History in France


This history was provided by Lucette Bibeault and Al Dahlquist and has been modified considerably to incorporate additional information, baptismal records, maps and photos. 


Table of Contents


Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud – Our First French Ancestor


History of La Rochelle and France - from 1550 to 1700


Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud – 1630 to 1656


Francois Bibaud – Immigration to New France in 1656


Descendants of Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud Residing in France


Churches in La Rochelle, France

Parish of Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes

Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite

Church of Notre Dame de l'Assomption of Lagord



Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud – Our First French Ancestor


Our French ancestry begins in the early 1600’s with Jacques Bibaud, a tavern owner, who married Jeanne Savignaux (or Savigneau).  One or both of them may have originally come from Verteuil in the province of Angoumois (southwest of La Rochelle, near the present day city of Angouleme). 


La Rochelle is located southwest of Paris, France on the Atlantic Ocean, in the region of France known today as Poitou-Charentes, in the department of Charente Maritime.  This area was formerly known as the province of Aunis.  The islands of Re and Oleron are just off the coast. 



                               France, 2005                                                           Region of Poitou-Charente

From:  www.tourisme.fr


At some point, Jacques and Jeanne lived in the village of LaFond, just north of the city of La Rochelle.  In 1635 he and his wife were living in an area called Hure, in the parish of Lagord, also north of La Rochelle, north of the old town (the medieval center). 



From:  www.cassini.fr


Modern day maps of La Rochelle can be found by clicking on these links:

-  La Rochelle overview

-  La Rochelle old town


It is believed that Jacques and his wife died in 1665 or 1666 in France. 


History of La Rochelle and France - from 1550 to 1700


According to Wikipedia(1), and the Virtual Museum of French Protestism(2):

(1) Wikipedia.com, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Modern_France, and from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rochelle

(2) Virtual Museum of French Protestism, www.museeprotestant.org/Pages/preview_notice.php?noticeid=614


La Rochelle was founded during the 10th century, and became an important harbour from the 12th century.  Until the 15th century, La Rochelle was to be the largest French harbour on the Atlantic coast, dealing mainly in wine and salt.


From the mid 15th century (beginning of the French Renaissance) to the end of the 18th century (eve of the French Revolution) France evolved from a feudal country to an increasingly centralized state (albeit with many regional differences) organized around a powerful absolute monarchy, but with the explicit support of the established Church.


During this period, France expanded to nearly its modern territorial form.  France also embarked on exploration, colonization and mercantile exchanges with the Americas (New France, Louisiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Guyane), India (Pondichery), the Indian ocean (Réunion), the Far East and portions of Africa.


In the middle 1500s France was plunged into a domestic crisis with far-reaching consequences, namely the Protestant Reformation's attempt to break the unity of Roman Catholic Europe.  The French Protestants, called Huguenots, were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, and are historically referred to as French Calvinists. 


A growing Protestant minority (later dubbed Huguenots) faced ever harsher repression.  This culminated in a massacre of Huguenots in 1562 at Vassy, starting the first of the French Wars of Religion, during which English, German and Spanish forces intervened on the side of rival Protestant and Catholic forces. 


During this time, La Rochelle’s population supported reformist ideas and became known as the unofficial Huguenot capital of France.  Catholic services were not allowed in some of the churches.  In February 1568 the Huguenots destroyed many of the Rochelaise Catholic churches (including Notre-Dame de Cougnes) in order to use the stones to reinforce the city walls against the Catholic King and his forces. 


Huguenots continued to be persecuted in France.  On August 24, 1572, royal forces hunted down and executed over 3000 Huguenots in Paris.  Within three days royal armies executed over 20,000 more.  This event, known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, was a turning point in both French history and the history of the European Christian church.  Protestants no longer viewed Catholicism as a misguided church, but as the force of the devil itself.


In 1576 the Edit of Pacification was issued.  In La Rochelle some Catholic religious services were now allowed.


In 1589, Henry IV assumed the throne of France and wish to end the conflicts.  Prior to this time he himself had espoused Protestantism and was sympathetic to the Protestant cause.  In order to secure his position as king he converted to Catholocism in 1593, famously allegedly saying "Paris is worth a Mass".  As a result, he was then accepted by most of the Catholic establishment (1594) and the Pope (1595). 


On April 13, 1598, Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, thus bringing the French Wars of Religion to an end.  The Edict granted French Protestants (Huguenots) substantial rights in a Catholic nation.  The main concern was civil unity, and the Edict separated civil from religious unity, treated some Protestants for the first time as more than mere schismatics and heretics, and opened a path for secularism and tolerance.  The Edict granted the Protestants one hundred places of safety, including that of La Rochelle. Such an innovative act of toleration stood virtually alone in a Europe where standard practice involved forcing the subjects of a ruler to follow whatever religion that ruler formally adopted.  On August 9 1599, to respect the Edict, and after numerous delays, the Bishop of Saintes finally celebrated a Catholic mass in the Chapel of Sainte-Marguerite in La Rochelle.  The Edict succeeded in restoring peace and internal unity to France for many years.


It was at this time, between 1600 and 1610, that our earliest known French ancestor, Jacques Bibaud, was born.


This peace was disrupted by Henry IV's son Louis XIII and his minister (1624-1642) Cardinal Richelieu.  They involved France in further Protestant and Catholic conflicts during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), fought principally on the territory of today's Germany, but also involving most of the major continental powers.  This war was as much about politics as it was about religion. 


While the Thiry Years’ War was taking place, Louis XIII had to deal with renewed reformist conflicts in France, resulting in three additional French religious wars:  1621-22, 1624-25 and 1627-29. 


The last war began in 1627 when La Rochelle entered into an agreement with England, whereby England agreed to support the reformist population in La Rochelle in exchange for access to their port and the islands of Re and Oleron off the coast, thus giving them an English foothold on the west coast of France.  This agreement was something Louis XIII’s minister, Cardinal Richelieu, could not allow.  Richelieu also had a personal interest in putting down the reformist.  This resulted in the “Siege of La Rochelle” in which Richelieu blockaded the city for 14 months (August 1627 to October 1628).  To prevent the inhabitants from receiving provisions and from leaving the city, Richelieu built a dike blocking the entrance to the port and a 12km fortified trench around the city. 


Source:  Engraving of the Siege of La Rochelle, Musee Orbigny, http://perso.wanadoo.fr/musees-la-rochelle/orbigny/collect1.htm  


Source: Cardinal Richelieu during the Siege of La Rochelle (rendition of an artist), www.herodote.net/histoire11010.htm


Three attacks by the English to gain a foothold on the islands and break the siege failed.  During the siege, the city population dropped from 18,000 to 5,000, due to hunger and other difficulties.  Pierre Mervault, a citizen of La Rochelle, wrote in 1628 (3):  


(3) Website of the Department of Charente-Maritime,



…The famine worsened and left us hopeless.  We were not able to find anything more to eat.  The horses, mules, dogs, cats, even rats and mice had been eaten.  There was no more grass in the fields.  A day didn’t go by without 200-300 people or more dying.  Those left alive did not have any strength to bury the dead.


Eventually the city surrendered and lost its mayor and its privileges.  King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu took possession of the city.  Entering the city as the victor, the Cardinal attended mass on the morning of 1 November 1628 in the chapelle Sainte-Marguerite.  In the afternoon he is at the side of King Louis XIII at the singing of the “Te Deum”, a Christian hymn of praise. 


We have no information about our ancestor, Jacques Bibaud, and his wife, Jeanne, during these conflicts and whether they suffered during the siege.  Early records indicate that at one pont they were living in the village of LaFond, just north of the old town (medieval center) of La Rochelle, outside the city walls.  Their first child was born in 1630 in La Rochelle.  In 1635 he and his wife were living in an area called Hure, in the parish of Lagord, also north of La Rochelle.  Between 1630 and 1647 they had a total of six children in La Rochelle. 


In the spring of 1656, Francois Bibaud, Jacques’ second child and our ancestor, immigrated to New France (modern day Quebec), or what was then called Nouvelle France.  His parents, Jacques and Jeanne, are believed to have died in La Rochelle prior to 1666.


The continued persecution of the Huguenots culminated with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685.  Many Huguenots emigrated, founding such cities as New Rochelle in the vicinity of today's New York in 1689.


During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), France was the dominant power in Europe, aided by the diplomacy of Richelieu's successor (1642-1661), Cardinal Mazarin, and the economic policies (1661-1683) of Colbert.  


Louis XIV's glory was irrevocably linked to two great projects -- military conquest and the building of Versailles -- both of which required enormous sums of money (from 1664-1690, 81 million livres were spent on the château, 11 million livres alone for the year 1685; the vast sums needed for its construction were often in competition with military expenditures). Louis XIV's economic policy was largely the creation of his minister of finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.


The following period was a prosperous one, marked by intense exchanges with the New World (Nouvelle France in Canada, and the Antilles). La Rochelle became very active in triangular trade with the New World, dealing in the slave trade with Africa, sugar trade with plantations of the Antilles, and fur trade with Canada. This was a period of high artistic, cultural and architectural achievements for the city.


Colbert's mercantile system used protectionism and state sponsored manufacturing to attract foreign money to France by the production of luxury goods. The state established new industries (the royal tapestry works at Beauvais, French quarries for marble), took over established industries (the Gobelins tapistry works), protected inventors, invited workmen from foreign countries (Venetian glass and Flemish cloth manufacturing), and prohibited French workmen from emigrating. To maintain the character of French goods in foreign markets, Colbert had the quality and measure of each article fixed by law, and severly punished breaches of the regulations.


Unable to abolish the duties on the passage of goods from province to province, Colbert did what he could to induce the provinces to equalize them. His régime improved roads and canals. To encourage trade with the Levant, Senegal, Guinea and other places for the importing of coffee, cotton, dyewoods, fur, pepper, and sugar, Colbert granted privileges to companies like the important French East India Company (founded in 1664), but none of these ventures proved successful. Colbert achieved a lasting legacy in his establishment of the French royal navy; he reconstructed the works and arsenal of Toulon, founded the port and arsenal of Rochefort, and the naval schools of Rochefort, Dieppe and Saint-Malo. He fortified, with some assistance from Vauban, many ports including those of Calais, Dunkirk, Brest and Le Havre.


Colbert's economic policies were a key element in Louis XIV's creation of a centralized and fortified state and in the promotion of French glory, including the construction of Versailles, but they had many failures: they were overly restrictive on workers, discouraged inventiveness and had unreasonably high tarifs.


The Revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685 created additional political and economic problems: of the more than 200,000 Huguenot refugees who fled France (to Prussia, Switzerland, England, Ireland, United Provinces, Denmark, and eventually America), many were highly educated skilled artisans and business owners (tapistries, weaving, silver smiths, plate making) who took their skills, businesses (and in some cases their Catholic workers) with them.


The wars and the weather at the end of the century brought the economy to the brink: in 1683 the national deficit was 16 million livres; from 1700-1706 it was 750 million livres; from 1708-1715 the deficit reached 1,1 trillion livres.


To increase tax revenues, the land tax on peasants was increased and international trade severly hindered.  Cold winters and crop failures contributed to the problems.  The economic plight of the vast majority of the French population -- predominantly simple farmers -- was extremely precarious. 


La Rochelle eventually lost its trade and prominence during the decades spanning the Seven Years War (1754-1763), the French revolution (1789-1799) and the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). During that period France lost many of the territorial possessions it had in the new World, and also saw a strong decrease in its sea power in the continuing conflicts with Britain, ultimately diminishing the role of such harbours as La Rochelle.


During the Second World War, Germany established a submarine naval base at La Rochelle, which became the setting for the movie Das Boot. A German stronghold, La Rochelle was the last French city to be freed at the end of the War.


The port of La Rochelle is protected by the islands of Re and Oleron; and as result it is considered to be the most reliable or safest port in the gulf of Gasgogne. Accessible even during the severest weather, it makes an excellent port of refuge.   It is not surprising, therefore, that during the 17th century La Rochelle was the primary departure point for most, if not all, expeditions to Canada.


Source: Sketch of the port of La Rochelle in the 17 century; Photo taken at the Musee Obigny, La Rochelle,




La Rochelle has succeeded in beautifully maintaining its past architecture, making it one of the most picturesque and historically rich cities on the Atlantic coast. This helped develop a strong tourism industry.


For photos of La Rochelle in 2005, click here.


For further information about La Rochelle today, see: 

La Rochelle Tourist Office: http://www.larochelle-tourisme.com/en/index.htm

City of La Rochelle:  http://www.ville-larochelle.fr/english/index.php

La Rochelle Information: http://www.larochelle-info.com/larochelle/accueil.php

Rochelais Roots : http://racinesrochelaises.free.fr/

Department of Charente-Maritime: http://www.charente-maritime.org/charente_uk/index.html



Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud – 1630 to 1656


In 1635, Jacques Bibaud and his wife, Jeanne Savignaux (or Savigneau), were living in a place called Hure, just north of the modern day center of La Rochelle. 


They belonged to the parish church of Notre-Dame de Cougnes in La Rochelle, which had been destroyed in 1568 by the Protestant Huguenots.  As a result, between 1598 and 1662, baptisms took place in the nearby Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite (now an exposition center called the Salle de l’Oratoire) until the new parish church was constructed in 1662.


On 8 September 1630, Jacques Bibaud and his wife Jeanne baptised their first child, a son, whom they called Jacques (after his father).  This baptism would have taken place at the Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite in La Rochelle. 

Approximate translation:  Jacques Bibaud – Cougnes – Jacques Bibaud – The 8 September 1630, was baptized Jacques Bibaud, son of Jacques Bibaud and Jeanne Savigneau?; the godfather S…? Souvineau?; the godmother Catherine Foche?  

Source: Department Archives, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France, Microfilm 5MI 1082 (7), p.57-8


In 1632, Jacques and his wife Jeanne had a second child, a son, Francois, our ancestor who eventually immigrated to Canada.  Given the timeframe, he also was probably baptized in the Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite.  Unfortunately, no baptismal record has been found to confirm his exact date of birth and baptism.  Conflicting census records from Canada (1667, 1681) suggest he was born between 1632 and 1638.


Sometime between 1632 and 1635, Jacques and his wife Jeanne became members of the parish of Lagord, located just north of La Rochelle, France. 


Between 1635 and 1647 Jacque and his wife Jeanne had four more children, all of whom were baptized at Notre-Dame-de-Lagord, today known as the church Notre Dame de l'Assomption de Lagord.  


Their third child, Nicolas, was baptised on 19 September 1635 in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lagord.

Approximate translation:  The nineteenth day of September 1635, was baptized Nicolas, son of Jacques Bibaud and Jeanne Savigneau?; the godfather Nicolas Savigneau?; the godmother Jeanne…?

Source: Department Archives, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France, Microfilm 5MI 1302 (5), p.10


Their fourth child, Noel, was baptised on 4 December 1639 in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lagord.

Approximate translation:  Bibaub - Today, the 4 December 1649 was baptized Noel, son of Jacques Bibaud and Jeanne Savigneau?; the godfather ….?; the godmother …?

Source: Department Archives, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France, Microfilm 5MI 1302 (5), p.20 


Their fifth child and first daughter, Jeanne, was baptised on 14 December 1642 in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lagord. 

Approximate translation:  The 14 day of December 1649 … baptized at Notre Dame de Lagord…, Janet?, daughter of Jacques Bibo and Janet? Sauvineau, … ?

Source: Department Archives, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France, Microfilm 5MI 1302 (5), p.26)


Their sixth and last child, and second daugher, Chaterine, was baptised on 18 April 1647 in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lagord. 

Approximate translation:  The 18th of April 1647 was baptized Chaterine Bibaud, daughter of Jacques et Jeanne Sauvineau, …the godfather Andre Moreau , M.Y. Marihana?, and godmother Margaret Plancon?…?

Source: Department Archives, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France, Microfilm 5MI 1302 (5), p.18



Francois Bibaud – Immigration to New France in 1656


In the spring of 1656, Francois Bibaud, Jacques’ second child and our ancestor, decided to immigrate to New France, or what was then called Nouvelle France.  New France represents, approximately, the modern day province of Quebec, Canada.  At this time, Francois was about 24 years old, unmarried, and his occupation was a labourer.


Many of the early travelers to New France (Quebec) traded their services as a laborer in exchange for passage, room and board, and wages. They accomplished this by signing a contract before a notary in France, which usually was for the term of three to five years.  According to Gabriel Debien(4): 

(4) Gabriel Debien. "Engagés pour le Canada au XVIIe siècle vus de La Rochelle". RHAF, vol. VI, n° 2 (mars 1952), pp. 177-233, et n°3 (décembre 1952), pp. 374-407. 


1655-1664, many laborers were recruited by large immigration businesses which were mostly speculative.  This was the case with our ancestor, Francois Bibaud.  He was recruited by Arnaud Perez, representing one of the large Rochelais merchants, to fulfill a request by Seigneur (Lord) Courville who lived in New France (Quebec).  In the past, laborers were recruited for specific needs.  Now the recruiters began to take anyone who was willing to leave.  (After 1665, the Jesuits became the biggest recruiters, due to their number of farms and needs for farm workers.)  Arnaud Perez worked for the merchant company, Gaigneur-Grignon, composed of Antoine Grignon, his son Jean, and his son-in-laws Pierre Gaigneur and Arnaud Perez.  This company ultimately


So it was then, that on 10 April 1656, Francois Bibaud signed a contract of servitude with Arnaud Perez to work as a laborer for three years in New France (Quebec).  This contract was signed in front of the notary, Jacques Savin, in La Rochelle.  Francois was to be sent to the area of Trois-Rivières, in the current province of Quebec. 


Following is a photo of the book of notary minutes from 1656, as it appears in 2005 in the Department Archives of Charente-Maritime.  



This is the “contract of servitude” signed between Francois Bibeau and Arnaud Perez.



Translation:  in process


We can assume that Francois boarded ship not long after and sailed across the Atlantic to New France.  At this time, the journey could take anywhere from 35 – 100 days, depending on the weather.



Descendants of Jacques and Jeanne Bibaud Residing in France


Further research needs to be done to trace the descendants of Jacques and Jeanne who remained in France.  It is not known if any of the other brothers and sisters eventually immigrated to Canada. 


Suffice to say that there are many people living in this region of France today with the name Bibaud, or variations thereof.  It would be great fun to eventually find a descendent living today in France! 


Churches in La Rochelle, France


Parish of Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes


Photos and content from:  http://racinesrochelaises.free.fr/larochellend.html


Additional photos:  Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes


La paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes



Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes is the oldest parish in La Rochelle.  Her origins are merged with those of the city. 


Cougnes is a small village situated on a mound surrounded by a saltwater marsh.  According to the historian Arcère, the name is Celtic.  The Celtic dictionary of Bullet tells us that Cogn or Goign indicates a corner, an angle.  Cougnes has been spelled Compnes, Coigne, Cognes.


Around 1077, on this mound, the ecclesiastics of the island of Aix, associated with the monastery of Cluny, founded a priory and a chapel named after a saint, called Sainte-Marie-de-Cougnes.  It was a simple chaplaincy for the care of the sick and underprivileged. 



      The nightwatchman


The inhabitants of Cougnes began to settle near the sea, forming the center or nucleus of the city of La Rochelle.  In 22 September 1149, in one of the oldest texts written on La Rochelle, the church of Notre-Dame de Cougnes was sited.


The small chapel of Sainte-Marie was rebuilt into a beautiful gothic church.  According to Amos Barbot, Notre-Dame “had magnificent proportions and was entirely covered by lead (roof?).  Louis XI came there to pray on the 24 May 1472.



               La Rochelle

                                 Parish and area of Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes


The parish was popular with the working class, covering an area from the gate of Cougnes to the current market place, and to the west, just to the ramparts and the Place du Château (now called Place de Verdun). 


The name of the streets strongly indicate the types of people who lived and worked in the area:  rue du Cordouan (leather and shoe makers), rue des Buffetiers ou Buffeterie (wine merchants and innkeepers), rue des Cloutiers also called rue de la Saulnerie ((nailsmiths), rues des Chapeliers (hatmakers), des Chaudronniers (ironmongers), de la Vieille Triperie (tripe seller), des Bouchers (butchers), etc. 


At the begging of the year 1568, the Huguenots demolished the rochelaise churches in order to use the stones to reinforce the ramparts.


Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes did not escape this disastrous event.  Soon the only remains were a piece of the wall with four flying buttresses, a few steps of a staircase, one or two pillars and part of the altar.


These ruins would serve as the basis for the reconstruction of the church, the first stone being put in place on the 29 March 1653. On the 1st November 1665, mass was once again celebrated there.



The parishioners were so numerous that, in April 1713, a decision was made to enlarge the nave with an additional arch.


Àt the time of the French Revolution, the parish consisted of 780 households, shops or warehouses, stables and gardens.  The church was closed and served as a stable.


Religious services were restored in 1802 and Notre-Dame housed the religious offices of the parish. 


Today, the church holds many concerts.  The cemetery, just north of the church, has become a parking lot.


The baptismal records of Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes begin on the 2 December 1662. 

The first marriage dates from the 7 June 1666.

The first burial took place on the 5 June 1665.

After the destruction of the original church in 1598, until the construction of the new church in 1653, religious services took place in the Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite.


Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite


Photos and content from:  http://racinesrochelaises.free.fr/larochellesm.html


Additional photos: Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite


La chapelle Sainte-Marguerite





Sainte-Marguerite was originally a chapel in the convent of the Sœurs Blanches de Sainte-Marguerite, of the Order of Premontres.  While never a parish in her own right, her importance is essential in the first half of the 17th century.  In February 1568, the Huguenots destroyed the rochelaise churches in order to reinforce the walls of the city with stones from the churches. 


The convent of the Sœurs Blanches de Sainte-Marguerite was saved.  The convent served at that time as a hospital, then an arsenal.  After the Edit of Pacification of 1576, the Catholics regained half of the chapel.  In 1579, they repurchased it, but the protestants continued to worship there from time to time.  The Synode Huguenot of 1597 took place within its walls.




To respect the Edict of Nantes, and after numerous delays, on the 6 August 1599, the Bishop of Saintes finally celebrated mass in the chapel.  After that, the chapelle Sainte-Marguerite served as a place of worship for all rochelais Catholics, except for a few periods where she became a protestant church, such as 1621 and 1624.


The rochelais priests, adhered to the Order of the Oratoire, to which they remained faithful to the end of the 18th century. 


At the end of a long siege, Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu took possession of the city.  Entering the city as the victor, the Cardinal attended mass on the morning of 1 November 1628 in the chapelle Sainte-Marguerite.  In the afternoon he is at the side of the King at the Te Deum.  The chalice and the patan (Eucharistic plate) used by the Cardinal Richelieu are displayed today in the Museum Orbigny.


Gradually, the rochelaise churches are rebuilt.  The chapel continued to serve as a place of worship for the rochelais parishioners until their own churches were re-established.



The Adoration of the Shepherd
Eugène Le Sueur


The Oratoriens made some improvements, rebuilding the clock tower and, in 1655, installing the painting by Eustache Le Sueur called “The Adoration of the Shepherds”, now on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in La Rochelle.


Additional improvements were made in the 18th century, but there remains today, on one side, a gothic portal dating from the 16th century.  The Oratoriens were forced to leave their convent during the French Revolution.  The chapel then contained a Seminary from 1812 to 1838, then the Brothers of the Christian Church until 1882.  It was then taken over by the City who demolished the principal portal.  .


The chapelle Sainte-Marguerite then became a hall for festivities, by the name of "Salle de l'Oratoire". It was used for dances, public meetings, examinations, voting, concerts and conferences.  In 1912, the chapel became the first film cinema of La Rochelle.

Clocktower of



The chapelle Sainte-Marguerite, rue du Collège


The Catholic registers of Sainte-Marguerite begin on 27 December 1598, but the first acts concern the church of Saint-Pierre de Laleu. It was only at the beginning of spring 1599 that registered baptisms actually took place in the chapelle Sainte-Marguerite, and terminated in 1662.

Catholic mariages:  1603 – 1666

Catholic burials : 1612 - 1665
Huguenot baptisms : 1585 - 1595, and 1621 – 1630

Huguenot mariages: 1621 - 1630

No protestant burials are recorded in the registers of Sainte-Marguerite.


Church of Notre Dame de l'Assomption of Lagord

(Parish of Saint Gabriel:  L’Houmeau, Lagord, Nieul sur Mer, Marsilly)


Photos and content from: 




Additional Photos: Church of Notre Dame of Lagord


Located in a nearby suburb of La Rochelle, the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lagord was founded in 1195 by the bishop of Saintes at the abbey angoumoise of La Couronne. 


The chapel came out of the Wars of Religion in a very ruined state and was reconstructed in the middle of the 17th century.  In 1652 someone notes that she “has been under construction for one year and has a beautiful length but not as long as the old church”. 


In the 19th century, the chapel was thought to be too small, so the abbot Fleurimon called for an enlargement that would require nearly a total reconstruction in 1840, two sides being on land given by the ursulines of La Rochelle.  The clock tower was reconstructed in 1853.  The church was again enhanced in 1866 and 1886.  In the interior, the neo-classic decor was retained.  Ionic columns separated the naves.  Two glass windows lit the central nave.  One altar-piece framed a painting of “The Assumption”, patron of the parish.  All this décor disappeared during a fire on 1 January 1939.  The building rose from its ruins in seven months, which explains its extreme simplicity today.


 Three naves without any style are separated by columns covered by wood wainscoting.  At the far west, a few meters of old nave remains, just in front of the three naves.  A cornice with six blank medallions is noted at the south. The portal has three arches resting on thin columns.  The middle of the capital is ornamented by palmettes prolonged by beaded stripes which are inter-crossing.  All this is rather late and emphasizes without a doubt the 12th century.  The archaeological museum in La Rochelle has seven medallions decorated by grimacing masques, baptised “capital sins”, which come from the old church.  A Calvary, dating from 1618, decorates the front of the façade.


Two other places of worship were part of this parish.  The first, at Verger, was built by La Couronne, as was this church.  The second, at Lignon, belonged to the abbey of Moreau in Poitou.  These two chapels were already in ruins in 1663.