François de Beaumont, baron des Adrets

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François de Beaumont, baron des Adrets

François de Beaumont, baron des Adrets (c. 1512/1513-1587) was a Huguenot leader, notorious for his cruelty; he died a Catholic.

He was born in 1512 or 1513 at the château of La Frette (Isère). During the reign of Henry II of France he served with distinction in the royal army and became colonel of the legions of Dauphiné, Provence and Languedoc. In 1562, however, he joined the Huguenots, not from religious conviction but probably from motives of ambition and personal dislike of the house of Guise.

His campaign against the Catholics in 1562 was eminently successful. In June of that year Des Adrets was master of the greater part of Dauphiné. But his brilliant military qualities were marred by his revolting atrocities. The reprisals he exacted from the Catholics after their massacres of the Huguenots at Orange have left a dark stain upon his name. The garrisons that resisted him were butchered with every circumstance of brutality, and at Montbrison, in Forez, he forced eighteen prisoners to throw themselves from the top of the keep. Having alienated the affections of the Huguenots by his pride and violence, he entered into communication with the Catholics, and declared himself openly in favor of conciliation.

On 10 January 1563 he was arrested on suspicion by some Huguenot officers and confined in the citadel of Nîmes. He was liberated at the edict of Amboise in the following March, and, distrusted alike by Huguenots and Catholics, retired to the château of La Frette. In 1585,in league with the Englishman Richard Topcliffe,he attacked and ransacked he Abbey of Our Lady of Aiguebelle,Provence, and attempted to destroy it. Unable to do so, he buried all entrances to the Abbey beneath tons of earth and rubble. He died a Catholic at La Frette, on 2 February 1587.


The Reformation in South-east France: Unpublished Doctoral Thesis(1991): Fr Sean O'Driscoll.