Jacques Nompar de Caumont

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Jacques Nompar de Caumont (born October 30, 1558 , † May 10, 1652 ) was Seigneur, Marquis, 1st Duke of La Force, Peer of France , also Governor of Béarn , Viceroy of Navarre under King Henry IV and Maréchal de France under King Ludwig XIII. He left extensive memoirs.

Jacques Nompar de Caumont la Force


Bartholomew's Night and the de Caumont family

His father, eldest brother, and other members of the de Caumont family came to Paris to attend the wedding of Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois . They lived on Rue de Seine in the suburb of Saint-Germain-des-Près . As Protestants, they were among the people who were to be secretly eliminated during the massacre on St. Bartholomew's Night. The time set by the soldiers to enter the Faubourg Saint-Germain-des-Près and to start the action was long enough for some of the Protestants to escape, such as Jean II de Ferrières , Seigneur de Maligny and Vidame de Chartres, Gabriel de Lorges , Comte de Montgomery, who fatally injured Henry II in a hunting accident, and also his uncle Geoffroy de Caumont. Since his eldest son was ill, François de Caumont and his relatives decided not to flee. They were initially unmolested, but were seized and massacred on the following Tuesday by a troop of soldiers under the Comte de Coconat in the rue des Petits-Champs. Jaques pretended to be dead, it helped that he was covered by the bodies of his father and brother. Covered in blood, he was saved by a jeu de paume player and taken to his aunt, the Protestant Jeanne de Gontaut, sister of Maréchal Armand de Gontaut, seigneur de Biron . The latter, who was only a superficial Catholic, hid Jaques in the library of the arsenal.

La Force remained loyal to Henri de Navarre throughout his life. He was in the royal carriage when Heinrich was murdered by François Ravaillac on May 14, 1610 .

Military career

After St. Bartholomew's Night, Caumont entered the service of the King of Navarre, under whose special protection he was. He accompanied him on his campaigns and, due to his unshakable loyalty, was given an important role in the administration of his home region of Périgord in 1588 . Between 1590 and 1592 ( Eighth Huguenot War ) he took part in the sieges of Paris , Chartres and Rouen . On March 1, 1593 he became governor and lieutenant-général of Béarn and Navarre . In 1621, during the First Huguenot Revolution, he and his sons Jean de Caumont de la Force, Marquis de Montpouillan and Henri Nompar de Caumont, Marquis de Castelnau , Duc de la Force, successfully defended Montauban against the siege by Louis XIII.

After he had handed over the Sainte-Foy-la-Grande under his command to the king's troops after a short siege in 1622 without a fight, he was rewarded with the charge of Capitaine des Gardes and the rank of Maréchal de France. In 1637 he was made Duke and Peer of France. Together with his son Armand Nompar he took an active part in the wars of Louis XIII. and Cardinal Richelieu attended.

At the age of 76 he conquered the fortress of La Mothe , defended by Antoine de Choiseul d'Ische , and d'Ische was killed.

Jacques Nompar de Caumont died on May 10, 1652 at the age of 94 in his castle "La Force" on the Dordogne .

The Prison de la Force (in the background)

His house in Paris was later converted into a prison and served as such under the name "Prison de la Force" from 1780 to 1845.


Jacques Nompar de Caumont was the son of François de Caumont, Seigneur de Castelnau and the Philippa de Beaupoil. On February 5, 1577 he married Charlotte de Gontaut-Biron, daughter of Maréchal Armand de Gontaut-Biron and his wife Jeanne, Dame d'Ornesan. The latter died in June 1635 after giving birth to 10 children.

  1. Armand Nompar de Caumont , Marquis, then Duc de la Force, * before 1580, Maréchal de France, † 1675.
  2. Jean Nompar de Caumont, Duc de la Force, Marquis de Montpouillan, * 1581, † 1621. He took part in the siege of Montauban and the siege of Tonneins , in the latter he died.
  3. Henri Nompar de Caumont, Duc de la Force, Marquis de Castelnau , * 1582, † 1678. He took part in the siege of Montauban .
  4. Jacques Nompar de Caumont, Seigneur de Mas-Durand.
  5. Charles Nompar de Caumont, Seigneur de Mas-Durand.
  6. Pierre Nompar de Caumont, Baron d'Eymet.
  7. Jean Jacob Nompar de Caumont, Marquis de Tonneins.
  8. François Nompar de Caumont, Marquis de Castelmoron , Seigneur de Montpouillan, Maréchal de camp , Governor of Béarn, Governor of the Principality of Montbéliard and the County of Belfort.
  9. Jacqueline Nompar de Caumont.
  10. Isabelle Nompar de Caumont.


Individual evidence

  1. Alain Hugon, Au service du Roi Catholique, “honorables ambassadeurs” et “divins espions”: représentation diplomatique et service secret dans les relations hispano-françaises de 1598 à 1635 , Casa de Velázquez, 2004, p. 84 (French)
  2. Arlette Jouanna: La Saint-Barthélémy. Les mystères d'un crime d'État, 24 août 1572. Gallimard, Paris 2007. ISBN 978-2-07-077102-8
  3. Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Jullien de Courcelles, Dictionnaire historique et biographique des généraux français , 1822, p. 63 (French)
  4. Colonel Édouard Hardy de Périni: "Batailles françaises" p. 25
  5. Généalogie de Jacques de CAUMONT La Force sur geneanet.org
  6. La Force sur Grand Dictionnaire Universel du XIXe sciècle Les Caumont-La Force sur racineshistoire (P6)
  7. Également écrit Masdurant