Until 1568 church, built in the late 12th century, housed every Quasimodo Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter) the election of the mayor, chosen by the king’s representative from a list of three candidates appointed by the one hundred members of the City’s Authorities.
In 1558, for the first time, the principles of the Reformation were publicly preached there by Pierre David, chaplain of the king and queen Marguerite de Navarre, then staying in the city.
When the Protestants of La Rochelle became too numerous to meet in private houses, they used Saint Bartholomew Church, as well as Saint Sauveur Church for worship alternately with the Catholics. This practice lasted for a few months in 1561 and in 1562, before it was forbidden by king’s order. After La Rochelle joined the party of Condé in 1568, all the churches in the city were destroyed by the Protestants, and the stones were used to strengthen the fortifications. The bell towers alone were kept to be used as watch and defensive towers.
Progress in the tour
A walk through Protestant La Rochelle
As early as 1546, La Rochelle was one of the major cities in the kingdom won over to the Reformation.
La Rochelle had been an economic and maritime power since the 12th century, and did business with all the Protestant Northern states, namely England, the Netherlands and the Hanseatic cities.
In 1628, La Rochelle was taken by Louis XIII’s troops which ended Protestant supremacy of the city.
Upon the revocation in 1685 the inhabitants left the city massively. In 1802 there were only a thousand Protestants left.
The Protestant memory is still very present in La Rochelle, see the Rochelais museum and the tour around the city.