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949 [925]

K. Henry. 8. The history of Merindol and Cabriers.

kynges letters patentes, thorough the helpe of the Cardinall of Tournon, commaundyng the sentence to be executed agaynst the Merindolians, notwithstandyng that the kyng had before reuoked the sayd sentence and giuen strait commaundement that it should in no wise be executed, as before is mentioned.

After this he gathered all the kynges armey 

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The execution of the letters patent of 1 February 1545 were delayed until April 1545 to allow the military forces under Antoine Escalin des Aimars, baron de la Garde ( known as 'Poulin de la Garde') to be mustered. From 18 April 1545 the army moved along the southern edge of the Luberon ['Libron']. Mérindol and Cabrières were among the last to be devastated. La Motte, Lourmarin ('Lormarin'), Villelaure, Saint-Martin de Castillon and other villages were caught up in the operation. Its savagery became widely noted through Europe: 'Crudelitas plusquam Scythica' comments the marginal gloss in Pantaleon's account (fol. 144), which Foxe follows closely in his narrative. For details of the military operation, see P. Gaffarel, 'Les massacres de Cabrires et de Mérindol en 1545' Revue Historique 101 (1911), 241-64.

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, whiche was then in Prouince ready to go agaynst the Englishmen, and tooke vp all besides, that were hable to beare armour, in the chiefest Townes of Prouince, and ioyned them with the armey whiche the Popes Legate had leuyed for that purpose, in Auinion and all the countrey of Venice, and employed the same to the destruction of Merindol, Cabriers and other Townes and Villages, to the number of xxij. geuyng Commission to his souldiours to spoyle, ransackt, burne, and to destroy altogether, and to kill man, woman and child, without all mercy, sparyng none: no otherwise then the infidels & cruel Turkes haue dealt with the Christians, as before in the story of the Turkes, you may read. MarginaliaVid. pag 713.

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For as the Papistes and Turkes are like in their Religion, so are the sayd Papistes like, or rather exceede them, in all kyndes of cruelty that can be deuised. MarginaliaViij. townes wyth the most part of the people destroyed for true religiō. But this Archtyran, before he came to Merindoll, ransackt and burnt certaine townes, namely La Roche, S. Steuens, Villelaure, Lormarin, La Motte, Cabrierettes, S.t Martin, Pipin, & other places mo, notwithstandyng that the Arrest extended but onely to Merindol. Where the most of the poore inhabitauntes were slayne and murdered without any resistūce: MarginaliaHorrible crueltie vpon women and young infantes. women & maydens rauished: women with child and litle infantes borne & to be borne, were also most cruelly murthered: the pappes of many women cut of, which gaue sucke to their children, whiche lookyng for sucke at their mothers brest beyng dead before, dyed also for hunger. There was neuer such cruelty and tyranny sene before.

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The Merindolians seyng all on a flamyng fire round about them, left their houses and fled into the woodes, and remayned that night at the Village Sanfales & thereabouts, in wonderfull feare and perplexitie: for the Byshop of Cauaillon, deputie to the Byshop of Romes Legate, had appoynted certaine Captaines to go and slay them. The next day they went a litle further, hydyng thēselues in woodes, for there was daunger on euery side, and Miniers had commaunded vnder payne of death, that no man should ayde them by any meanes, but that they should be slayne without pitie or mercy, wheresoeuer they were founde. The same Proclamation was of force also, in the Byshoppe of Romes dominions thereby: and it was sayd that the Byshops of that countrey dyd finde a great part of the armey. Wherfore they went a tedious and a paynefull iourney carying their children vpō their shoulders, and in their armes, and in their swadlyng clothes, and many of them also beyng great with child, were constrayned so to do. And when they were come to the place appoynted, thether was already resorted a great number which had lost their goodes, and saued themselues by flight.

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Not long after, it was shewed them how that Miniers was commyng with all hys power, to giue the charge vpon them. This was in the euenyng, and because they should go thorough rough and comberous places, and hard to passe by, they all thought it most expedient for their safegard to leaue behynde them, all the women and children, with a few other, and among them also, certeine Ministers of the Church: the residue were appointed to go to the Towne of Mussie. And this dyd they vpon hope that the enemy would shew mercy to the multitude of women and children, beyng destitute of all succour. MarginaliaA lamentable separation of the Merindolians frō their wyues and children. No toung can expresse, what sorrow, what teares, what sighyng, what lamentation, there was at that wofull departyng, when they were compelled to be thus separated a sunder, the husband from hys deare wife, the father from his sweete babes and tender infantes, the one neuer lyke to see the other agayne a lyue. Notwithstandyng, after the Ministers had ended their ordinary Sermons, with euenyng Prayers and exhortations, the men departed that night, to auoyde a greater inconuenience.

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When they had gone all the night long, and had passed ouer the great hill of Libron, they might see many villages and farmes set on fire. Miniers in the meane tyme, had deuided his army into two partes, marchyng hymselfe wyth the one, towardes the Towne of Merindoll, and hauyng knowledge by espiall whether the Merindolians were fledde, he sendeth the other parte to set vpon them, and to shewe theyr accustomed crueltye vppon them. Yet before they came to the place where they were, some of Miniers armye, eyther of good wyll, or mooued with pitie, priuily conueyed them selues awaye, and came vnto them, to geue them warning that their enemyes were comming: and one from the toppe of an hygh rocke, where he thought that the Merindoliās were vnderneath, casteth downe ij. stones, and afterward, although he could not see them, he calleth vnto them, that they should immediatly flye from thence. MarginaliaThe Merindolians ouertaken of their enemies. But the enemyes suddenly came vpon them, findyng them all assembled together at Prayers, and spoyled them of all that they had, pullyng of their garmentes from their backes: some they rauished: some they whypped and scourged: some they sold away lyke cattell, practising what cruelty and vilany so euer they could deuise agaynst them. The women were in number about fiue hundreth.

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In the meane tyme Miniers came to Merindol, where he founde none but a young man named Maurice Blanc, who had yelded hymselfe to a souldiour, promising hym for his raunsome, two French crownes. Miniers would haue had hym awaye by force, but it was aunswered that the souldiour ought not to lose his prisoner. MarginaliaVile crueltie shewed vpon a young man of Merindoll. Miniers therfore paying the two crownes hym selfe, tooke the young man, and caused hym to be tyed to an Oliue tree, and shot thorough with harquebushes, and most cruelly Martyred. Many Gentlemen whiche accompanyed Miniers agaynst their willes, seyng this cruell spectacle, were moued with greate compassion, and could not forbeare teares. For albeit this young man was not yet very well instructed, neither had before dwelt at Merindoll, yet in all hys tormentes hauyng alwayes hys eyes lyfted vp to heauen, with a loude voyce, hee ceased not still to call vppon God: and the last wordes that hee spake, were these: Lorde God, these men take away my lyfe full of miserie, but thou wilt giue vnto me lyfe euerlastyng, by thy sonne Iesus Christ: to whom be glorye. MarginaliaThe towne of Merindoll destroyed of the Papistes. So was Merindoll without any resistaunce, valiauntly taken, ransackt, burnt, rased and layed euen with the grounde. And albeit there was no man to resist, yet this valiaunt Captaine of Opede armed from toppe to toe, trembled for feare, and was sene to chaunge his colour very much.

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MarginaliaThe towne of Cabriers falsely taken. When hee had destroyed Merindoll, hee layed siege to Cabriers, and battered it with his ordinaunce, but when hee could not wynne it by force, hee with the Lord of the Towne, and Poulin his chief Captaine, persuaded with the inhabitauntes, to open their gates, solemnly promising that if they would so do, they would lay downe their armour and also that their cause should be heard in iudgement with all equitie and Iustice, and no violence or iniurie should be shewed agaynst them. Vppon this, they opened their gates and let in Miniers with his Captaines and all his armey. MarginaliaOthe & promise broken of the Papistes. But the Tyraunt when he was once entred, falsified hys promise and raged lyke a beast. Marginalia30. men, Martyrs. For first of all hee picked out about xxx. men, causing them to be bounde and caryed into a medowe neare to the Towne, and there to be miserably cut and hewen in Marginalia40. Women, Martyrs. peeces of hys souldiours.

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Then, because he would leaue no kynde of crueltie vnattempted, hee also exercised his outrage and fury vppon the poore selly women, and caused 40. of them to be taken, of whom diuers were great with child, and put them into a barne full of straw and hey, and caused it to be set on fire at foure corners. And when the sely women runnyng to the great wyndow, where the hey is wont to be cast into the barne, would haue leaped out, they were kepte in with pikes and halberdes. Then there was a souldiour which moued with pitie at the crying out and lamentation of the women, opened a doore to let them out, but as they were commyng out, the Tyranne caused them to be slayne and cut in peeces, openyng their belyes that their children fell out, whom they trode vnder their feete. MarginaliaCrueltie Neronicall or rather furie diabolicall. Many were fled into the wyne seller of the Castle, and many hyd themselues in caues, whereof some were caryed into the medowe and there stripped naked, were slayne: other some were bounde two and two together, and caryed into the hall of the Castle, where they were slayne by the Captaines, reioysing in their bloudy butchery and horrible slaughter.

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That done, this Tyranne, more cruell then euer was Herode, commaunded Captaine Iohn de Gay with a bande of ruffians, to go into the Churche (where was a great number of women, children and young infantes) to kill all that he founde there. Which the Captaine refused at the first, to do, saying: that were a crueltie vnused among men of warre. Whereat Miniers beyng displeased, charged hym vppon payne of rebellion, and disobedience to the kyng, to do as hee had commaunded hym. The Captaine fearyng that myght ensue, entred with his men, and destroyed them all, sparyng neither young nor old.

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In this meane while certaine souldiours went to ransackt the houses for the spoyle: where they founde many poore men that had there hydden themselues in sellers and other priuy places, flying vpō them and crying out: kill kill. The other souldiours that were without the towne, killed

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