3 - The Barons of Narbonne-Caylus, From 1516 - 1706
Béatrice de FAUGERES, wife of
a) 1516 : Jean de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, + 1534
Claude de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1534 1578
b) 1540, Jean de CLERMONT
* Françoise de CLERMONT, wife of Robert de NARBONNE
* Beatrix de NARBONNE, wife of Etienne de CAYLUS, Lord of COLOMBIERES (1578 1585)
Jean de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, son of Claude de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1585 1626
Henri de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1626 1659
Jacques de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1659 1675
Pierre de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1675 1687
Jean Gabriel Henri de NARBONNE-CAYLUS, 1687 - 1706
Jean de Narbonne-Caylus, having married Béatrice de Faugères, became Baron of Lunas. When he died in 1534, his son Claude inherited the baronetcy of Faugères, Lunas and other property.
His widow, Béatrice, who inherited the districts of Sourlan and Serremejane, remarried Jean de Clermont on 12th October 1540 with whom she had a daughter, Françoise de Clermont.
Claude de Narbonne embraced the Protestant religion, married Marguerite de Gep de Fos in 1544, who brought with her as dowry the feudal lordship of Roquessels.
Quite early on, Baron Claude proved himself to be very authoritarian and in addition to the usual feudal demands of the people, levied extra heavy taxes on corn, oil, wine and wood. The people considered these taxes to be inaffordable and appealed to the Parliament to arbitrate.
However, Claude de Narbonne-Caylus is primarily remembered in history as a warrior.
Along with his wife, he was a "Huguenot" while his mother Béatrice and almost the whole population of Lunas remained catholic. He participated actively in the forefront of six religious wars and from 1562 to 1577 was almost permanently on active service.
During those 15 years, he was in battle throughout the whole Lower-Languedoc, where the fighting between Catholics and Protestants sadly lead to brutality and death with brothers often on opposing sides.
He was very brave, sometimes cruel and became known as one of the great leaders of the Huguenots. After the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre, he assumed the role of Head of Command of the reformed army of Béziers, Narbonne and Lodève, having violently sacked the latter on 4th July 1573. He went so far as to defile the shrine of Saint Fulcran, which the population of Lodève deeply venerated.
As a result, the fearsome Baron provoked implacable grudges.
A group that apparently even included his mother Béatrice, hatched a plot and he was betrayed and murdered on a night in February 1578 while he was in the Lunas castle together with a Captain Noguier and a garrison of 30 men.
It is said that his head was taken to Lodève and dragged through the streets, just as he had earlier done with the relics of Saint-Fulcran.
At dawn the following morning, his mother Béatrice de Caylus, at the age of 74, announced to the farmers and inhabitants of Lunas, that people had entered the castle by surprise during the night and assassinated the Baron. She also announced that she would take back her fiefdom as well as the castle and the city (SEGUI).
In practice, she entrusted Etienne de Caylus with the Baronetcy, who was Lord of Colombières and husband of Béatrix, daughter of Françoise de Clermont. Beatrix was the half-sister of Claude, and by this action, his son, Jean de Narbonne-Caylus lost his inheritance.
This was an additional grievance to the grudge Jean de Narbonne already held with regard to the apparent impunity his father’s murderers enjoyed.
From that moment, at the beginning of the seventh religious war, he willingly answered the call of the King of Navarra and conquering Cabrières agreed to its restitution in December 1584.
The royal edict of 18th January 1585, cancelled all previous agreements to religious tolerance and gave the Calvinists six months to leave the kingdom thereby reviving the war.
Because of the rivalries between the Houses of Montmorency and Joyeuse, the Languedoc had been practically divided in two: between those loyal to the duke and those declaring allegiance to the House of Joyeuse.
Montmorency, supported by quite a strong army, decided to take control of the Joyeuse lands. After having taken Lodève in October 1585, a contingent of 800 soldiers, under the orders of Captain Granier, was sent to besiege the castle of Lunas, where Joyeuse had left a garrison and where since the death of the Baron Claude, Béatrice (wife of Faugères, known as " the old woman ") and Etienne de Caylus, Lord of Colombières, were still living.
The siege lasted ten days before the garrison was granted an honourable capitulation.
Colombières had to surrender with his troops at Capestang.
Jean de Narbonne-Caylus was given back his father’s castle although his grandmother, Béatrice de Faugères, was authorized to go on living there with two servants.
With regard to Baron Claude’s widow (known as " the young woman "), she continued to live as was her wish, in Faugères; perhaps she wanted to stay far away from the place where her husband had been murdered.
The death of the "the old woman" Béatrice in 1588 did not change her decision.
The new Lord of Lunas married Antoinette du Caylar, the daughter of his friend Lord of Espondeilhan, on 1st January 1589.
They lead a happy and loving life together behind the walls of the Redondel, because while Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarra, undertook the conquest of the northern provinces, peace and calm had returned to southern France.
Baron Jean enjoyed hunting stags and roe deer locally and was known to be kind and generous towards the people of his lands. He levied such low taxes that the inhabitants added voluntarily at different occasions " galines et conils " (chicken and rabbits).
Antoinette du Caylar bore him three sons: Guilhaume in 1597, who died very young; Henri on 15th July 1604 and finally Jacques in 1607.
But due to the Calvinists being reluctant to accept the restoration of Catholicism in the Béarn region, a rebellion developed in the protestant Lower- Languedoc in 1621. A struggle began that closely resembled the religious wars of the 16th Century and was almost worse because both sides attacked farms, sacking the villages and ruining the crops.
Early in 1622, the Duke of Montmorency ordered Rignac, accompanied by a group of law enforcers, to closely inspect Lunas as it was a key point on the route from Rouergue to the plains. With a troop of 40 musketeers and a similar number of soldiers from the Languedoc regiments, he broke down the portal of " Redondel ", and rapidly surrounded the castle. After having placed a mine under the great tower, the full attack took place the next morning. Jean de Narbonne’s situation was critical and he was only saved at the last minute by the arrival of his brother, Henri d’Espondeilhan, who brought with him an agreement that allowed the end of the battle.
Jean de Narbonne’s life was saved but he had to give up Lunas and Faugères. Two days later, he left Lunas with 80 soldiers and Rignac took over the commandment.
Faugères on the other hand, where the inhabitants refused to open the gates, was bombarded for a whole week.
Through the intermediary of his brother-in-law d’Espondeilhan, who guaranteed his loyalty to the French crown, the Baron Jean de Narbonne managed to get back his Lunas castle in 1625.
On his death, the following year (1626), the feudal lordship went to his second son, Henri de Narbonne, who was only 22. With the fervour and energy of youth, he did not feel tied to the promises of his father and allied himself with the Duke of Rohan and went to war for him.
The reaction of Montmorency was immediate. First of all, his troops razed the castle of Faugères and than attacked that of Lunas, whose starving army surrendered after a five week siege on 26th February 1627. The castle’s control was handed over to Montmorency’s brother, Annibal.
The Languedoc Protestants, loyal to the Duke of Rohan, were cornered in the Cevennes and learned about the fall of La Rochelle. Submission was the only solution and they recognised Cardinal Richelieu’s “Grace of Alais”, guaranteeing them freedom of religion and equality with Catholics, under the condition that military organizations were disbanded and fortifications destroyed.
The eagle’s nest castle of "Redondel" had come to the end of its life.
Henri de Narbonne was only 25 at this time and fulfilling the agreement, destroyed the fortified castle. Instead, a chateau was built at the foot of the Redondel at the confluence of the St. Georges and Gravezon.
It is not known when Isabeau de Vignolles, his first wife, died but the Baron married again in 1641. Isabeau de Bargelon gave him two sons, Pierre and Jean Gabriel Henri, as well as a daughter, Anne-Isabeau.
On the death of Henri de Narbonne-Caylus Baron of Faugères, Lunas, Sourlan and other villages, on 27th September 1659, his younger brother, Jacques de Narbonne inherited the lordship and passed it on to his nephew, Pierre de Narbonne, by a decree dated 21st September 1675. Following the anullment of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Baron Pierre de Narbonne renounced his faith and with his family received communion and confirmation in the parish church St. Pancrace in Lunas on 6th May 1686. This was from the venerable bishop and Lord of Béziers, Arnaud Jean de Rotondy de Biscaras.
It is probable that Baron Pierre’s renouncement had more political than religious reasons, because in 1687 he left France and emigrated to Berlin, where he died in 1694.
However his younger brother, Jean Gabriel Henri, was completely obedient to the French crown. As Marquis of Faugères, Lord of Lunas and elsewhere, his lands were returned and he was knighted with the order of St. Louis and " Mestre de camp " of the cavalry.
He married Marie-Anne de Pascal de St Félix in 1704, but this union did not
have a happy future, because less than two years later, in 1706, Jean
Gabriel Henri de Narbonne-Caylus died on the battlefield as part of the
Italian army, at the beginning of the Spanish wars of succession.