Terrible! Prince de Talmont's last moments in Laval castle

The castleThe castle | ©Romain Bréget / CC-BY-SA

The last La Trémoille

Just imagine. You are in Laval, during French Revolution. Do you see this gory head, with features distorted with horror, crowning the entrance door of the castle? Awful. At that time, the fortress belonged to last lords of Laval, the La Trémoille.

Oh, of course! The proud La Trémoille, a famous family we met in Thouars, do you remember? One of them, Antoine-Philippe de la Trémoille, prince of Talmont, became the leader of the royal army during Revolutionary wars in Vendée.

Gory wars

At that time, those anti-Revolution wars ravaged Western France. People, peasants in majority, refused to be involved in the Revolution. They never accepted the Revolution. They were attached to monarchy.

So, when the brand new power decided to enlist 300000 men, to fight against European monarchies who wanted to attack Paris, people from Vendée refused. And a riot took place. Then, the war. The royal and Catholic army was founded, with famous leaders like Cathelineau, d’Elbée, Charrette... and La Trémoille.

Arrested after a long struggle, he didn’t admit defeat. He said, during his first interrogation: "I’m prince of Talmont, 88 battles with the Blues (the Republican army, Ed) didn’t scare me. I’ll die like I lived." The people representative answered: "You’re an aristocratic and I’m a patriot." "Do your job, I’ll do my duty."

The blade falls

Talmont was guillotined in front of his castle’s ancestors. He was 28 years old. The scene took place one cold night of January 1794. The gallows stood in front of the castle’s entrance. La Trémoille get up, serene.

His last words? "Long live the king!" Just before the fall of the blade... They put his head on a pike, displayed on the castle’s entrance gate. Two years later, they buried this "trophy" in the inner courtyard.