1st Edition

Huguenot Heartland Montauban and Southern French Calvinism During the Wars of Religion

By Philip Conner Copyright 2002

    In the immediate years and months before the outbreak of religious war in 1562 the growth of Protestantism in France had gone unchecked, and an overriding sense of Protestant triumphalism emerged in cities across the land. However, the wars unleashed a vigorous Catholic reaction that extinguished Protestant hopes of ultimate success. This offensive triggered violence across the provinces, paralysing Huguenot communities and sending many Protestant churches in northern France into terminal decline. But French Protestantism was never a uniform phenomenon and events in southern France took a rather different course from those in the north. This study explores the fate of the Huguenot community in the area of its greatest strength in southern France. The book examines the Protestant ascendancy in the Huguenot stronghold of Montauban through the period of the religious wars, laying open the impact that the new religion had upon the town and its surrounding locality, and the way in which the town related to the wider political and religious concerns of the Protestant south. In particular, it probes the way in which the town related to the nobility, the political assemblies, Henry of Navarre and the wider world of international Calvinism, reflecting upon the distinctive cultural elements that characterised Calvinism in southern France.

    Contents: The French Midi: a world apart; Power, prestige and Protestantism in Montauban; The shaping of a 'godly' society; Montauban as a 'mother' church; Myth and reality: the 'United Provinces' of the Midi; The politics of association in southern France; Henry of Navarre and the Huguenot enclave of Montauban; Montauban and the world of International Calvinism; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


    Philip Conner

    '... a useful first book... adds to the growing number of urban studies we now have of individual towns during the French civil wars, and it shows us once again that local dynamics mattered as much as court politics and national concerns in the success and failure of the Reformation.' H-France Reviews '... dense, tightly argued... Huguenot Heartland is a finely crafted study that raises interesting questions about the relationship between local Reformed churches and the world of international Calvinism.' Huguenot Society Proceedings 'This alert volume offers one of the best and most original local studies of the French wars of religion to appear in some time.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History '... makes original and important contributions to our knowledge of the Reformation in southern France... This study benefits enormously from Conner's deep immersion in the manuscript archives.' The Catholic Historical Review 'This study draws upon important original archival research, particularly in the notarial archives of Montauban, the records of the small satellite towns, and also the private archives of the Scorbiac family.' History 'This is an exciting book, well researched and well written, essential reading for all who are interested in the Reformation in France.' The Banner of Truth 'This alert volume offers one of the best and most original local studies of the French Wars of Religion to appear in some time... What must be stressed [...] is the range and importance of its findings... a considerable achievement.' Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte '... meticulously researched and the clearest view to date of the powerful tide of Protestantism that swept through the French Midi.' The Historian