Edict of Amboise, 18 March 1563

The Edict of Amboise (18 March 1563) ended the First War of Religion (1562-63), and granted the Huguenots legal tolerance and a limited right to preach in strictly limited locations.

The edict was agreed very quickly in the first part of March 1563. On 18 February the duke of Boise was mortally wounded at the siege of Orleans, dying on 24 February. This meant that three of the original four Catholic leaders in the war were dead, and the fourth, Duke Anne of Montmorency, was a prisoner. Likewise the senior Huguenot leader, Louis of Condé, was a prisoner. On 8 March both men were released, and peace negotiations were arranged by Catherine de Medici. Peace terms were agreed very quickly and issued as the Edict of Amboise.

Under the terms of the Edict of Amboise Huguenot worship was allowed in towns where it had been in place on 7 March 1563 apart from Paris, where it remained illegal. In addition the king was to select one town in each bailiwick in France where Huguenot worship would be allowed in one suburb, all gentlemen who held fiefs in low or mean justice could have preaching in their own homes and all nobles who held fiefs with high justice could have preaching on their estates. Every individual was give freedom of conscience in their own house, even in towns where public Huguenot worship was forbidden.

The edict was less generous than the Edict of January 1562. In the earlier edict the Huguenots had been allowed to preach anywhere in the countryside during daylight hours, but now they were restricted to a limited number of suburbs and the estates of Protestant noblemen.

In addition all property confiscated from either church was to be restored and all religious or prisoners of war were to be released.

It took some time for the peace to be ratified. The Parlement of Paris refused at first, as did Rouen, Dijon and Toulouse, but eventually the treaty was generally accepted and four years of peace followed.

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 (18 January 2011),Edict of Amboise, 18 March 1563, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/edict_amboise.html

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