Des âmes à l’épreuve : le protestantisme nobiliaire bas-normand dans la tourmente (1661-1787, généralité de Caen)

Abstract : This paper relates the decline of protestantism in the nobility of Lower Normandy , confined to the generality of Caen, from the beginning of the personal reign of Louis XIV in 1661, marked by a policy aimed at Huguenot particularism, up to the the return of tolerance in 1787. It draws, for the years preceding the Revocation, the shaded portrait of a heterogeneous nobility, united nevertheless by a deep attachment to the calvinism inherited from their forebears, and by the numerous family and social ties which formed so many backbone networks in a distinctive but by no means isolated group. Attacked by the first anti-protestant measures adopted by Louis XIV, restricted in their freedom to practise their faith, prevented from fulfilling their ambitions and pursued right up to the intimate sphere of their family homes, the reformed nobility tottered but did not fall and began to show, both as individuals and as a group, a spirit of resistance, founded on their natural propensity for procedural quarrels. The Revocation, by its violence and its repressive measures directed at the nobility, resulted in the break down of protestantism in the nobility of Lower Normandy, within the very sanctuary of the family unit and harboured deep dissension among converts, fugitives, and stubborn individuals whose facial expressions were sometimes difficult to read, when they hid behind the mask of crypto-protestantism. The XVIIIth century took on twilight hues in the obscurity of the Desert which sorely afflicted the souls who hence resisted under cover. Weakened as much by the final blows delivered by the authorities as by internal factors which compromised the renewal of generations, the protestantism of the nobility belonged, more and more to a vanishing world.
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Véronique Petit-Blancquart. Des âmes à l’épreuve : le protestantisme nobiliaire bas-normand dans la tourmente (1661-1787, généralité de Caen). Histoire. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCD035⟩. ⟨tel-01906080⟩

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