Patrick Delaforce

'The Delaforce Family History' - Chapter 21
James and the Queens of Scotland & England

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Chapter 21

"Captain or Colonel or Knight in Arms", Milton 1608-1674.

James and the Queens of Scotland & England

Jacques De la Force was born about 1494 in Paris. He was son of Sir Anthony, grandson of Sir Bernard and great-grandson of Lord Bernard, killed at the battle of Barnet.

By the time Jacques was a schoolboy his father was a member of the French parliament in Paris, and Jaques De la Fonte/Forte was shown with his father Antoine de Foers/Fours in "Gallia Christiana" chartes of about 1502 (French Ecclesiastical Records).

In Sept. 1524 Jaques/Jacquet de la Fosse was a 'Mesureur de Terre Jure pour le Roi Francois I.' The French King ordered Jaques, who lived in Rouen, to make a detailed survey of the new port and town of Le Havre. "Process-verbal de la mesure de divers lieux et places fieffe's en la ville du Havre, ordonne' par arrest du Parlement de Rouen." The complete survey was for tax reasons, but also to establish Le Havre's potential as a seaport, as shown in Stephanode Merval's book 'Source documents fondation de Havre' pp. 240-255. The original survey is in the Archives Seine-Inferieure (Papiers de chapitre de Notre Dame de Rouen). One of the major landowners in Le Havre was Guillaume de Fosse.

In February 1537 Charles de Grave wrote to Lord Lisle "You had given me charge to write by the hand of monsieur Delfault of Gravelines" and in 1538 Sieur Jacques de Fours is seen in Rouen.

On 29 September 1539 Jaques de Ford and his brother John (Deffort and Delufall) were buying large quantities of English wools and textiles at public auction at the Calais Staple.

On 20 December 1539 Sieur Jaques Dufours of Paris is mentioned in Lady Lisle's published letters.

In 1544 two brothers "Capitaines nomme's Forces" were fighting bravely for the English in Boulogne during King Henry VIII's invasion of France. (Histoire Boulonnais J. Hector de Rosny vol.3 p.406). This is significant. James and John had obviously, like their grandfather and great-grandfather, come down, like all true Gascons, on the side of the English. John is shown in a separate chapter as an important envoy of King Henry VIII.

On 22 March 1544 Jaques de le Fers and his brother Michel petitioned the English King "for a licence to bring to the Isle of Jersey unarmed ships during the present war with the French King - 1000 tons of canvas, dolas, lokorum, olrons, crestclothe and poldavys and carry away 1000 tons woolen cloth, tin and lead." The next month they requested a similar form of barter transaction.

In 1553, Jaques owned lands at Colemberg (Boulogne) and Haimicourt (Abbeville).

On 1st July 1554 Jaques Delafowsse and his son Jaques De la Force were both naturalised in Westminster Denization Rolls. Jacques was shown to be about 60 years of age and to have an estate in Dorset at Dorchester.

In July 1555, Jaques, Monsieur de Fors was Lieutenant-General of Dieppe and the province for King Henri II of France. The King wrote to Jaques "au chasteau d'icelle ville pour trouver le moien de recouver quelques vaisseaux propres pour le service du Roy". And surprise "et ne'antmoins que les deniers du Roy ne fussent encoure arriver pour paier les frais". Like many Kings of the middle ages, funds were always slow in arriving. Anyway Jaques received some very nice letters from the King which counted for something. In brief, he expected Monsieur de Fors to seize a minimum of 6 ships for the Royal Fleet. "Toute fois, M. de Fors, sage et avise' chevalier pour tout cela" set to work and briefed the local admiral and captains (maistres et carsonniers) and quartermasters. What followed was, in effect, a full scale naval battle between the French fleet out of Dieppe and twenty four "hourques' from Flanders. After heavy losses on both sides and after some excursions to Dover (connected with wine-tasting and jollity), M. de Fors was able to report to his royal master that he had achieved a notable victory and obtained some six (probably rather battered) additional ships for the Kings navy. Finally the King sent back to M. de Fors a very nice letter complimenting his lieutenant-general on his victory. Almost certainly 'les deniers' never arrived, nor were they intended to arrive! (Source: F. Daniou, 'Archives Cuneuses de l'histoire de France'. 1st series vol. 3 pp 150-170 entitled 'Histoire de la Bataille Navaille les Dieppois & Flamens').

James was converted to Calvinism by M. D'Andelot Francis de Chatillon, brother of the great Admiral Coligny. The French chronicles of Dieppe by M.L. Vitet (Histoire des Anciennes Villes) mention Jaques frequently as M. Force or M. Desfort. In the autumn of 1557 the Scottish parliament approved the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the young Dauphin of France -Francis. In April 1558 eight commissioners, bishops and lords, including Lord James Stuart, Mary's half-brother, sailed to France as representatives of Scotland. They signed an agreement with France that Scotland was to keep its independence. On their way home to Scotland they were suddenly struck by illness as a result of which four of them died in one night. James Stuart himself fell ill, although he did recover. Mary spoke of this decimation as being God's will, but at the time a more sinister explanation was advanced. Knox murmured of poison, either French or Italian. It was rumoured that the Catholic Guises had determined to poison the commissioners because they had discovered something about the secret treaties which signed away Scotland's birthrights.

The Lord High Treasurer's records vol. 10 p.393 of 1558 show three items of expenditure by Queen Mary at her court in Edinburgh, to James De la Force, Admiral of the Fleet including the ship Carrogun. "Item the xj day of October to Monsieur Delaforce Capitaine of Deip & Admirale to the schippis in hamebringing of the lordis fra oure soverane Ladeis marriage ane(one) cheyne of gold weyand ijlij unce wecht (ounces weight) contenand iii crownis of the sone extending to iijjlxxxij Li x s."

"Item, the third day of Occtober to Alexander Forestar Carritee pursevant and John Caldor, messinger passand of Edinburgh witht ane chagre of the Quenis grace to the tounis of Sanct androis,

Dunde(e) and Monrois to inquire for the Admirale of the France schippis laitlie cumin in with the lordis." iiij li xs.

"Item be the Quenis grace charge, deliverit to Rothesay herauld passand of Edinburgh to Dunde witht Monsieur De la Force, Capitane of the Carrogoun that he be sufficientlie furnesit in all his necessaris. xl 5."

But on 17 November 1558 Mary, Queen of England, died 'with Calais engraved on her heart'.

In 1558 "Jacobus Forsans thesaurius (hoarder of money!) anno 30 Juli 1558 sententiam obtinuit a praeposito (Prevostship) Paris super justitia plailliace. Thesauni (treasury) St. Frambaldi of Paris." (Gallia Christiani) It appears that the French court honoured James for his political activities, and had become a wealthy man.

From 1558 to the end of 1562 Jacques was Governor for both Rouen and Dieppe until the French Catholic armies overwhelmed Dieppe in late autumn 1562. For several years M. de Fors/Fossel Force wrote direct to Secretary of State Cecil and to the Queen 'Mother' Elizabeth I. He was undoubtedly a key figure in the defence of both towns.

In 1560 "M de Fors makes sure that no harm comes to the Lutherans

Francis Edwards to Lord Cecil 15 December 1560 "Monsieur de Fosse will be new Captain of Dieppe.

On 1 January 1561 "M de Fosse governs the town and castle of Dieppe and Rouen again".

In 1562 the State Papers No. 881/2/3 show "Edw. Ormesby of Dieppe on 20 October. Montgomery sent to M De Fortz for succours". 'M Du Bois-Denalbout was sent hither with a trumpet for to M. De Fors from the Queen Mother with a letter of credence from her signed by herself only declaring that Rouen had made composition (peace)' 'The Captain De Fors assembled the council of the town with the burgesses of the same and these resolved upon an answer to the Queen Mother.. the effect whereof he sends enclosed'.

In 1562 "he praises the liberality of the Queen, and asks Cecil for more troops to defend Rouen." "Some troops are sent by the Queen from Rye to succour the French Protestants."

Jacques tells the Queen "the writer and all the inhabitants of Dieppe are ready to render all due obedience to their lawful Sovereign". The rash and impetuous Earl of Essex challenged the Governor to a duel or a tournament, which James sensibly refused!

Despite the visit of Mr Henry Killigrew, a Government official, and "his wife Madame de Fors came with divers gentlemen and ladies in August 1562", Rouen and Dieppe were doomed. Survivors including M de la Force arrived in Rye, as Mr Young, Mayor of Rye, reports to Secretary of State Cecil. Jacques hastened from Rye to London to see the Queen with the Earl of Warwick. "M de la Force, Capitaine du Chateau de Dieepe se retirent en Angleterre".

The following year, Jacques was back in Le Havre-de-Grace with a Gascon captain, Sieur Catteville Maldere', in the Queen's cause. On the 6th October 1562 3,000 English troops occupied Le Havre. (Source State Papers Domestic Elizabeth Vol. XXV Nos 25/35/38/41).

The French author Charles Merk 'History of Dieppe' records the two year events of Jaques in Dieppe.

On the 1st May 1560 Captain Deforts, Captain of the Town, declared himself for the Reformation: his example was followed by the Bailiff, Mayor and Aldermen. Admiral Coligny could now claim that Dieppe was Protestant. Cardinal de Bourbon sent a threatening letter to DesForts. The Royal Order forbade the public preachings of the Reform. The Captain replied boldly for the townspeople that they could not cease worshipping nor live as atheists. The Duke de Guise - the Catholic leader - sent the Duke de Bouillon to dismantle the town i.e. sack it. DesForts was arrested and sent to Rouen for trial and M de Ricarville, a Catholic, replaced him. Young King Francis died suddenly and Catherine de Medici assumed the reins of government on behalf of the new King Charles IX. When she passed through Dieppe with Admiral Coligny, Captain DesForts was released from prison and returned in triumph to the Chateau of Dieppe. A Synod of 50 Protestant Ministers was held in Dieppe in May 1561. DesForts found it difficult to control the excessively zealous Protestants. Freedom was a heady drug. The Duke de Bouillon again visited Dieppe and severely reprimanded DesForts. A bitter feud started between the Catholic de Ricarville, Captain of neighbouring Arques, and Captain DesForts, and many minor battles and skirmishes were fought. DesForts was wounded trying to break down the Church windows at Arques! A few months later the Plague broke out in Dieppe - a punishment of heresy, the Catholics said. War broke out in 1562 on a much larger scale and DesForts wrote to Queen Elizabeth asking for money to raise new militia companies. A fleet of six vessels with 900 men, mostly Scotsmen, and 14 guns arrived. The town garrison was increased to 2000 soldiers plus the 7000 citizens. After savage fighting the Catholic armies won the day and the Huguenot refugees who sailed to England were led by captain Desforts. He and Montgomery, the defenders of Rouen, plotted a return, and DesForts returned in disguise. On 22nd December 1562 his hated rival de Ricarville, who had taken his place, was done to death by the conspirators. The Gascon captain de Catterville and his men seized the Chateau.

The next year Catherine de Medicii made a state visit to Dieppe, gave a few favours to the Protestants and dismissed Captain DesForts, who almost certainly gave up the unequal struggle and retired to his estates in Dorset (temporarily).

As Jaques de Fosse' he reappeared in Dieppe in 1563 as Administrator of Charities and relief funds for the refugees pouring into the Channel ports as a result of the religious wars.

In 1568 the Calendar of Cecil papers showed that M de la Force is in the list of noble Huguenot officiers in the Army of Poitou.

In January 1569 M de Fors and M. de Chaumont (was this François de Caumont?) wrote to Cardinal Chatillon in England to petition him by order of the Queen of Navarre to help with the persecuted Huguenots at La Rochelle. In 1569 Jaques de Fosse ville (viel or vieux) was living in London with his son James, probably in Tower- Ward near his brother John.

James the father died on 3rd November 1573 as James Delafirs, stranger (i.e. a foreigner) St. Olave, Hart St. parish, but registered at St. Botolphs, Bishopsgate records. Jaques' career was rather unusual. Born and bred in Paris, he had divided loyalties to France and England. His father, grandfather and great grandfather were both English and French. All three generations traded with London, had English titles and served English monarchs or pretenders.

After Jaques' conversion to Protestantism about 1555 his main priorities were to save and succour the Protestant refugees, even though this meant service under the French King. The Wars of religion transcended the old French-English political loyalties, and faith was stronger than patriotism, which in Jaques' case was mainly to England, which is where he retired and eventually died.

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©1980-2004 Patrick Delaforce. All rights reserved Last revised 18/12/2005