Peace of Bergerac, 14 September 1577

The peace of Bergerac (14 September 1577) ended the Sixth War of Religion, and was a slightly modified version of the unpopular Edict of Beaulieu, which had helped trigger the war in the first place.

The Edict of Beaulieu had ended the Fifth War of Religion, and had granted the Huguenots the right to worship anywhere outside Paris. It had been very unpopular in Catholic circles, and helped trigger the formation of the first Catholic League, which agitated against the terms of the edict. The Estate General also called for the elimination of Protestantism on France, allowing Henry III to renounce the Edict. However he was unable to raise the funds needed to pay for a large army, and after capturing La Charité (2 May 1577) and Issoire (12 June 1577), Henry ran out of money had had to recall the army. With his main opponents still at large in the west, and receiving help from England, Henry had little choice other than to begin peace negotiations, and these soon produced the Peace of Bergerac, which was agreed on 14 September 1577.

In most ways the peace of Bergerac repeated the terms of the Edict of Beaulieu (5 May 1576), although with more restrictions on Protestant worship. The earlier treaty had granted free of worship outside Paris. The new treaty limited Protestant worship to the suburbs of one town in each judicial district across France.

Senior Huguenot noblemen were given the right to worship for anyone they wanted in their main dwelling, and anywhere else on their lands if they were present. More junior nobleman had the right of worship in their residences and for their families only. The Huguenots were allowed to continue worshiping in any city or borough where they had been publicly worshiping on the date the edict was signed. Finally worship would be allowed in the suburbs of one town or village in each judicial across France, part from Paris.

The peace of Beaulieu had set up eight chamber mi-partie, one in each Parlement, with an equal split of Huguenot and Catholic judges. The new agreement was for four mixed courts, with none in Paris, Rouen, Dijon or Rennes, and two thirds Catholic and one third Protestant judges. Protestants were allowed access to universities and schools. They were given eight security towns. Henry of Navarre, the Prince of Condé and twenty other Huguenot noblemen had to each swear to restore those cities to the crown after six years.

The peace was published by Henry on 17 September 1577 as the Edict of Poitiers.

The French Religious Wars 1562-1598, Robert Jean Knecht. A useful guide to the complex series of nine French Wars of Religion, including an examination of who the wars began and the main players on both sides, narrative accounts of the wars, overviews of the most important battles and sieges. Also looks at the impact of the wars on France’s neighbours, many of whom got dragged into the conflict, and on a selection of soldiers and civilians. Supported by a series of maps that help show how complex the conflict was
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 December 2017), Peace of Bergerac, 14 September 1577 ,

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