felix-Jean (+ 1761), clergy, known as “Abbot Gadagne“, and Joseph Gaspard (+ 1787) navy officer. This detailed information on Francois-Pierre’s sons comes from Roglo. General Roure, instead, says that all of Francois-Pierre’s sons were officers and that the third son was captain in the Regiment of Rouergue (ancestor of the 58th Infantry Regiment of Avignon, in which many “Gadagnans” enlisted and fought during World War One). I am copying both informations here. The daughter, Anne-Charlotte de Gallean de Gadagne marries Achille de Grille, Marquis de Grilles (1719-1773) on February 17, 1744 in Avignon. They have four children: Ange-Joseph de Grille d’Estoublon (1746-1825), Jeanne Marie Louise Henriette, Eugenie-Gabrielle de Grille d’Estoublon (1748- ), and Charles (1751-1837).

At Francois-Pierre’s death, in 1737, his oldest son, Joseph Louis Marie de Gallean de Gadagne, Marquis of Vedene and Lord of Saint-Saturnin, becomes the 4th Duke of Gadagne. He was born on June 8, 1704. On September 7, 1749 (when he was 45) he marries Francoise Charlotte Fortia de Montreal (+1796). They have 8 children: Anne Louise (ca1755-1799), Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Thomas (1756-1826) his heir, Charles (+1794) who becomes Knight of Saint John of Jerusalem, Charles Louis, Marie Louise Gabrielle Francoise, Marie Joseph Gaspard (1758-1820) whose grandson will be the 6th Duke, Elizabeth and Marie Helene.


The 4TH Duke of Gadagne is promoted cavalry colonel in the French Army of King Louis XV in 1730, after having been page in the stables of the King and Lieutenant of the cavalrymen of the King’s Guard. He is also Deputy of Avignon at the Court of the same. It is interesting to note that Joseph Louis Marie, ruler of the independent Duchy of Gadagne, is also Ambassador of the Pope (to whom belongs Avignon) at the Court of the King of France and cavalry officer of the same King of France. So he was at the same time ruler of a country, ambassador of another country, and officer in the army of a third country.

Historian Lejeune wonders if the Marquis de Sade (the famous French nobleman who enjoyed torturing people and whose name is at the origin of “sadism” and “sadistic”) was referring to Joseph Louis Marie de Gallean de Gadagne when he wrote to his uncle, Abbot de Sade, on April 12, 1768:”…Everything you will do for the trial of Monsieur de Gadagne as for everything else will be well done…”? Complete Works of he Marquis de Sade, Volume 1, p. 223, Circle of the Precious Book, Paris 1966.

In the close surroundings of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, in Vedene, the old ruins of the castle, already abandoned by its owners at the time of the Gadagne, still dominate the town. I have been there with Historian Lejeune as a precious guide. The interesting Church of Saint-Thomas, built in the shape of a Cross of Malta in 1769, with the participation of the Gadagne, still has the tombs of some of them.

Not far from there, there is the castle of Eguilles, also owned by the Gadagne. The Dukes of Gadagne would sleep there when they came to visit Vedenes. We can still admire the imposing Arch of Triumph ornated by two sculpted marble ships at the beginning of the entrance alley of the castle, in remembrance of the glorious sea victories of Francois Pierre de Gallean de Gadagne’s sons. The architecture of the castle itself is in neo-classic style. I have been there and was very impressed by it. Today it is used as a high shool and young teen agers were getting in and out of it saluting me not knowing I was a Gadagne offshoot and wondering why I was looking at it.

The Gadagne were also Marquis of Saint-Saturnin, in the same area, but nothing relevant seems to have remained of their presence.

According to Roglo, Joseph-Louis-Marie de Gallean de Gadagne dies in Avignon, at 94 years old, in 1798. According to a document printed by General Roure at page 115 of his aforementioned book, the 4th Duke of Gadagne dies instead in 1769. This document was found in the study notes of Monsieur Bremond, transcribed in the Department Archives, and lists the inventory of all the furniture of the Gadagne castle of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. Let us remember that the castle of the Gadagne in the Duchy was their royal palace, like Buckingham Palace for the British and Versailles for the French.

“In 1769, His Excellency, the Very high and Very Powerful Lord: Joseph-Louis-Marie de Gallean, Duke of Gadagne, Knight, Marquis of Vedene, Lord of Saint-Saturnin, Eguilles, Gromelles, and other places, cavalry colonel and officer of the heavily armoured Cavalrymen of noble birth constituting the King’s Guards, is dead.”

“His heirs are the Very Powerful Dame Charlotte Gabrielle de Fortia de Montreal, Duchess of Gadagne, his wife, and his brother Navy Captain of the King: Joseph Gaspard de Gallean, Count of Gadagne.”

General Roure states that the whole inventory is too long to copy in his book, he will summarize it. We will copy faithfully what he writes in his book. I will put in parenthesis and italic what I add to his text.

“In summary the castle had three floors (The Gadagne castle is built on the side of the steep hill on which Chateauneuf de Gadagne was built many centuries ago.The top two floors are located on the top of the hill, communicating with the square and the church, also situated there. The bottom floor is on the side of the hill and has one side against the hill itself, the other side opens on a beautiful steep descending park, enclosed by a sturdy stone wall which separates it from the rest of the town descending downhill below it – Roure says the castle “had” three floors, because the top two floors were destroyed during the French Revolution, twenty years after the above inventory was taken. However, the Gadagne castle had really “four” floors, the top two being added by Charles-Felix in the style of a Florentine Renaissance palace, the bottom two were part of the Middle-Age fortress. The bottom two still exist with their powerful old walls and still make the castle of Chateauneuf de Gadagne one of the largest of the area. I presume Roure only mentions three floors, instead of four, because the bottom one was probably used as a storage area and maybe stable for the horses, during the reign of the Gadagne. Now, it has beautiful bedrooms and living room and I slept there two nights during my visit to the castle in 2005)

On the first floor there were:
an apartment with a waiting room, a sitting room, a bedroom and a smaller room next to it;
a storage room;
an office;
a kitchen and the room of the maitre d’hotel;
a library and a wine cellar.

On the second floor, at the level of the church entrance and the square, there were:
a room with a low ceiling;
an apartment including an office and a bathroom;
a toilet;
the large ball room of the castle, an office or small living room, a cloak room;
another large ball room with wooden parquet floor with adjacent cloak room, a round dressing room, and a blue sitting room;
the chapel and a large closet for the church vestments (this chapel is now located in the South Eastern side of the actual church of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, and the stone frame of its entrance door is visible on the Southern façade of the church);
the apartment of the Duchess: waiting room, bedroom, bathroom, cloak room, bedroom of the maid.

On the third floor there were:
thirteen attic bedrooms (called “capucines) for the servants;
an ironing room;
the archives room and the archives cabinet.

General Roure lists the furniture of the large ball room of the castle, of the small living room and of the cloak room on the second floor.

Large ballroom of the castle: a hanging tapestry representing a landscape; a canopy with gold fringes framing the embossed design of the Duke’s family crest; two large multipanel mirrors, having twentyfour panels each, with a painting hanging above each of them, five paintings representing seascapes and battles, with frames of German gold, hanging above the five doors of the ballroom.

Two marble tables on the sides of the main entrance door, with their wooden legs sculpted in gold and white; a four legged table on a red carpet; two gold and white wooden sofas garnished with red velvet, three quilt cushions decorated with tapestry; four armchairs and six chairs of gold and white wood, covered with tapestry; twelve straw covered chairs; two card tables in green mat; a wooden bed to relax or take a quick nap, with a mattress and a long round pillow painted in red flowery tissue; a globe with its string attached and a chandelier next to it; four white curtains.

Small living room: a tapestry; a walnut sofa, covered with woolen fabric with cotton or silk chain; a large walnut stool…a walnut armchair…; two stools covered with canvas and velvet…; a painting of a seascape hanging above the door; a mirror with a black frame; two paintings of flowers with a sculpted gold frame; two painting of flowers on mirrors; the portrait of Madame de Ganges…; a gold framed print of a portrait of King of France Louis XIII; a gold framed pastel portrait of the 4th Duke of Gadagne; forty small square or ovale paintings; a white curtain.

Finally in the cloak room: a bidet and a “chair with a hole in the center” (18th century toilet); a night stand; a white wooden table with a water pot and an earthenware bowl; a copper basin.

All of the capucines (servants’ rooms) were decorated with framed prints.

General Roure’s personal conclusion on the description of the inside of the castle and its furniture: “This very detailed inventory well reflects the confortable life of the high and mighty Dukes of Gadagne. The profusion of the described art works: tapestries, countless mirrors, paintings and artistic objects, give us an idea of their wealth. Their noteworthy amount of furniture: sofas, armchairs, all kinds of seats, tables, cabinets and closets, makes you think of sumptuous parties and friendly receptions. Finally, several of the rooms, bedroom with a balcony, office next to the large ballroom, waiting room of the Duchess’ apartment, exhibit portraits of the Dukes and Duchesses of Gadagne: the ancestors and the living. However, in spite of our accurate research (General Roure is speaking here) we were not able to find one single portrait of our splendid and prosperous rulers. It would have been interesting to find Charles Felix’s portrait, listed in the inventory, as our town of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne owes him its name.”


After the death of Duchess Jeanne Grave’ de Gadagne in 1719, the following Dukes live mostly in Paris, because they hold important offices at the Court of the King of France or in the King’s army. Thus, the daily contacts between the lords of Gadagne and their subjects are interrupted after the end of the 17th century. However they visit their Duchy or maybe even spend some time in their castle from time to time.

General Roure imagines these rare but important contacts between the rulers of the Duchy and its inhabitants.

“We imagine the Dukes of Gadagne entering Chateauneuf by the Door of Avignon (Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne was and still is completely surrounded by powerful Middle-Age stone walls and you can only enter in the town by one of the few doors in the walls. Each door has its own name. The door of Avignon opens on the road leading to Avignon, the most important city close to Gadagne, thus it is called the Door of Avignon. Coming from Paris, the Dukes would probably spend the night in Avignon before travelling the last few miles of their journey towards their Duchy.) or coming from the plateau of Campbeau, handsome booted knights, with their brightly colored uniforms, their feathered hats, embroidered doublet and silk stockings. They had “courtly manners” and their subjects must have appeared to them very wretched and pathetic.

Only the notaries (who usually belong to the “robe nobility”) of the Duchy could have elegant relations with the Dukes. The following extract, from a letter of a notary to the Duke of Gadagne, dated September 3, 1668, shows the style of their relations:

“When I take care of your interests, my joy is immense, as I beg you my Lord to be perfectly assured that nothing is of greater importance for me as having the honor of being, more then anybody else in the world, your very humble and obedient servant.”

Does not the style of this sentence bring to mind a bow or a curtsey, well appropriate to the importance of our Dukes of Gadagne?”

“Our” Dukes of Gadagne, states Roure. General Roure shows a certain pride in “his” Dukes of Gadagne, as probably many “Gadagnans” did, to be the subjects of one of the richest and most powerful families of Europe!

The respect the Gadagnans have for their Lords, who are always greeted with solemnity when they take possession of their country, expresses itself also in a concern about appropriate clothing. Thus, on January 11, 1761, they decide that the Consuls, whom his Excellency the Duke has the kindness to call “Masters”, must wear hats as do all the consuls of the cities and towns of the neighboring Comtat Venaissin. A little while later, on June 10, 1762, the consuls decide that the City footman must have the courtesy of wearing a uniform when he summons the Parliament. The City footman is appointed by the Consuls. He must walk a few feet before the consuls or the Bailiffs in the official ceremonies. On November 13, 1726, he is allocated thirty pounds to open and close doors and to buy a robe or a coat for him self to wear during ceremonies.

The Parliament decrees that the abovementioned uniform of the City footman must be of red “cadis” (“cadis” is a cheap light wool tissue) with a blue “cadis” jacket and blue “cadis” pants. He will wear his uniform only when the Consuls will judge it appropriate. A little while later the thrifty Parliament decides that the Consuls will keep their “hats” only for twelve years, then the hats will be sold and replaced.

Every time a new Duke of Gadagne replaces the late preceding Duke, the Parliament of Duchy has the custom to offer presents to the new ruler. It is the same for the marriage of the Duke or of one of his children. When the 3rd Duke of Gadagne, Joseph Louis Marie de Gallean de Gadagne, marries Charlotte de Fortia-Montreal, on September 7, 1749, the Parliament votes the credits to buy gunpowder for the ceremony and a present for the Duke (whatever he wants) a month in advance. For the new Duchess the present will be 24 pairs of gloves!

Sometimes, like in 1783, the Parliament decides to buy a present. However, a year later, for lack of money, the present has still not been bought. Finally at this point the Parliament is able and willing to find the necessary funds for it.

Slowly the Parliament gets tired of offering presents and honors to the Dukes of Gadagne, who are almost never there. It seems like a waste of money and time.

In spite of their reluctance, the vice-legate of the Pope orders them to pay the Duke a sum of fifty pounds for the marriage of his sister. At first the Parliament protests but eventually they obey (It seems that after Francois-Pierre de Gallean de Gadagne does homage of his Duchy to the rector of the Pope in 1733, the influence of the Pope’s vice-legate over Gadagne increases).

In June 1742, the vice-legate demands the consuls to go and visit with the Duke of Gadagne every time the latter chooses to spend some time in his castle. The Parliament deliberates not to obey. On August 1st, the vice-legate can only be outraged by the fact that the Parliament of Gadagne thinks nothing of his orders.

The fact that the following Dukes are less and less present in the Duchy and its daily life creates conflicts and trials between the absent rulers and their subjects. General Roure states that it would be tedious to expand over all of them. We will examine only a few. On March 19, 1720, the Parliament decides that the 5% tax on the harvest does not concern new cultures like tobacco, saffron, indigo, etc. The Parliament contests the obligation of using the oven of the Duke to bake the bread with adjoining imposition of giving a loaf to the Duke, demands the right of grazing freely on one’s own land, the overstepping of the Duke’s guards special rights, the paying of the tax on sale of properties also by the Dukes of Gadagne and their families (and this supposes the beginning of equal rights and duties between subjects and rulers), etc.

Sometimes, tired of these harassments, the Duke gives in. He offers a room to weigh the grain, a sort of public scale, in exchange of a yearly rent of half a chicken.

The Parliament takes more and more initiatives against their rulers, the Dukes of Gadagne. They ask the vice-legate of the Pope to force the Duke to pay for the repair of the dirt roads of the Duchy, which the Duke’s farmers have damaged by uncontrolled watering on the bordering fields.

The vice-legate tries to check these movements of protest of the Parliament of Gadagne, which are not typical of the history of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. In 1740, he decrees that to be a member of the Parliament of Gadagne and even to have the right to assist to its meetings you must have a yearly income of 200 guilders. Until then, all the heads of household, including widows and oldest orphan siblings, had the right to be a member of the Parliament, without any consideration of their income or lack of it. The inhabitants of the Duchy accept this new regulation, mostly because of moral submission to the representative of the Pope. As a consequence of it, the number of the members of the Parliament of the Duchy of Gadagne decreases from 150 members to 24 members in 1756.

The vice-legate also decrees that the vote of the parliamentarians must be secret and not by raising their hands. However, this time the Parliament rebels to this new law. They elect their consuls by raising their hands.
The vice-legate deposes the new consuls under pretext of flaw in the voting procedure. The Parliament elects them again by raising their hands. The vice-legat is forced to yield and accepts their new election.

As the elections continue, the relations with the vice-legate become aggravated. Finally, in 1782, the vice-legate decides to keep forever, without ulterior yearly election, a couple of submissive consuls, which modifies for ever the independence of the Parliament.

Between the year 1720 and the French Revolution of 1789, the community of Gadagne achieves many works of public interest. The Parliament seems all powerful. The Dukes of Gadagne, who are mostly absent, do not take much interest in these works.They simply authorize them or record them with indifference.

In 1746, the Parliament decides to destroy the strongest tower of the castle of the Dukes to build the square in front of the church. Let us rememnber that there are no stone quarries in the proximity of Gadagne, so if you want to build anything you must obtain the stones by destroying something else first. It was the only hollow tower of the castle of the Gadagne. An inside winding staircase allowed the sentinel to climb to the top of the tower and to keep watch over the whole area. The stones of the destroyed tower are also used to fix up the town graveyard.

On December 20, 1751, the Parliament decides the construction of the fountain at the bottom of Bourgades Street. Chateauneuf de Gadagne is built on a very steep narrow hill so all the streets are winding up and down and have a “top” and a “bottom”.

In 1781, the old house where the consuls meet is falling apart. The Parliament buys the Tournel house, in Great street, for the meetings of the consuls, while the old house becomes the city oven.

In 1741, Monsieur Girard paves the streets of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne for the price of 2 cents a foot, on the conditions that the owners of the bordering houses provide stones and dirt. In the same year they repair the Avignon door and the city walls around it. They fix the locks of the door so that the Consular footman can easily open it at night if nearby farmers need to enter the city by night to get the assistance of a priest or a doctor in case a member of their family is suddenly very ill or dying.

The church of Gadagne receives a pulpit and a confessional from the Parliament in 1750, after express request of the Bishop of Cavaillon.

In August 1760, the Parliament votes the institution of a town guard to protect the doors of the town and the neighboring vineyards from thefts and destructions.

On January 18, 1774, the Parliament asks the Bishop of Cavaillon to please forbid the burying of anybody else in the church of Gadagne, because of the infection and germs which the new corpses can introduce in the town.

In these last years of the reign of the Gadagne, in reading the minutes of the meetings of the local Parliament we notice two important facts:

All the Parliament meetings are convened in the presence of the Bailiff, representing the Dukes, so the decisions taken after discussions are automatically considered legitimized by the superior authority (the Dukes, represented by their Bailiff) without need to ask them their advice in merit.

Every decision of the Parliament covers itself morally by being subordinate “to the good will of the vice-legate”. The latter intervenes only rarely, and practically never, to oppose some decision taken by the Parliament, except to propose some advantage for the church.

After the Duchy of Gadagne loses its independence and becomes part of the French Republic, many inhabitants then and now, including General Roure, regret the greater political freedom they had under the lenient regime of the Dukes of Gadagne rather than the strict administrative organization of the French Republic.

Before entering the historical period of the French Revolution, which will change France and most of Europe forever, let us briefly review certain aspects of the life in the Duchy of Gadagne, so as to see what it was like for normal inhabitants to live in a country ruled by our ancestors (or rather our great-uncles) the Gadagne.


Girls are instructed by a nun, hired by the parish priest of Gadagne. Often the nuns come from a convent located far away, like in Lyon. So the families of Gadagne take turns in hosting and feeding the nun.

The Consuls are responsible for the hiring of the teacher for the boys. The Parliament has to vote a sum of money to pay the teacher, so also the children of the poor inhabitants of the Duchy, who cannot afford to lodge or feed the teacher, can get some education. Every year the Consuls make up a list of twelve families of Gadagne who will feed the teacher, a family per month. In 1654, the Parliament states:”If the consuls are unable to find families to feed the teacher, the teacher will be dismissed.”

On October 15, 1651, le Parliament states that “The inhabitants of our town must be forced to send their children to the teacher of our community, to learn how to read and write, even if they do not want to.”

On June 30, 1672, the teacher of Gadagne is very old, so the parents of Gadagne send their children to a school out of the Duchy. The Consuls hire a new teacher and ask the vice-legate to oblige the parents to send their children to the new teacher in Gadagne.

On March 28, 1679, the consuls decide to “hire Jean Bernard for 12 crowns, instead of Fabre who asks to be paid only 8, on the condition that Jean Bernard teaches poor children for free.” Sixteen years later, in 1685, Jean Bernard is still the teacher of Gadagne, so he must have accepted to teach poor children for nothing.

As a bonus, the teacher is allowed to glean ears of corn left in the fields after the threshing, if he is willing to take his students to Mass every day of the year, except one day of vacation every week.

In 1740, for two years there is no teacher in the Duchy. In 1754, the parents complain that Monsieur May does not know Latin well.

In Gadagne classes are not numbered by students’ age but by topic. Parents pay by class topic. 1st Class: reading; price: 0.45 F per month; 2nd Class: writing: 1.25F per month; 3rd Class: counting: 3F per month. 10 poor students are taught for free.


In 1323, the Pope gives the rulers of Chateauneuf, later named Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, the right to practice the three levels of justice: high, middle and low.

High justice: the Lord can judge all cases and rule all penalties, including capital punishment. This last one however needs to be confirmed by an appeal to be executed. High justice includes fullness of jurisdiction, civil and criminal.

Middle justice: Lord may judge brawls, insults and fights. Offenses cannot be punished by death. It plays an important role in civil cases, including legal protection of the interests of minors, affixing of seals, inventory of the property of minors, appointment of guardians, etc.

Low justice: The Lord deals with rights due to him, census tax, annuities, inheritance on his domain, exhibition of contracts. It also deals with offenses and low value fines, like damage of beasts and name-calling.

The Duke of Gadagne is the only one in the Comtat Venaissin who has a judge of appeals, remunerated by the Duke himself, to judge criminal cases involving death penalty, except the Courts of Appeals of Carpentras and Avignon.

He does not administer justice himself. He only has the right and power to appoint his representative, the Bailiff, and the judges who will return the verdict (ordinary judge for offenses of which the fine is not superior to 60 halfpennies, judge of appeals for more important or criminal offenses). The appeal is lodged in the courts of Carpentras, Avignon or Rome.

This staff, appointed by the Duke, makes up the Court of the Duchy of Gadagne. The Court prepares also the laws enforced by the police of the Duke, or discusses them with the Parliament, who also enacts rules and regulations.

In the regulations of the police of the Duchy each ticket has its corresponding fine. Once a year, the Bailiff, surrounded by the Guards of the Duke, with a consul hat-in-hand on each side, reads in Provencal (dialect of Southeastern France) the list of prohibitions, translating the Latin written original document, normally kept in the Gadagne Archives of Avignon. The list, first written in the Middle-Ages, is updated and improved continuously. So, every year, most or all the regulations are the same, but sometimes a new one is printed, or an obsolete eliminated. The meeting is in Place de la Fontaine, and all the population of the Duchy or most of it, is assemble and listen to it.

It is forbidden to:
Escape from the justice of the Duke;
Own weapons; swords, spears …even knifes when the blade is over twelve inches long;
Fire your servants without due reason;
Pick up wood, hunt rabbits or take your animals to graze in the woods of the Duke;
Graze your herds anywhere without the Duke’s authorization;
Dig holes less than thirty feet from the city walls;
Burn bushes or hay without authorization;
Drink alcohol in the taverns after the Ave Maria prayer (Catholic Church prayer recited usually around sunset);
To fish in the streams or ponds of the Duke;
To enter the Park of the Duke called Fontsegugne;
To throw trash in the streets of the towns; you are allowed however lo leave hay in front of your house to collect manure of passing animals and other trash (there are no sewers) to complete your manure pile; you have to clean it however on Saturdays, so on Sundays the streets are clean;
To talk to prisoners;
To take the wood assembled next to the oven of the Duke;
To steal vine stocks;
To sell meat of sheep for mutton, sow for pig, cow for bull, or spoiled meat;
To play dice;
To swear;

Each prohibition has its own fine, according to the importance of the crime. If the breaking of the law happens at night the fine is often doubled. The police of the Duke of Gadagne are vigilant. The community of Gadagne has also its own police, depending from the Consuls, which are increased during harvest time. They mostly take care of personal quarrels or disagreements between inhabitants of the Duchy.


The Duchy of Gadagne does not have only the guards of the Duke and those of the Consuls, it also has its own army. In the Middle-Ages the Lord of Chateauneuf hired his own troops of mercenaries, which allowed him to be called “Baron”. The inhabitants of Chateauneuf did not like these mercenaries because, except for the daily training, they lazed around all day.

In the middle of the 14th Century, the Popes of Avignon take away this “Baron’s” privilege of the Lord of Chateauneuf, of keeping hired mercenaries in his country, and replace it with a permanent garrison of 12 Italian knights, commanded by a sergeant. When the Gadagne buy Chateauneuf-de-Giraud-Amic in 1668, the 12 Italian Knights and their sergeant are still there and they will form the Army of the Duchy of Gadagne until its disappearance during the French Revolution. Nowadays nobody in the town remembers where the headquarters and lodgings of this small army were.

A local militia coexists with this foreign garrison. Members of the local militia guard the city walls of Gadagne during the day and patrol them several times every night. They are commanded by a “captain”, elected every year by the Parliament. It is composed of men old enough and able to bear arms. They are organized in squads of ten, under the leadership of Decurions.

This militia never has any military value. Marching and night guards repel them. In 1562, they rebel against their decurions. The Parliament has to hire the Italian knights to guard the walls. The “weapons” of the militia are kept in a town warehouse. However, the peasants and the farmers have their own personal weapons, which they carry with them in the fields.

Sometimes, when the King of France is upset with the Pope, his troops invade Papal Comtat Venaissin. Often they do not realize Gadagne is an independent country, so they invade it also. In 1688, Count of Grignan, Lieutenant General of the King of France in South Eastern France, occupies Gadagne and orders all private weapons of its inhabitants to be deposited in the hands of the Consuls of Gadagne. Usually, after a few months, or a few years, the Pope and the King of France reconcile and the French troops leave Comtat Venaissin and Gadagne and everything returns as it was before.

When the troops of the Pope maneuver, sometimes they demand to be lodged temporarily in the Duchy. The Gadagnans have to supply fodder and oats for the horses and food for the soldiers. To avoid being “insulted” by foreign troops passing through Gadagne the Consuls decide to put the Pope’s crest on top of the door of Avignon.

The good wine of the Duchy helps the “Gadagnans” get rid of their unwelcome guests. A decision of the Parliament on February 10, 1597, explains how they do it:” All the assembled members of the Parliament have concluded that the Consuls agree with the Captain of the lodged company that if the latter is willing to move his company out of Gadagne he will receive a present of two casks of wine. If he only departs with half of the company he will receive only one cask of wine.”

On another occasion, the Consuls agree to give 288 gallons of wine to the Captain of the company and 54 gallons to the sergeant if they leave the Duchy. The captain consents except for four soldiers who will remain in Gadagne. The consuls agree on the condition that the soldiers will sleep in a barn instead of in a house so they will not nconvenience anybody.


The hospital of the Duchy is located at the entrance of Caumont Road. It is rented out to a “responsible” called “Hospital Man” who is also charged to dig the graves when sick people of the hospital die. The Hospital Man lives in the hospital for a very small rent and keeps it clean and tidy, mostly the room where the tramps and gypsies are sheltered free of charge. However, every night, Hospital Man locks the poor and the gypsies in their room, so they are not tempted to wander and steal in Gadagne in the dark of the night.

The hospital receives gifts and legacies. In the 17th century it is also awarded part of the fines imposed for violations of the regulations of the Duchy. Also the community and the Duke contribute to the upkeep of the hospital. The sick patients are treated by local doctors and surgeons. During the plague epidemic of 1720, a committed surgeon, Meilhac, is congratulated by the Parliament.

The people who have a serious illness are taken to the hospital of Avignon. If the hospital of Gadagne cannot pay back all the expenses incurred by the hospital of Avignon, the community of Gadagne helps out, also according to the financial situation of the patient.

During the serious epidemics of the 17th and 18th centuries, plague, cholera and smallpox, the Parliament appoints a doctor who presides over the Health Bureau of the Duchy. A health bulletin is handed out to all the inhabitants getting in and out the city doors. During the 18th century, quite a few times all the doors of the city walls, except the Avignon door, are walled up, so as to allow an easier and stricter controle of the sick contagious people getting in and out of the city. During the plague epidemic of 1720, a house of quarantine is rented for sick contagious people outside the city wall and Gadagne is able not to get infected at all by that plague which killed several thousands of people in Avignon and Comtat Venaissin. The Pope legate forced several citizens of Gadagne to participate in the construction of a long plague wall from Durance to Carpentras, to keep the infected people out of that area.

The city of Gadagne freely gives a lot of wheat to poor and sick people of the region. Needy peasants are allowed to have their farming utensils repaired by the city foundry for free.


The church of Gadagne was built in three different periods. The oldest part is the chapel belonging to the castle, where the tombs of all of the lords of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, the Giraud-Amic, the Simiane and finally the Gadagne are located. Around the chapel was built the fisrt church of the town before the Renaissance. During the Religion Wars, on March 27, 1563, the Protestant troops of Baron des Adrets, capture Chateauneuf, kill the parish priest and burn the church. After that the church is restored and in 1746, the large tower of the Gadagne castle is destroyed, with permission of the Duke of Gadagne, and its stones are used to build the square of the church with the narrow street leading to it, passing between the walls of the Gadagne castle and their wine cellars.

There are numerous priests. In 1597, the bishop of Cavaillons visits Chateauneuf. He is greeted by the Prior, the parish priest, the vicar and two more priests, who also take care of the different chapels built by the lords of Chateauneuf.

The clergy of Gadagne (Duchy of Gadagne) depends from the priory of Saint-Ruf in Avignon (Papal state), which depends from the order of Saint-Ruf in Montpellier (Kingdom of France). In 1650, Pierre Ginestrel is appointed permanent vicar of the Priory for the church of Saint-John-the-Baptist in Gadagne.

In 1682, the chaplain of the Duke of Gadagne is a scholar. His name is Picton or Pictoy and he writes books of which we ignore the topic.

In 1696 there is litigation between the Parliament of Gadagne and the vicar. The vicar has been absent for over a year. His nephew is a lay person. However the latter keeps all the parish tithes and income for himself depriving the other priests even of food. Often the Parliament complains that the priests of the Duchy of Gadagne do not practice their mission well.

In Gadagne there is also the Chapel of the White Penitents, behind the Old Door (“Portail-Vieux”). In 1731 the priest is Sir Jean-Joseph Penet.

The Church has the responsibility to keep the registry office of the “Parish”. The number of inhabitants of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne varies, mostly according to the periods of good harvest or scarcity. Nobody knows where the poor people who leave the town end up going. In 1597, there are 1,000 inhabitants (212 “households”). 200 years later, at the end of the 18th century (French Revolution) there are only 900.

Often the church and the chapel of the White Penitents live out of donations given by citizens of Gadagne. We saw earlier how Duchess Jeanne and other Gadagne left fields or rents from other properties to the Church as a perpetual income.

Each head of household is also supposed to pay forty halfpennies a year as tithe to the church of Gadagne. Poor widows have to pay half. In 1619, 192 heads of household pay that amount.

In the year 2013, a large brand new Catholic Seminary for missionary priests is being built in Gadagne. It is called Redemptoris Mater (Latin for “Mother of the Redeemer”). I am sure Duke Charles-Felix and Duchess Jeanne de Gadagne, both especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, smile from Heaven. The Seminary is built by the Neo-Catechumenal Way, a new Catholic Movement, officially approved by the Vatican for the new Evangelization of the modern world. The Way was started by Kiko Arguello, a famous artist personal friend and pupil of Pablo Picasso. Isabella Guadagni and all of her children, including Francesco Carloni de Querqui, belong to this movement. Isabella Guadagni, daughter of Bernardo Guadagni and Madeleine Querqui, was instrumental in the development of the Neo-Catechumenal Way in the city of Lecce, Southern Italy. Francesco’s son, Billy, is a Neocatechumenal Priest. He was ordained in Washington, D.C. by his Eminence Archbishop Cardinal Wuerl on June 18, 2011 in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.



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At Joseph-Lopuis-Marie de Gallean de Gadagne’s death, his oldest son, Jean Baptiste Louis Thomas de Gallean de Gadagne, becomes the 5th Duke of Gadagne. He is born in Chateauneuf de Gadagne on November 25, 1756. At his Baptism in Gadagne, his Godparents are the two consuls of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, Jean-Claude Villon and Etienne Pascal, and also the two consuls of Vedene (another town owned by the Gadagne who were also Lords of Vedene), Marcus Rochette and Andre’ Roy. He marries Marie Polixene Sixte de Castellane (+1814) in May 1783. They have no children.

The Dukes of Gadagne also own a large palace in the city of Avignon. General Roure mentions its history in his book: “Petite histoire de Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne” (“Little History of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne”). We will paraphrase it, even though we have already partly described it in Thomas II de Gadagne’s life:

“Before leaving the history of the Gadagne and recounting that of the Gallean-Gadagne, we will go back to the grandfather of Louise de Gadagne, wife of Georges de Gallean, writes Roure.

Thomas II de Gadagne moved to Avignon, where the silk trade competed with Lyon’s. He bought the house of the de Sade Family in Chauffard Street. He tore it down and built the Gadagne Palace. I personally saw it: it is huge and beautiful. This palace, in Doree’ Street, was later used as the House of the Mutualite’. It was also used as the First Normal School for Teachers in Vaucluse. Presently it is part of the building of the General Council.

In 1541, Thomas II de Gadagne bought a large property from Olivarius de Coccilis d’Agalfin. Its borders, using the names of present streets, were Raspail Boulevard, Observance Street, Rempart Street, Velouterie Street, Annanelle Street, Joseph Vernet Street, and Saint-Charles Street.

Thomas II had a wall built around it, in 1542. The property was called the “Gadagne Garden.”

Thomas II’s heirs sold large parcels of the property to Francois de Valfreniere, to the Tourreau Family, and to the Capuchin Friars, in 1576 and 1614. Louise de Gadagne, Thomas II’s grand-daughter, sold the remaining parcels.

Of the huge Gadagne Garden only a little piece remained, West of Saint-Charles Street. In 1614, the Gadagne sold their palace in Doree’ Street, had a house built on the parcel and moved into it.
Pierre-Francois de Gallean, 2nd Duke of Gadagne, buys Monsieur de Costebelle’s parcel, to build a palace on it, while also the Marquis of Caumont is building his own palace on it.

In 1751, Pierre-Francois hires the architects Pierre Mottard and Joseph Marie, and has his palace built. We will correct General Roure’s data here. Pierre-Francois de Gallean, who was really 3rd Duke of Gadagne, if we count as legitimate 2nd Duke of Gadagne the Marquis of Nerestang, dies in 1737, so General Roure must be speaking of Joseph Louis-Marie, 4th Duke of Gadagne (1704-1798). While the Caumont Palace was built in stone, the Gadagne Palace used stone only for the framing of doors and windows and decoration sculptures, which makes it very artistic and beautiful. I have seen it also. The Gadagne palace includes four buildings, a large front courtyard, and a garden, which was later divided by the construction of Raspail Boulevard. The borders of the large property were Violette Street, the City Walls, the old Convent of Saint Louis, and Saint-Charles Street.

In 1789, the French Revolution explodes, changing everything dramatically and violently. King of France Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette, daughter of Holy Roman Empress Marie-Therese of Hapsburg, are beheaded. Their young son, Louis XVII is emprisonned and ill treated by his jailer, Simon. He dies of illness in jail at ten years old in 1795. Many nobles are also sentenced to death and beheaded. Their castles are burnt and looted. Several of the nobles escape abroad. All the rest of Europe is scandalized and react by attacking revolutionary France. However the French armies, some of whom are commanded by young general Napoleon Bonaparte, are able to defeat the divided enemies, and conquer Italy and Holland.

The main branch of the Gadagne ended with Guillaume III de Gadagne’s death in 1693. The Gadagne d’Hostun ended with Louis-Henry de Pons de Gadagne d’Hostun, who sold the Gadagne castle of Boutheon in 1793 and died shortly afterwards. So the only branch of the Gadagne who suffers the consequences of the French Revolution is the one of the Dukes of Gadagne. As we will see, they will be able to survive the violent Revolution and still exist nowadays in their descendants the Marquis of Galard, who live in the Gadagne castle of Montellier, close to the Duchy of Gadagne. As I have said before, Guy de Galard, of the Dukes of Gadagne, came and visited with us for a weekend, in our house in Denver, Colorado.

In a few paragraphs I will now relate how the Duchy of Gadagne lost its independence and became part of France. I want to remind the reader that all this detailed history on the existence of the Duchy of Gadagne, from its origin as Chateauneuf de Giraud-Amic, comes from the above mentioned book of French General Charles Roure and can be found nowhere else. If we include the three other small villages that were part of the Duchy, the whole population of this independent country never exceeded 1,500 people. Because it was independent, its history is not included in the history of France or of the Papal States of Avignon and Comtat Venaissin. As ex-rulers of this adorable little country we are lucky that General Roure, born and raised in Gadagne, had the idea of writing its history. The city hall of Gadagne published it and now it is not published any more and General Roure passed away a few years ago. The copy of the book which I own and was given to me as a present by the General, is maybe the only source of information left forever on the history of the Duchy of Gadagne. So, I want to save as much of it as I can in the Guadagni Family website for future generations of Guadagni interested in their family past.

The last (and only) time I saw General Roure, two years before he passed away, in 2005, we sat with Historian Edouard Lejeune and General in Roure in the General’s living room. His house, with a garden, is just outside Gadagne’s city walls. From his living room windows we could see the powerful beige Middle Age walls of Gadagne, with an old open door in a corner of them. Inside the walls, red tiled roofs sped up toward the top of the hill, interwoven with dark green long and slender cypress trees. The sunny sky of Southern France, a few miles from the Cote d’Azur, was a resplendent light blue, reminding us of Van Gogh’s landscapes.

The French Revolution was caused by an unfair economical and political system, where the nobility and the clergy owned most of France but were exempt from taxes and work, while the majority of the population had to work hard and pay heavy taxes to cover the huge expenses of the King and the nobility at the Court of Versailles. France was also bankrupt because of the expensive wars against England (“French and Indian war “and “American Revolutionary War” where France helped the American patriots against the British).
These problems were all compounded by a great scarcity of food in the 1780s. A series of crop failures caused a shortage of grain, consequently raising the price of bread. Because bread was the main source of nutrition for poor peasants, this led to starvation. Contributing to the peasant unrest were conspiracy theories that the lack of food was a deliberate plot by the nobility. The two years prior to the revolution (1788–89) saw meager harvests and harsh winters, possibly because of a strong El Niño cycle caused by the 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland.

Gadagne and the Papal States had the same problems as neighboring France. In the summer of 1788 hail storms destroy the harvest, causing the rise of the price of bread and hardship for the lower classes. Unfortunately the winter of 1788-1789 is one of the coldest of the region’s history. All the olive trees freeze. The Rhone River is covered with ice and navigation on it is interrupted. No heating wood or food can get to Avignon and the Papal States or Gadagne. Wheat is hard to find and very expensive. Water mills are frozen and cannot produce any more flour. So famine adds to poverty.

People start cutting trees bordering the roads to get wood to heat theirt houses. The consuls try to punish the responsibles and cause riots.

The King of France is unable to find a prime minister who can solve the problems in France and so he summons the General Estates in his palace of Versailles on May 5, 1789. The General Estates are the three classes in which France was divided: Clergy, Nobility and Everybody Else. Each Estate prepares a list of complaints to present to the King at the meeting.

Imitating France, the corporations of Avignon prepare a list of complaints to present to the Pope, in July and August 1789. The deputies of Comtat Venaissin write a letter to the consuls of Gadagne asking Gadagne to join them permanently instead of remaining independent. The Parliament of Gadagne remains vague and answers they will think about it.

On December 11, 1789, the Pope says he is ready to examine possible changes in the administration and regulations of the Papal States. The vice-legate Casoni decides to summon the General Estates of the Comtat for a meeting in the spring of 1790.

Also in Gadagne they have prepared a list of complaints:
1) No more 5% tax on harvest and free chores owed to the Duke of Gadagne;
2) The Duke must pay taxes on his properties like everybody else;
3) Hunting, fishing and raising pidgeons should be allowed to everybody and not only to the Duke;
4) Everybody has the right to eat the tongue of the butchered beef;
5) No more obligation to use only the oven of the Duke to bake and then have to give him a free bread;
6) The Church must reimburse a third of the money given to them by the city of Gadagne if one of the three priests is absent;
7) Elimination of a house built with the tithes to the Clergy and construction of a public hospital instead.

On March 11, 1790, the organizer of the assembly authorized by vice-legate Casoni summons all the deputies of all the communities of the Comtat Venaissin to meet on March 23. He also invites the deputies of Gadagne and adds to the invitation:”Even though your community has not yet decided whether to accept our offer to be incorporated with us or not, our Assembly chooses to summon you so that if your community wants to reunite with us, they can do it in this solemn occasion.”

This time, Gadagne accepts to join the Comtat Venaissin and ceases, for the first time in 1,100 years, to exist as an independent country. It is interesting that nobody thinks to ask the ruler of the country, the Duke of Gadagne, what he thinks about it. As General Roure stated above, the Dukes of Gadagne spent most of their time in Paris, so the Parliament of the Duchy got used to taking their decisions without consulting them or asking their permission. So now the Dukes of Gadagne are still the owners of the castle and the richest citizens of Gadagne, but the Pope is now the ruler of Gadagne and the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon.

Suddenly, on April 21 1790, the Pope changes his mind. No more meeting of the General Estates of the Comtat Venaissin. Too late! In May 1790 the meeting happens and the deputies decide to form a representative assembly which will vote revolutionary changes like in France!

While on June 12, 1790, the city of Avignon decides to join France, the representative Assembly of the Comtat Venaissin, which now includes also the Duchy of Gadagne, decides to adopt all the laws of France without however rebelling against the legitimate authority of their “beloved ruler, the Pope.” They fear that joining France would mean having to pay higher taxes and military expenses and burdens.

No more Consuls like in ancient Rome. Now each town will have a Mayor! On July 11, 1790, the last two Consuls of Gadagne, Meilhac and Revol summon all the “active citizens” (the ones who pay taxes equal to at least three working days) in the Church of the Duchy {Even if the Duchy of Gadagne is not an independent state anymore it kept its name and even nowadays it is called “Duchy of Gadagne”}, where they elect their first Mayor, Joseph Delacour.

On August 9, 1790, the representative Assembly of the Comtat Venaissin decrees to eliminate the three levels of justice granted by the Pope to the Dukes of Gadagne and instead grants its citizens the right to elect their own judges.

In 1791, a civil war starts between Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin. The former has already joined France and wants the Comtat to do the same, the latter is divided between a faction faithful to the Pope and a revolutionary one in favor of a rattachment to France. On January 10, 1791, Knight Patrice, commander of the army of Avignon, conquers the city of Cavaillon, of the Comtat Venaissin, and plunders it. He then occupies Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, but only disarms its citizens with no violence or plunder. Grateful for his generosity, the Mayor of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne declares that “Gadagne desires to unite with Avignon under the rule of the King of France.” On January 22, 1791, the crest of the King of France is raised in the city hall of Gadagne.

Finally, on September 14, 1791, the National Assembly of France accepts the attachment of the Comtat Venaissin, including Gadagne, to France. So now the Dukes of Gadagne are French citizens.

In those years, in France, the political situation is confused. King Louis XVI has not been beheaded yet, but has lost his power of absolute monarch and is now a mere figurehead. He is accused of conspiring with foreign enemy powers against France.

Fearing for his own safety and that of his family, the King decides to flee Paris and cross the Austrian border, having been assured of the loyalty of the border garrisons. On the night of 20 June 1791, the royal family flees the Tuileries Palace in Paris dressed as servants, while their servants dress as nobles.

Late the next day, they stop in the town of Varennes, to buy some food for the journey. Pretending to be the servant, King Louis XVI goes into a store to get the food. When he pays however, the store keeper notices with the greatest surprise that the profile of the servant is exactly the same as the profile of the King of France engraved on the coins. So he immediately warns the police of the town and the royal family is arrested and brought back to Paris, under guard, still dressed as servants. When they return to Paris, the crowd greets them in silence.

On September 20, 1792, the Convention, elected by universal male suffrage and charged with writing a new constitution, meets and becomes the new de facto government of France.The next day the monarchy is abolished and the French republic is declared.

On January 17, 1793, the King is condemned to death for “conspiracy against the public liberty and the general safety” by a close majority (one vote) of the Convention: 361 voted to execute the King, 288 voted against, 72 voted to execute him subject to a variety of delaying conditions. On January 21 1793, the former French King now simply named Citizen Louis Capet is executed by guillotine (beheaded with a special machine invented by Monsieur Guillotin) in Revolution Square. Hundred of nobles are arrested and beheaded. Many emigrate abroad but the Revolutionary French Government publishes laws and resolutions against them if they ever try to return to France.

Jean-Baptiste de Gallean de Gadagne, 5th Duke of Gadagne (1756-1826), is worried about his castle in Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, and all its precious furniture, art masterpieces, and belongings in it. Now that he is not the ruler of the country anymore, and the nobles are hunt down and beheaded all over France, who is going to protect it from thieves and looters? He cannot move the castle, but he can take all his belongings from it. So one night, he and his brother, Marie Joseph Gaspard de Gallean de Gadagne (1758-1820), and a few servants with horse-pulled carts, enter the Gadagne Castle and quietly empty it of all the valuables, leaving only the bare walls, and take them to their palace in Avignon.

The Duchy of Gadagne is incorporated in the French Department of Vaucluse. The Convention sends “representatives of the people in mission” all over France to keep peace and stability through a reign of terror. They wear black uniforms with a huge blue, white and red badge on their hat. They are all powerful.

In Vaucluse, the “representative” is Monsieur Maignet. From June 19, 1794 to August 4, 1794, he sentences to death 332 nobles and antirevolutionnairies; the sentences are executed immediately. Between 12,000 and 15,000 people are incarcerated. How many of them are beheaded? We have no exact figure.

The Gadagne brothers decide to emigrate abroad and move to Switzerland. However their spouses, the beautiful Marie Polixene Sixte de Castellane (+1814; no children) and Marie Dorothee’ d’Augier (1763-1817; one child, Louis Auguste, born on 2-4-1789, in Avignon, the year the French Revolution started) do not feel threatened and remain in France to keep an eye on the Gadagne properties. However, while talking about the Gadagne Palace of Avignon built by Joseph-Louis-Marie, 4th Duke of Gadagne, General Roure states:”This palace witnessed many adventures of the Gallean-Gadagne during the French Revolution. It would take too much time to tell them all. They included the imprisonment of the Duchess of Gadagne, the emigration of the Duke and his brother, the fake divorce of the pretty Duchess, born Marie-Polixene-Sixte de Castellane”. We are talking about the emigration of the Duke and the fake divorce of his wife. But we know nothing about the “emprisonment of the Duchess and of everything else that it would take too much time to tell…” General Roure is of course telling the history of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne not of the Gadagne Family. It is a pity that the General knew so much more about the adventures of the Gadagne during the French Revolution” than what he is willing or has the time to write. And now, unhappily the General is dead. I hope, one day, to find out more about what the General did not say.

The French Government passes a law against the noble emigrates stating that the wives of the fugitive nobles can keep their own fortunes only if they divorce them. So they sequestrate all the Gadagne properties and goods of the region of Avignon. At this point both the wives of Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Joseph Gaspard de Gallean de Gadagne find a friendly priest who signs two fake divorce documents, and thus they regain their own properties.

General Roure consults the list of emigrated people of the Department of Vaucluse, kept in the City Archives of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne. The names of the two brothers (as Galean de Gadagne herebefore nobles) are listed there. What the French General finds interesting, and I do too, is that among the emigrates are not only the nobles and the wealthy middle-class, but also the people who worked for them like maitre d’hotels, wigmakers, perfumers, jewelers, fashion designers, etc.

The French Revolutionary Government decrees that any property belonging to a Noble shall be to be put on auction sale. Thus the Gadagne castle of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne is put on
auction sale. However the government does not put any soldiers to guard the empty castle. So the first night the inhabitants of Chateauneuf quietly invade the empty castle and
take everything they can easily take away like doors, windows, gates, tiles from the roof and so forth, to redecorate or enlarge their own private homes. The next morning the
authorities decide that it is no use to put the castle as it appears now on sale and thus abandon it. So in a few years little by little the inhabitants of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne completely destroy the
two floors added by the Gadagne on top of the old walls and use the stones to build new houses or fortify their old ones. They use the abandoned Gadagne castle as a stone
quarry, which as we said above does not exist in the area.

Even though the two floors were not rebuilt, the castle was restored by following owners and is now a very beautiful and pleasant Middle-Age castle. The actual owner. Madame Frederique Javier, rents rooms of it to tourists, and I, myself, spent a delightful week-end in it in 2005, while visiting the Gadagne castles and palaces of the area, with Professor Historian Edouard Lejeune, author of “The Lyon Saga of the Gadagne”, as a charming and very knowledgeable guide.

On page 142 of his above-mentioned book, Historian Lejeune describes the Gadagne castle:”Even though it always dominates the town of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne with its proud profile, the castle has been abundantly changed in the XX Century, to save it from complete ruin. Next to the sections belonging to the Middle-Ages, we can still admire the clever adjustments made by the Gadagne to transform the austere feudal fortress spiked with towers in a pleasant Renaissance dwelling with a large gallery ornating its façade.”

The French Revolution lasted 10 years, from 1789 to 1799. The worst part of it was called the “Reign of Terror” 1793-1794, during which from 16,000 to 40,000 people were beheaded or summarily executed. The Catholic Church was also persecuted during that period. In 1799, victorious general Napoleon Bonaparte took over the Directory who was governing France, and replaced it with three Consuls, of whom he was the most important and 5 years later, in 1804, he crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In the year 1800, Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Joseph-Gaspard de Gallean de Gadagne return to France. The nobles are not persecuted any more, law and order have returned with Napoleon. In 1802, the chief of the French Police, Joseph Fouche’, signs a decree which grants them amnesty. This decree of amnesty, signed by Fouche’, can be found in the archives of the city hall of Chateauneuf de Gadagne. Years before, being part of the Committee of the French Revolution, Fouche’ had voted for the beheading of King of France Louis XVI.

Marie-Joseph-Gaspard de Gallean is again an owner in Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne but not its ruler any more. He does not try to restore the half destroyed castle but lives in the large house of Campbeau, also known as “the Jail”. He participates in the political life of the town by becoming town councilor. At his death, the Prefect of the Department appoints his son, Louis Auguste de Gallean de Gadagne as town councilor to replace him.

In March 1819, a special guard is authorized by the Mayor to keep an eye on the forest of Saint-Jean belonging to the Gadagne. In 1894, the 6th Duke of Gadagne, Louis-Charles-Henri, who lives in Paris, writes a letter to the manager of his properties in Gadagne. According to General Roure these are the last written documents concerning the presence of the Dukes of Gadagne in Gadagne.

Jean-Baptiste de Gallean de Gadagne, 5th Duke of Gadagne, dies childless in Marseille (an important French city and port on the Mediterranean Sea, close to the Duchy of Gadagne and the Cote d’Azur) on September 9, 1826. His wife, Marie Polixene Sixte de Castellane dies a few years earlier, in 1814. Interesting detail: she leaves a dowry of 50,000 Francs to her niece Ernestine de Castellane (1788-1850). Why does she? Ernestine has a sister, Delphine, and Marie Polixene has nephews and nieces also from the Gallean de Gadagne side. Why does she favor Ernestine? A year later, Ernestine marries Joseph Fouche’, the chief of the French Police under Napoleon and one of the two most powerful men in France, who signed the decree of amnesty for Marie-Polixene’s husband and brother-in-law, Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Joseph-Gaspard de Gallean de Gadagne, 12 years earlier in 1802. Does Marie-Polixene foresee this marriage and want to show her gratitude to Fouche’ by leaving such big amount of money to his future wife?

In 1814, the year Marie Polixene dies, Fouche’(1759-1820) is 55 years old and Ernestine 26. He has been one of the most powerful persons under Napoleon’s empire. He was the head of all the secret police of Napoleon. Everyday he would give Napoleon a little sheet of paper with everything new and important everybody that mattered in France had done the day before. Napoleon read it carefully every day. He made Fouche’ Duke of Otranto. Fouche’ accumulated a huge fortune. Fouche’ married Bonne Jeanne Coiquaud (1763-1812) in 1792 and had 7 children with her, 3 of which died as infants. The other four were 3 sons, Joseph-Liberte’(1796-1862), Armand (1800-1878), Athanase (1801-1886) and one daughter, Josephine (1803+-1893).

Author MOULIN A. E. wrote a book: “Fouche’s great love, Ernestine de Castellane”, Libr. Acad. Perrin, Paris, 1937. Fouche’s first wife died in 1812. Maybe in 1814, when Marie-Polixene left her inheritance to Ernestine, Fouche’s desire to marry the latter was already known, at least by her close family. It could be the reason why grateful Marie Polixene, who, according to General Roure had been in jail herself and probably had feared for her life, gave that money to the future Duchess of Otranto.

In 1815, Napoleon loses the battle of Waterloo against the allied forces of British and Prussians, and is sent in exile to the small island of St. Helena, where he dies in 1821 (some say slowly poisoned by the British who own the island). Louis XVI’s younger brother, Louis XVIII, returns to France and becomes its King. Everything seems to return to normal, as it was before the French Revolution. When the exiled French nobility return to their castles, some people mutter: “They have not learnt anything and they have not forgotten anything”.

Fouche’ is able to become the friend of the new King of France. However, the reactionary Royalists, called “The White Terror”, remember that Fouche’ voted for the death of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution and succeed in having Fouche’ banished from France. He dies in exile, from sadness, in Trieste, Italy in 1820.

Why do I talk so much about Fouche’? Well, by marriage he was the nephew of Jean-Baptiste de Gallean, 5th Duke of Gadagne. But there is more to it.

Fouche’s third son, Athanase (1801-1886), was only 14 when his father was banished from France. He probably followed his father abroad, with his siblings and his stepmother Ernestine de Castellane. He became Swedish citizen in 1822 (2 years after his father’s death. He was only 19) and registered himself in the Swedish nobility as Duke of Otranto. He becomes cavalry captain in the Swedish army and chamberlain of the King of Sueden, Oscar 1st. Now, who is King Oscar 1st? He is the son of Desiree’ Clary, Napoleon’s ex girlfriend and fiancee’.

So the stepson of Ernestine de Castellane, niece of the 5th Duke of Gadagne, becomes the Chamberlain of King Gustav Ist of Sweden, son of Napoleon’s girlfriend! It looks like the script of a good movie. And in fact a movie called “The fabulous destiny of Desiree’ Clary”was made by Sacha Guitry in 1942 and another one called “Desiree’” was made by Henry Koster in 1954.

Desiree’ (1777-1860) was the daughter of the wealthy silk merchant Francois Clary, from Marseille, France. She was the youngest of 14 children Francois had in two marriages. In 1794, when she was 16, she started dating Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother. Napoleon (1769-1821) was 25 at that time and he described her thus: “…She was sixteen, sweet, good-hearted and very lively. She had pretty eyes and average height. She was not ugly, nor extremely beautiful, but you were struck by her kindness, gentleness and tender feelings.” However Joseph changed his mind and married Desiree’s older sister Julie. So young Napoleon proposed to her and on April 25 1795, they were officially engaged.

However, a few months later, on October 15, 1795, Napoleon is introduced by his friend Paul Barras to Josephine de Beauharnais, a beautiful Creole from Haiti. She is 6 years older than he is, she has already been married and has two children. Nevertheless Napoleon leaves Desiree’ and marries Josephine. He feels bad about it however and writes many letters to Desiree’.

In December 1797, when Desiree’ is 20, she is officially engaged again and is going to marry Brigade General Leonard Duphot. However, Leonard is killed in Rome by the soldiers of the Pope, while he is in the palace of the French Amnbassador, her ex-boyfriend Joseph Bonaparte.

Finally, 8 months later, on August 17, 1798, Desiree’ marries French General Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. They have a son, Oscar, 10 months later, on July 4, 1799. The following year (things happen fast in Desiree’s life), on August 21, 1810, General Bernadotte is elected King of Sweden. Desiree’ moves to Sweden with her son in January 1811. However she does not like Sweden and after six months she returns alone to Paris, France, where she spends the rest of her life. She only returns to Sweden in 1823 for the marriage of her son. On that occasion she is crowned Queen of Sweden and Norway under the name of “Desideria”. Her husband, who reigned under the name of Karl XIV Johan, succeeding King Karl XIII who was childless, dies in 1844, and their son Oscar becomes King of Sweden and Norway under the name of Oscar 1st.

While Bernadotte was French general under Napoleon, he got in trouble twice with his Emperor. Fouche’ got him out of trouble both times. So when young Athanase Fouche’ emigrated to Sweden, King Bernadotte surely remembered the favors his father did him and helped the 19 year old become cavalry officer, chamberlain and Swedish noble.

For 4 generations, the Fouche’ are cavalry officers of the Kings of Sweden. Eventually Gustaf Fouche’, Duke of Otranto, (1912-1995) marries Christina von Rosen (1939-), whose sister Elsa von Rosen (1904-1991) marries Prince Carl Bernadotte, of the Royal Family of Sweden, great-grandson, of Desiree’ and King Karl XIV Johan (General Bernadotte). So now a step-descendant of Ernestine de Castellane, niece of the 5th Duke of Gadagne, is brother-in-law of a Royal Prince of Sweden. Is this kinship between the Gadagne and the Royal Family of Sweden far-fetched? Maybe. But it was fun looking for it.


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Let’s return to the Dukes of Gadagne in France. As we know Jean-Baptiste, 5th Duke of Gadagne, dies childless in 1826. His brother, Marie-Joseph Gaspard, has a son, Auguste-Louis, who inherits from his uncle. He renounces however his title of Duke of Gadagne, and is known as “Count of Gadagne” (Count is less than Duke in the hierarchy of titles of nobility). As Count of Gadagne he is enlisted in the Knights of Malta. He marries Mathilde Gentil de Saint Alphonse.


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On June 26, 1837, they have a son, Louis-Charles-Henry, whose title of Duke of Gadagne is confirmed by French Emperor Napoleon III, nephew of Emperor Napoleon 1st in 1861. So he is the 6th and last Duke of Gadagne. On July 1st, 1868, in Paris, he marries Helene-Caroline Joest. They have a daughter, Marie-Caroline who marries Marquis Rene’ de Portes. The 6th Duke of Gadagne lives and dies at 88 years old (1925) in the Gadagne castle of Montellier, in Courthezon, Vaucluse, a few miles from the Duchy of Gadagne. With him, after close to 450 years, the French branch of the Guadagni ends.


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Mathilde-Caroline de Gadagne and her husband Rene’ de Portes have two daughters, Francoise (1894-1948) and Anne (1895-2001, she dies at 106 years old), who marry two brothers, Marquis Charles de Galard Magnas (1890-1957) and Gerard de Galard de L”Isle (1888-1954), and a son Count Henri de Portes who marries Helene Rebuffel 1902-1940). They all have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They still live in the Gadagne Castle of Montellier or at least use it as the main family meeting place.

When I contacted by mail Simone de Galard, Charles de Galard Magnas’ daughter, introducing myself as a Guadagni offshoot and telling her about our vibrant and lively family in three continents, she was surprised. She thought the Guadagni Family were extinct in France as much as abroad. She was very pleased to find out it was not true and we corresponded for a long time. As you can see in the family tree of the Dukes of Gadagne and their descendants the Galard are a numerous family. They consider themselves our cousins and are always very pleased if we contact them.


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