The facade of Jean Guiton’s house was renovated in the 18th century. He was mayor of La Rochelle during the Great Siege in of 1627-1628.
Jean Guiton belonged to an ancient Rochelais family of which several members played an important role: firstly his grandfather Jacques, mayor in 1575 who distinguished himself during the 1573 siege, and then his father, Sieur de l’Hourmeau, mayor in 1587.
Jean Guiton, Sieur de Repose-Pucelle (1584-1654), was appointed admiral of the Rochelais fleet when political and religious unrest returned. In 1622 he fought against the Duke of Guise with the greatest courage, but was severely defeated three years later.
Nevertheless he was elected mayor on 31 April 1628, in the midst of the siege, and succeeded Jean Godefroy with 75 votes out of 82 voters. He devoted all his energy to defending the town against Louis XIII, but famine decimated the inhabitants and he was forced to surrender in late October 1628. He was suspended from his duties and exiled for six months. In 1636 he accepted to run command a vessel of the Royal fleet, and took part in the siege of Fontarabie in 1638. About ten years later he withdrew to his lands of Repose-Pucelle near La Jarrie. In 1654 he died there, a faithful subject of the king, but he never had recanted his Protestant faith.
Progress in the tour
The last religious wars (1621-1629)
Under Louis XIII, in the wake of the Béarn case, the Protestants rebelled against the king. After their defeat, they lost their political assemblies and their strongholds and as a result fully depended on the king’s good will.
The Town hall square
La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)
La Rochelle was prominent protestant city as early as 1530-1540. Protestants first used Catholic churches for their services, sometimes in simultaneum, as was often the case in the early days of the Reformed faith.
Henri de Rohan (1574-1638)
Henri de Rohan, a protestant from Brittany, had the privilege of being protected by Henri IV, and at the king’s death he became the leader of the reformed protestants in 1610. He was forced into exile because of the battles he had fought against the royal army in the Languedoc area of the Midi and also his refusal to give up his faith. But while away from France, he spent his time profitably by writing geopolitical treaties.
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.