Château Branaire-Ducru: Bernard de Nogaret de La Valette

In terms of his ownership of the estate, Jean-Louis was succeeded by one of his four sons, Bernard de Nogaret de La Valette (1592 – 1661). Like his father, Bernard forged a career for himself in the military, and he acquitted himself well in several sieges and battles during the 1620s and 1630s. He successfully repressed a peasants’ revolt, the Insurrection des Croquants, in April 1637, and he was subsequently ordered by the Prince de Condé to lead an assault at the Siege of Fuenterrabía in 1638. Sensing inevitable defeat he refused, and this ultimately led to his having to flee the country.

Château Branaire-Ducru

Bernard had, it seems, been framed. Having refused to fight, he ceded his command to Vice-Admiral Henri d’Escoubleau de Sourdis (1593 – 1645) who led the attack as ordered, during which he suffered heavy losses. It was a military disaster, and Cardinal Richelieu (1585 – 1642), who despised Bernard, set out to ensure he took the blame. The cardinal convened a special court hearing, presided over by Louis XIII (1601 – 1643). To nobody’s surprise (with Richelieu pulling the strings) Bernard was found guilty, and the court returned the death sentence.

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