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Gilles DE RAIS

French Gilles DE RAIS


Breton knight, a leader in the French army and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc

Source :  Jacques CHANIS

Born: on September 04, 1404 in Champtocé-sur-Loire, France
Died: on October 26, 1440 in Nantes, France


Gilles de Rais was born to Guy II de Montmorency-Laval and Marie de Craon in the family castle at Champtocé-sur-Loire. He was an intelligent child, speaking fluent Latin, illuminating manuscripts, and dividing his education between military discipline and moral and intellectual development. Following the deaths of his father and mother in 1415 (the former of whom was killed while hunting), Gilles and his younger brother René de La Suze were placed under the tutelage of Jean de Craon, their maternal grandfather. Jean de Craon was a schemer who attempted to arrange a marriage for twelve-year-old Gilles with four-year-old Jeanne Paynel, one of the richest heiresses in Normandy, and, when the plan failed, attempted unsuccessfully to unite the boy with Béatrice de Rohan, the niece to the Duke of Brittany. On 30 November 1420, however, Craon substantially increased his grandson's fortune by marrying him to Catherine de Thouars of Brittany, heiress of La Vendée and Poitou. Their only child Marie was born in 1429.

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See Also :

- Category French Ancien Régime