Huguenot Heartland: Montauban and Southern French Calvinism During the Wars of Religion

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In the immediate years and months before the outbreak of religious war in 1562 the growth of Protestantism in France had gone unchecked, and an overriding sense of Protestant triumphalism emerged in cities across the land. However, the wars unleashed a vigorous Catholic reaction that extinguished Protestant hopes of ultimate success. This offensive triggered violence across the provinces, paralysing Huguenot communities and sending many Protestant churches in northern France into terminal decline. But French Protestantism was never a uniform phenomenon and events in southern France took a rather different course from those in the north. This study explores the fate of the Huguenot community in the area of its greatest strength in southern France. The book examines the Protestant ascendancy in the Huguenot stronghold of Montauban through the period of the religious wars, laying open the impact that the new religion had upon the town and its surrounding locality, and the way in which the town related to the wider political and religious concerns of the Protestant south. In particular, it probes the way in which the town related to the nobility, the political assemblies, Henry of Navarre and the wider world of international Calvinism, reflecting upon the distinctive cultural elements that characterised Calvinism in southern France.