Blaise de Montluc, a disfigured warrior in Estillac

B. de MontlucB. de Montluc | ©Leipzig University Library / Public domain

Portrait of a warrior

Monluc... He was first duke of Lorraine’s squire, then he went in Italy in 1421 when marshal de Lautrec hired him in his army.

He won every battle: Pavia, Bicocca, Ceresole... Blaise was king François I’s comrade in arms, and he shined by his bravery and his cruelty.

Then he became Guyenne’s governor in 1463: he started to track Protestants in Agen area, without respite, with the same aggressiveness!

He wrote in a book: “People knew where I went, because in trees, we could see my enemies' bodies hanging"!

After his busy career, he moved in his Estillac estate and wrote his "Memories"... then king Henri III gave him the marshal’s baton!

His castle

Well, we are here, near Agen, in the oldest castle (13th century) of the area!

It was probably the D’Estillac family who built the primitive fortress. Then it fell to D’Albret family, by marriage then to the Mondenard in the 15th century. And the Monluc turned up...

The last of the Mondenard married François de Lasseran de Montesquiou, lord of Monluc, in 1509... Blaise’s parents!

This one inherited the castle when his uncle died in 1154. Blaise restored the place and raised a surrounding wall flanked by bastions, in 1570.

Oh, he became governor of Guyenne in 1563, so he had time to spend here, with his family and his second wife, Isabeau de Beauville.

Blaise spent here the last 20 years of his life: he wrote his Commentaires book, a real "Soldiers Bible" said king Henri IV! It deals with the military life in the 16th century...

Blaise died in the castle in 1577... besides, he was buried in the chapel: nowadays his recumbent figure is in the park...

The castle then fell to Blaise’s grandsons and to his daughter Suzanne. Then Estillac fell to the Escoubleau de Sourdis family in the 17th century.