Introduction History

Jacques  MOISANTde BRIEUX(1611-1674)

Moisant de Brieux

 It is indeed essential to consider Moisant in his family and social background and, besides, in the present case, this study will reveal an exemplary social promotion, under the"Ancien Régime".

Moisant's family hailed from Brittany where some of its members had been councillors in the local Parliament, Seneschals, Lieutenants-Généraux and also a few soldiers and clergymen. In the 16th century there was a Nicolas de Moisant in Rouen who belonged to the Protestant faith (Reformed Church) nicknamed by the Catliolics RPR (la religion prétendue réformée = the so-called reformed church). Nicolas had made a substantial fortune in the cloth trade; Rouen was then the second city in the kingdom and one of the most active.

This Nicolas was the great-grandfather of Jacques; another Nicolas, the grandfather, married Catherine Péronne from Dieppe in 1555. One of their eleven children, Guillaume, settled in Caen where he carried on with the cloth trade and ended up buying the finest house in town, the Hôtel d'Escoville, also known as 'l'Hôtel du Grand Cheval' = the Mansion of the Great Horse, owing to a remarkable equestrian subject carved on the pediment over the gateway which may have represented one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and was defaced in 1793.

From his marriage with Marthe Soyer from Dieppe, in 1605, were born two daughters and one son: Jacques.

Marrying into the Soyer family meant for Guillaume Moisant a great match which underlined his thriving situation. His environment was one of gowned people (professors, judges, lawyers) officials and wealthy citizens, some recently raised to the nobility, all active enterprising people, eager to climb the social ladder and who, moreover, belonged to the Protestant faith,that is to say to a minority intent on a militant solidarity.

As for Guillaume Moisant, in 1618 he bought the property of Brieux near Caen and was, henceforward, known as Moisant de Brieux. He died in 1624.

Moisant de Brieux
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