The house was built for Hugues Pontard, Lord of Champdeniers, the king’s attorney in Saintonge. He died in 1564. His son François Pontard, mayor in from 1567 to 1568, lived there and decided independently to call upon Louis de Condé, and to attach the city, which had so far remained neutral, to the Protestant party.
At the end of the street stood the Augustinian monastery, deserted by the monks in 1562 and then used by the Protestants for worship. The 1571 a synod was held in the monk’s refectory. It was presided over by Théodore de Bèze, who ratified the text of the Confession of faith composed by the 1559 synod in Paris. The second marriage of Gaspard de Coligny with Jacqueline de Montbel d’Entremont, princess of Savoie, as well as the marriage of the admiral’s daughter with Charles de Téligny (1535-1572), were both celebrated there in 1571. In 1584 Jean Guiton, the famous mayor during the Grand Siege, was baptised there.
Progress in the tour
Return to the route
Louis de Condé (1530-1569)
Louis de Condé descended from Louis IX (Saint Louis) was the Protestant leader during the first three Wars of Religion, until the battle in Jarnac where he was wounded and then murdered
Fourth war of Religion and Saint Bartholomew (1572-1573)
8 August 1570: Edict of Saint-Germain
Spring 1572: escalation of repression in the Netherlands Gaspard de Coligny returned to the Court
18 August 1572: Wedding of Henri de Navarre with Marguerite de Valois
22 August 1572: Attempt on Gaspard de Coligny’s life
24-28 August 1572: Saint Bartholomew massacre – Death of Gaspard de Coligny
“Saint Bartholomew Season” spread to provinces for several months – between 10,000 and 20,000 died.
Renewed fighting in the South. Siege of Sommières
March 1573: Siege of Sancerre
10 May 1573: Election of Duke Henri d’Anjou to the throne in Poland
March-August 1573: Siege of La Rochelle by Duke Henri d’Anjou
11 July 1573: Edict of Boulogne
The house of Jean Guiton (3 rue des Merciers)
Gaspard de Coligny (1519-1572)
Gaspard de Coligny born in the influential Châtillon family, was naturally at the service of the King of France. However, after being made prisoner at the siege of Saint Quentin, he converted to the Reformation, then became one of the military commanders of the Protestant party, and fought against the Crown and the Guise. He was murdered during the Saint Bartholomew massacre in 1572.
Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605)
Theodore Beza was one of the most prominent figures in the Reform movement. He supported Calvin and succeeded him as moderator, i.e. president, of the Company of pastors in Geneva. He relentlessly defended the Calvinist doctrine, the discipline of the Church and its synodal-Presbyterian organisation. He left noteworthy historic and literary writings. The only aim of his actions was to strengthen the Reform movement assaulted by Roman Catholicism and rivaled by German Lutheranism.
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.