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Translated extract from

The Universal Nobiliary of France

or, general collection of the historical genealogies of

the noble houses of this Kingdom

by Nicolas Viton Saint-Allais (1773-1842) and others

Paris, Bureau du Nobilaire Universel de France

1814-1843.  21 vols.

Volume 11, pp. 132-150 [1]

 

 

DE MELLET, in Périgord.

 

This house, distinguished for its services and its alliances, is no less for the advantage which it has of having taken its name from the region of Mellet,[2] situated in the diocese of Périgueux – an advantage which is characteristic of the ancient nobility, following the general principle in genealogical matters regarding the origin of surnames, in the eleventh century, it not being permitted other than to nobles possessing fiefs, and to them only, to derive their names and to pass these on to their descendants.

 

The house of Mellet has been in existence since the year 1090, and its descendants, presumed since 1273, have continued since 1334.  It has produced many remarkable individuals, who have held distinguished places at court and in the armies.  Jean de Mellet was pantler [3] to the Queen of Navarre, in 1543;  Magdelon de Mellet was chosen by Queen Catherine de’ Medici to accompany into Poland King Henry III, her son;  on his return to France he was  made this prince’s ordinary gentleman of the bed chamber, and was killed at the battle of Coutras, in 1587.[4]  Bertrand de Mellet younger brother of the preceding, was gentleman of the bed chamber of the King of Navarre,[5] and colonel of infantry;  he commanded  the artillery at the siege of Rouen;[6]  he was at the battle of Coutras, and was killed at the siege of Villebois.[7]  M. de Sully, in his Memoirs,[8] and M. de Thou, in his Universal History,[9] speak highly of these two brothers.  M. de Sully speaks also [10] of a lady of Neufoy, whom he designates in no other way, who was attached, along with mesdames de Rohan, de la Guiche and de la Barre, to the person of Catherine de Bourbon, duchess de Bar, sister of king Henry IV.  Charlotte de Mellet was first lady of honour of Queen Marie de’ Medici, from 1613 up to 1630, etc.

 

This house is no less distinguished by its marriages;  included among the principal, are those which were contracted directly with the houses of de Clermont-d’Amboise, de Grammont,  de la Rochefoucauld, de la Tour-d’Auvergne, de Montesquiou-Montluc, du Maine-du-Bourg, d’Abzac-de-la-Douze, des Achards-de-Joumard, de Beauroire, de Fayolle, de Flamenc-de-Bruzac, de Foucaud, de Fumel, de Grimoard, d’Ingrande, de Lestrade, de Saint-Astier, de Taillefer, etc.  It owned for nearly three hundred years the region of Neuvic, in Périgord, by virtue of the entail, affixed to the will of Annet de Fayolle, seigneur of Neuvic, of 17 April 1532, by which the testator appointed Jean de Mellet, squire, seigneur of Saint-Pardoux, his universal heir, on condition that he and his descendants bear his name and arms;  it was in order to fulfil this clause that the seigneurs de Mellet have always given precedence in their records, to their name, that of Fayolle, and have quartered their arms with those of Fayolle.

 

Before giving the following genealogy of this house, we relate, in chronological order, the names of the individuals who were not linked to one another by degrees of filiation.

 

Bernard de Mellet was one of the noblemen who assisted in the foundation of the abbey of Tonnai-Charente, and in the donation that Geofroi de Tonnai-Charente made, in the year 1090, to the Abbey of Saint-Jean-d’Angely.

 

Pierre de Mellet, having left the service of John Lackland,[11] king of England, to attach himself to that of the king of France, his possessions were confiscated by the king of England, who bestowed them on Robert de Gouiz, Robert d’Harcourt and Pierre de Prelles;  following three orders, emanating from this prince, and addressed the 8 and 10 May 1202 to the seneschel of Normandy, to Guillaume de Mortemer and to Robert de Vieuxpont.[12]

 

A. (Adémar or Arnaud) de Mellet, chaplain of Raimond de Castelnau, bishop of Périgueux, was witness of a donation made in 1203, by this bishop, to the abbey of Chancelade.[13]

 

Raimond de Mellet was witness with Archambaud de Felets, knight, of a donation made in 1220, to the abbey of Dalon, in Limosin, by Vital de Monès.[14]

 

Adémar de Mellet, canon of Périgueux and chaplain of the church of Mellet, had a dispiute with B. de Cappol, squire:  this latter was excommunicated by the Pope, and his bailiffs and men interdicted;  but the excommunication having been lifted, this dispute was terminated by a tribunal judgment, which was delivered in 1231, in the cemetery of Saint-Pardoux-la-Rivière, by Aymeric Samathie, archdeacon of Périgueux, and Guillaume de Maumont, cleric.  The same Adémar de Mellet, canon of Sainte-Etienne of Périgueux, is named in the treaty of alliance and union between the city and the Puy-Saint-Front of Périgueux, on the Sunday before the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle, 1240.[15]  He was appointed, soon after, archdeacon of the same church, and died the 20 September 1263;  the following is his epitaph, that we give here,[16] and which can be seen still engraved on a stone, in the cloister of the cathedral church of Saint-Etienne in the city of Périgueux.

 

Nicolas de Mellet, knight, was appointed, in 1250, arbitrator of a dispute or rather of a war, raised between Guy, bishop of Clermont, and Raimond, count of Auvergne.[17]

 

Henri de Mellet was named in the letters of Robert, Count of Artois, gifted to Bordeaux, the 17 October 1296;  by which this prince approved an account of Geofroi Coquatrix, listing the sums spent by him in the establishment of the region of Gascony, for war service.

 

Amanieu de Mellet, seigneur of Saint-Pardoux, and brother of Adémar de Mellet, archdeacon of the church of Périgueux, is known for a deed of the year 1273, which was presented to the office of the Holy Spirit.  It is believed that he was father or grandfather of Hughes de Mellet, squire.

 

[Pages 135-150 omitted]

 

 

Arms:  Quarterly, azure, three bee-hives  argent, for DE MELLET;  azure, a lion or crowned gules, for DE FAYOLLE.


 


 

[1]  Nobiliaire universel de France, ou Recueil général des généalogies historiques des maisons nobles de ce royaume, par M. de Saint-Allais.  Tome onzième.  Paris, l’Auteur, 1817, p 132-150.

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=xrEUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132.

 

[2]  The parish of Mialet, formerly called de Melet (in Latin de Meleto), situated a little distance from the boundaries of Limosin, six and a half leagues N. N. E. of Périgueux, is the chief town of the region of Mellet, which long ago passed, with its most ancient titles, into foreign hands.

 

[3]  The servant or officer, in a great family, who has charge of the bread and the pantry.

 

[4]  11 November 1587.

 

[5]  Antoine de Bourbon, 1518-1562.

 

[6]  29 September–26 October 1562.

 

[7]  December 1589.  Le siège du château de Villebois.  http://www.histoirepassion.eu/spip.php?article1633.

 

[8]  Sully, Maximilien de  Bethune, duc de, 1559-1641.  Memoirs of the Duke of Sully, prime minister of Henry the Great.  Edinburgh, 1819, v. 1.

 

[9]  Thou, Jacques-Auguste de, 1553-1617.  Histoire universelle, depuis 1543 jusqu’en 1607.  Paris, 1734, v. 4.

 

[10]  Sully, op. cit.

 

[11]  King John, known in France as Jean sans-Terre, ruled 1199-1216.

 

[12]  Extracted from the original Rolls, preserved in the Tower of London, and certified on 29 May 1769 by M. de Bréquigny.

 

[13]  Cartulaire de Chancelade, fol. 15, verso.

 

[14]  The King’s Library, Manuscript de Gaignières, vol. 200, fol. 136.

 

[15]  Mémoires de Périgueux, printed in 1775, in 4o., vol. 2, preuv., p. 44.

 

[16]  Year of our Lord 1263.  XII Kal.

         Octob.  Died Ademarus de Melet.

         Archdeacon and priest.

         May he rest in peace.

 

[17]  Gallia Christiana, vol. 2, col. 89.

 

 

 

An abbreviated version of the above, in French, together with a genealogical chart, was transcribed in the (unpublished) Genealogy Manuscript Book of George Bown Millett (1842-1896), p. 89-92.