Originating from Gascony, the House of Caumont had split into two different branches by the reign of Louis XIV. One was headed by the Duc de La Force and the other Duc de Lauzun. It is estimated that the family had been among the nobility for several centuries prior to the Grand Siècle. However, there was one remarkable thing about the branch of Caumont La Force: they were Protestants.
The Ducs de La Force
1. Jacques Nompar de Caumont and (I) Charlotte de Gontaut-Biron, (II) Anne de Mornay, (III) Isabelle de Clermont-Gallerande
Being Protestant, Jacques became a target during the St. Bartholomew's Days Massacre but managed to survive. Initially, he had joined forces with Henri de Rohan against Louis XIII but later reconciled with him and served the king on the battlefield, earning himself the title of Marèchal de France. After successfully capturing several Italian towns and driving the Spaniards back, he was elevated to the title of Duc de La Force.
Charlotte was the daughter of the Baron de Biron.
They had ten children:
- Armand, Duc de La Force
- Henri, Duc de La Force
- Jacques - killed in battle
- Charles, Seigneur de Maduran
- Pierre, Baron d'Aymet
- Jean, Seigneur de Montpouillan
- Jean-Jacob, Marquis de Tonneins
- François, Marquis de Castelmoron
Anne de Mornay had been married once before to the Seigneur de La Tabarière with whom she had had seven children.
Isabelle de Clermont-Gallerande was another widow; she had been married to the Dutch ambassador
2. Armand Nompar de Caumont and (I) Jeanne de Rochefaton, (II) Louise de Belzunce
Like his father, Armand became a Marèchal de France - as it happened, he would often accompany his father on the battlefield. He was renowned for his bravery during his military campaigns of Italy and Spain; for instance, he had two horses killed from under him during the siege of Hondarribia in 1638. At court, he served as Grand Maître of the King's Wardrobe for five years.
Jeanne de Rochefaton was Dame de Saveilles in her own right. She died in 1667.
The couple had two children:
- Charlotte, Marèchale de Turenne
- Jacques, Marquis de Masgezir
Louise de Belzunce married Armand the same year that Jeanne died. She was the daughter of the Vicomte de Macaye. At the time of her marriage, Louise was 17 years old while Armand was 87! She had no children by Armand and died from small-pox after 13 years of marriage.
|Louise de Belzunce|
3. Henri Nompar de Caumont and Marguerite d'Escodeca
Henri was the second son of Jacques Nompar de Caumont and therefore the brother of the former Duc de La Force. He also followed his father into battle and killed the Duc de Mayenne in battle while fighting the troops of Louis XIII. Once the family had reconciled with the king, he became a valued asset in the king's army, where he obtained the rank of Marèchal de camp.
Marguerite was Dame de Boësse and the daughter of the Baron de Boësse. The couple had nine children:
- Jacques - killed in battle
- Henri - died young
- Pierre, Marquis de Cugnac
- Armand, Marquis de Montpouillan
- Charlotte, Comtesse de Lauzun
- Diane, Marquise de Montbrun
- Jeanne, Marquise de Navailles
- Jacqueline, Comtesse de Panjas
- Henriette, Demoiselle de Castelnau
4. Jacques Nompar II de Caumont and (I) Marie de Saint-Simon, (II) Suzanne de Beringhen
Jacques was the grandson of the former Duc de La Force - his father and namesake, Jacques, had been killed in battle. Marie de Saint-Simon was the daughter of the Marquis de Courtomer. They had three children:
- Louise Victoire, Comtesse de Roure
Marie died in 1670 and Jacques remarried three years later to Suzanne de Beringhen. They had seven children:
- Henri-Jacques, Duc de La Force
- Jeanne, Comtesse de Courtomer
5. Henri-Jacques Nompar de Caumont and Anne Marie Beuzelen de Bosmelet
Henri-Jacques did not manage to become a Marèchal de France but was a colonel of a regiment which bore his own surname. He became a member of the Académie Française and served as a financial councillor to the Regency council under Philippe d'Orléans. His interests included science had it was he who (amongst others) founded the Académie Nationale des Sciences
Anne was the daughter of the Seigneur de Bosmelet. She had four children by Henri-Jacques but none of them survived infancy and only one of their names is known: Marie Jeanne Antonine who lived and died in 1699.
6. Armand Nompar II de Caumont and Anne-Elisabeth Gruel de Boismont
Armand was the younger brother of Henri-Jacques and assumed the title in 1727. Anne-Elisabeth was a widow when she married Armand in 1713. They had four children:
- Jacques III, Duc de La Force
Armand must have abdicated his title because his son, Jacques, became Duc de La Force despite dying before his father.
7. Jacques Nompar III de Caumont and Marie Louise de Noailles
Jacques was intended to create the next generation but he died at the age of just 41 years old and his marriage to Marie Louise had not produced any offspring.
8. Bertrand Nompar de Caumont and Adélaïde Luce de Galard de Brassac de Béarn
This couple happened to be both descending from the House of Caumont. Bertrand appears to have been a relative to the Duc de La Force while Adélaïde was a granddaughter of Armand II. Bertrand served as a guardsman to Louis XV and a Gentleman of the Bedchamber.
The couple had 12 (!) children:
- Anne, Marquise Piovera
- Jacques Armand, Marquis de La Force (died at 3 years old)
- Catherine, Comtesse de Pille
- Renée Philiberte
- Anne Philiberte
- Louis-Joseph, Duc de La Force
- François Pierre Bertrand, Marquis de La Force
- Josephine Louise, Comtesse de Béthune
- Marie, Comtesse de Bram
- Louise Josephine, Comtesse de Mesnard
9. Louis-Joseph Nompar de Caumont and Sophie d'Ossun
The final Duc de La Force (during the Ancien Regime) had close connections to the royal family during the last decade before the revolution. His godparents had been the Comte and Comtesse de Provence (brother and sister-in-law of Louis XVI) and his marriage contract was signed by the king and queen. He served in the army from 1780 and later became a Grandee of Spain.
Sophie was a friend of Marie Antoinette and was given her tabouret in 1788. The couple had just one child: Adélaïde Olympe.
The couple emigrated during the revolution and the family still holds the title today.
The Duc de Lauzun
1) Antoine Nompar de Caumont and Geneviève Marie de Durfort
Antoine is known particularly for being the love interest of La Grande Mademoiselle whom he may or may not have married in secret. He was known as a bit of a troublemaker - having been imprisoned several times - and he moved to England in 1685 in the hope of gaining favour with James II. He would later return to France where he continued to be out of favour with Louis XIV. When La Grande Mademoiselle died, he married Geneviève.
Geneviève was just 14 years old when she was married to the 63-year old Duc de Lauzun. She was the sister-in-law of the Duc de Saint-Simon. The couple never had any children.
Antoine had no children, so the title went to husband of his niece and therefore passed on to the House of Gontaut.
- Charlotte-Rose de Caumont La Force (granddaughter of the first Duc de La Force) became a renowned novelist who converted to Catholicism
- The Ducs de La Force must have been made of sturdy stuff - several died at remarkably high ages
- Henri died at 96 years old
- Armand died at 95 years old
- Jacques died at 93 years old
- Armand II died at 83 years old
- Besides La Grande Mademoiselle, the Duc de Lauzun enjoyed the favouritism of the English Queen, Mary of Modena
- The father and brother of the first Duc de La Force were killed during the St. Bartholomew's Days Massacre
- The Paris residence of the family - the Hôtel de La Force - became the notorious La Force prison during the revolution
Titles held by the House:
- Duc de La Force
- Duc de Caumont
- Marquis de La Force
- Marquis de Boësse
- Comte de Mussidan