Bernon was a wealthy ancient family of La Rochelle, one of them was the city’s mayor in 1398 1938. They converted early to the Reformation and financially supported Henri IV during his late wars to become king after Henri III’s death.
Several Bernons went into exile after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, notably Gabriel, considered in 1683 as the most important trader with Canada and who played a key role in America, especially in Boston, Rhode Island and Providence where he died in 1736.
As for the members of the family who had remained in La Rochelle, their house was used as a worship place when Protestantism semi-clandestinely reconstituted itself after 1755: the pastor would go from one group of followers, tolerated by the authorities, to another who met in friendly houses.
The very rich Bernons in the 18th century had the Hotel built in 1757. One can note the influence of the classical plan of Parisian houses with a high wall on the street joining the two side wings and with a monumental portal in the middle.
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