Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.
In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.
This is the first post by Joyce Hampton who has chronicled the history of the Huguenots and today shares a date that marks a horrendous event in the religion’s history.
A massacre which will always be remembered – St Bartholomew’s
August had been a hot month, but tensions were high as the guests had arrived for the wedding of the Protestant Henri of Navarre and the Catholic Marguerite of Valois, sister to the French King. The wedding had to all intent and purposes been brokered as not only a union of man and wife but of two opposing faiths – Catholic and Protestant and took place on the 18th August.
Festivities were due to take place both before and more importantly after the wedding and to continue for many days as both religious parties gathered to witness this occasion, although many on both sides disapproved, because much blood had been spilt on both sides of the divide during the previous decades as the attitude of some had become entrenched.
On the 22nd August an attempt was made on the life of one of the Huguenot leaders, Gaspard Coligny who was wounded but not fatally. Huguenots, in Paris for the marriage celebrations, were enraged by this act and, as tensions increased during the following hours, they demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice. Alarmed the King’s Council called a meeting on the night of the 23rd/ 24th August, which continued for many hours. Eventually, worn down by his mother Catherine de Medici, the young King Francis IX was forced to order the assassination of Huguenot leaders and their followers who had come to Paris to witness the marriage. His chilling words as he gave the orders were
“Kill them all let no man be left to reproach me”
During the early hours of the 24th August, St Bartholomew’s Eve, the Mayor of Paris was ordered to lock the city gates and make ready the militia. Shortly after these orders were issued soldiers arrived at Coligny’s lodgings, and pushing aside his guards, and found then murdered the sleep dazed Coligny before tossing his then lifeless body out of a first-floor window onto the ground below.
The news rapidly spread across Paris and the bells rang throughout the city signalling the bloodbath which has gone down in history as a bloody massacre of men, women and children whose only crime, for the most part, was their choice of faith.
The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre spread outwards from Paris reaching other parts of France and continued for days as the streets ran rivers of blood. As both before and since once the metaphorical Pandora’s box was opened it was going to be hard to shut the lid again.
©Joyce Hampton 2020
About Joyce Hampton
I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.
I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.
My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.
Books by Joyce Hampton
Thanks for dropping by and to Joyce for allowing me to share her posts. I hope you will head over to browse in her archives.. Thanks Sally.