The ancient Gargoulleau house(22 rue Gargoulleau)

  • La Rochelle, former Gargoulleau house © Musée Rochelais d'Histoire Protestante

The door is probably that of the Gargoulleau room, one of the first Protestant worship places, which belonged to a family who were convinced by the Reformation early on and played a key role in the history of the city.

The Protestants of La Rochelle quickly became too numerous to ‘squeeze in into private homes’ and had a difficulty finding large enough places for their meetings. In 1561-1562 they temporarily used the Saint-Michel and Gargoulleau rooms and then, alternating with the Catholics, the Saint-Sauveur and Saint Bartholomew Churches. Later on they met at Pré Maubec, in conformity with the Edict of January 1563 allowing public worship only in the suburbs.

In July 1563 the king granted them the official authorisation to use the Saint-Michel and Gargoulleau rooms where pews had been installed. It was an era  of massive conversions to Protestantism, for instance in the Gargoulleau room alone 1,659 christenings were performed between 1563 and 1566.

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