Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

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

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

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

Article excerpt

Huguenot Heartland: Montauban and Southern French Calvinism during the Wars of Religion. By Philip Conner. [St Andrews Studies in Reformation History.] (Brookfield, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Co. 2002. Pp. xiv, 257. $84.95.)

The place of Montauban in the chaotic religious history of early modern France is widely appreciated, though perhaps not fully understood. How ultimately do we account for the strength of Protestantism at Montauban? What, furthermore, was the precise relationship between the town's Reformed Christianity and the Huguenot political movement? As he sets about responding to these and related queries, Conner covers some familiar ground. He also makes original and important contributions to our knowledge of the Reformation in southern France, the so-called Huguenot heartland.

This study benefits enormously from Conner's deep immersion in the manuscript archives. The most stunning aspect is his utilization of numerous notarial registers. These materials demand considerable paleographic skill, are clumsy in their arrangement, and can be daunting by their sheer volume. Yet Conner's efforts have proven extremely rewarding. He has identified seventy-seven pastors who served the Reformed Church of Montauban between 1560 and 1629. Careful investigation reveals that four-fifths were native to the vicinity. They often took theological training at the Academy of Montauban and many were resident property owners. In short, these ecclesiastical leaders were well-integrated members of the municipality. As a result, Conner is able to present an impressive portrait of the local Reformed community, its aspirations and accomplishments.

Conner analyzes the political dynamics of the Huguenot cause by virtue of another manuscript collection, private papers belonging to the Scorbiac family. he is the first to utilize extensively these materials from this aspiring family. …

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