Château Beychevelle: Jean de Foix

Jean de Foix had already lived an eventful life before Louis XI gave him this gift. He hailed from the little kingdom of Foix, which lay between Toulouse and the Pyrenees. The noble house of Foix were more likely to feel allegiance to the kingdom of Navarre, or even with England, than with France. Like Gaston, Jean de Foix had for many years sided with the English. He knew the land around Bordeaux well, having held the seigneurie of St-Laurent for many years (he also crops up in my profile of Château La Tour-Carnet, in which I profile the Foix family in more detail). In 1453 he went with John Talbot on behalf of Henry VI to Castillon, to retake the region for the English crown. John Talbot met his end at this battle, but Jean de Foix was captured and held prisoner. He remained incarcerated for seven years, before eventually agreeing to pay a huge fee to secure his release.

Château Beychevelle

Although we might imagine Jean de Foix would flee once his time in prison was ended, nothing could be further from the truth. He remained in Bordeaux, and he married Margaret de la Pole, Countess of Kendal, this title being Gallicised to Candale; his offspring were thus known as Foix-Candale, he and Margaret being the originators of this noble house. Together they held lands not only where Château Beychevelle now stands, but they also owned Château d’Issan, and a very primitive version of the modern-day Château Mouton-Rothschild.

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