Caumont family in Les Milandes castle: crime, blood and tears

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The castle - ©David Perbost / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©David Perbost / CC-BY-SA
Les Milandes castle Castle Tragic destiny Geoffroy de Caumont Wars of Religion

The Caumont in Les Milandes

Blood and tears

But what about the castle past? Well, François de Caumont and his wife Claude de Cardaillac, tired of their medieval fortress of Castelnaud, decided to raise a brand new house in 1489, a few kilometres away. They would move in Les Milandes and if they needed, they could take shelter in Castelnaud in case of war… François' son, Charles de Caumont, inherited the castle in 1515.

But a disastrous fate waited 3 of his 4 sons, converted to Protestantism from 1528: François died in 1462, murdered by duke de Guise's henchmen; Geoffroy was poisoned in 1574 in the castle; the third one was killed on the Saint-Bartholomew's Day Massacre...

Poisoned mushrooms and bloody night

Middle of the 16th c. Geoffroy de Caumont, a Catholic guy, just changed religion (protestantism). So did his brothers. Do you remember? We met Geoffroy in the castle of Castelnaud, the fief of the family of Caumont, with his wife Marguerite de Lustrac and their only daughter Anne, heiress of her parents’ huge fortune, kidnapped several times...

So, in 1572, when king of Navarre (the future king of France Henri IV) married the pretty queen Margot in Paris, Geoffroy was so happy to be invited to the wedding with his elder brother François and his 2 nephews. The wedding had to reconcile Protestants and Catholics...

But the party ended on the gory night of the Saint-Bartholomew's Day Massacre, where king Charles IX’s Catholics murdered more than 3000 Huguenots. François de Caumont and one of his son were also killed that night… His youngest son, sheltered under his father and brother’s corpses, get out of the situation, so did Geoffroy who ran away towards Les Milandes!

2 years later, some poisoned mushrooms (his weakness) will killed Geoffroy, a plot made by Protestant lords who wanted to see him dead… After his death, his wife Marguerite de Lustrac get Les Milandes back and asked the brave protestant captain Geoffroy de Vivans to protect the place: with this guy, nothing to fear! The castle will be safe.

A traitor, a royal lover

Aah, let’s get back to the point: what about the man who hide himself under his father’s corpse during St-Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. He’ll become the future marshal of France France Jacques Nompar de Caumont! King Henri IV’s loyal comrade in arms… that he betrayed in 1600 with Henri de Rohan: so all his castles were destroyed. He get king’s forgiveness, who appointed him marshal of France.

And do you know what? Among his descendants, we find the famous duke de Lauzun, queen Marie-Antoinette’s lover...

And yet, Caumont family kept their castle until the French Revolution, where it was sold but spared from damages. A fire destroyed les Milandes in 1860, so his new owner, general Tournier, decided to raise the burnt wing into neoclassical style. And then : you know the end of the story ! Joséphine Baker owned Les Milandes. Maybe some quiet times for our castle ?


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