The sentences imposed
on Protestants

The Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) and various decrees of 1686 imposed penalties on Protestants.

Galley-rowing, imprisonment, death penalty

  • Marc Dautry : In memory of the convicts on the galleys - Aigues-Mortes © O. d'Haussonville

« A life sentenced to rowing in the galleys, or imprisonment for women : for Protestants who attempted to leave the country, for those who provided help to pastors in hiding or for any public expression of the Reformed faith ». The members of the Reformed Church could be convicted, whether they be fugitives arrested at the country’s borders, people suspected of helping the fugitives or worshippers caught while attending an illegal meeting. Similar sentences could be imposed on the new converts also suspected of practising in secret.

The death penalty was reserved for pastors, preachers or smugglers who helped the fugitives.

There were also post mortem sentences : if it turned out that a “newly converted” dead person had actually remained Protestant deep down, his body was exhumed, dragged on a hurdle and then thrown away. His bequests were confiscated.

Progress in the tour

Associated notes

  • The Edict of Fontainebleau or the Revocation (1685)

    In October 1685, Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau which repealed the Edict of Nantes. It banned Protestant worship and the emigration of Protestants. Pastors were banished.
  • Sentenced to the galleys

    Roughly 550 galley-rowers spent up to thirty years of their life in galleys for refusing to renounce their faith.
  • The prison sentence

    Women and children that were too young to serve as galley-rowers were sent to prison. However, many men were kept in prison for long periods of time, some before they...
  • Death penalty

    The death penalty was likely for pastors that came back to France, smugglers that had helped them leave the country, the faithful caught at an “underground” meeting.

Associated tours