Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'Family History Research' - chapter 39
The Fezensacs and Armagnacs

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chapter 39

"All baronets are bad" W.S. GILBERT

The Fezensacs and Armagnacs

The Albermales were a fascinating study but ultimately, did not give us any clear connexion to the various leads in the previous chapters. It was time to look at records further back.

Some of the French historians and the genealogical experts had made it quite clear that the very early Delaforce family 'started' in Gascony. The modern departmental name for Gascony is 'Gers' and it is a small, most attractive area, much shrunken in size from historic Gascony. For three hundred years the Gascons were British (1152-1453) and this is one of several reasons for a visit. Besides the famous Armagnac brandy, the good local wines, excellent food and hospitality, there are many beautiful towns, villages (including Fourcès the circular bastide), chateaux, fortresses, abbeys and churches to keep any visitor interested.

From a family historians point of view, Gascony is admirably documented. A reasonable knowledge of French and 'dog'-Latin and the would-be researcher has 20 or 30 excellent sources to tackle. To start with the British Museum library in London and the Gascon Rolls in the PRO Chancery Lane should be consulted. All the major local histories of Gascony are housed in the British Museum library. The departmental Archives are in Auch, the Gascon capital; so too is the modern bibliotheque, where on the first floor, can be found a wealth of printed books not available in London.

The initial clues pointed towards the ARMAGNAC family as being linked to the DELAFORCES. Research showed that the ARMAGNACS derived from the FEZENSACS (who in turn derived from the Dukes of Gascony and they in turn from the Kings of Navarre).

Charlemagne created the COMTÉ of FEZENSAC (modern VIC-FEZENSAC, west of AUCH) in 811 AD and gave the title to ADALRIC (Duke of Aquitaine)'s brother (but see chapter 48) LOUP-SANCHE. Another historian said that the first two Counts were BURGUND in 811 and LUYARD/LIEUTARD (which may be a corruption of LUPSANCHE) about 840 AD. Their crest was 'un lion rampant de Gueules en champ d'argent'. According to Pere Anselme (Book 2 p.613), the FEZENSAC Fief originally comprised 'combiné à l'orient seigneurie de l'ile GIMOEZ, au midi COMMINGES, ASTARNE, COUCHANT et SEPTENTION'. These seigneuries are within a 75 mile radius of Auch. It is reassuring to look back and see in those dark ages of brutality that the Fezensacs were good masters - "Le Comte de FEZENSAC permettait à ses sujets de jouer de ses forets, de ses eaux (lakes) & de tout ce qui s'y rattachait".


F. J. BOURDEAU's book 'Manuel de Geographie et Histoire Ancienne Gascogne et Bearn' quotes from a very early manuscript by Abbé AIGNAN du SENDAT of Auch, which translated from the Latin says "Au commencement de Xeme siecle, GUILLAUNE, cadet (younger son) de la maison de FEZENSAC fut apanage du domaine de Fourcès". "Apanage" means provision for maintenance of younger children of Kings or great nobility such as a dependency or territory.

This therefore was a vital clue: a WILLIAM of say, about 920 AD, connected with the FEZENSACS by birth who became a Lord or Baron of Fourcès.

From other sources including Pere Anselme it was possible to comprise a brief chart of the Fezensac counts.





GUILLAUME-GARCIAS b. 906, second son of (1), became first Comte de FEZENSAC and Armagnac in 920 AD: father of (3) and (4) and FREDELEON Comte de GAURE.


OTHON/ODON or EUDES FALTA or FORTE, brother of (4), 960-970.


BERNARD-ODON, 970 (shown as BERGUNIC FORTE in Chartes) father of (5).


AIMERI(C), 983 father of (6), and GERALD TRENCALEON, comte d'ARMAGNAC.


GUILLAUME-ASTANOVE 1030 father of (7), known as PELAGOZ (DELAFOZ?).


AIMERY FORTON II 1050 (implying (5) was FORTON I), also Count of AUCH.




ASTANNE II 1096 died on Crusade in 1098.




BEATRIX 1140 and


GARSIUS, Senex de MONTESQUIEU, FORTONIS, Comte de FEZENSAC: 1145: he was also first cousin to FORTON, Comte d'Astarac.

In 960 AD GUILLAUME-GARCIAS fût partagé of the Comté of FEZENSAC by his father the Duke. Raymond the powerful Count of Toulouse had given or left lands near Toulouse to Guillaume Garcie. A small town was created called LA FORCE near Carcassonne. For several centuries the seigneurs de La Force were usually called RAYMOND, presumably to commemorate the original donor.

The comté of Armagnac regained and absorbed the comté of Fezensac in 1140. Of the 12 FEZENSACS there was evidence that five of them were shown in various Gascon chartes as being Delaforces. It was of course rare to have a surname in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Garcia Sanchez 'le Courbé' Duke of Gascony (link to his parents) = Aminiana (Munia) d' Angoulême (?862 - aft 904) (link to her parents)

William I Garcias Count of Fezensac aka Guillaume Garces (906 - 960) = Gersenda of Toulouse see this link to chapter 50

Othon/Odon Falta de Fezensac Count from 960 - 970 (?927 - 970) = ?

See the family tree below

Bernard-Odon de Fezensac 'Le Louche' Count in 970 (?928 - 970) = (960) Emeline

Aimeri(c) Count in 983 (?961 - 990)= ?

Guillaume-Astanove Pelagoz (Delafoz?) = ?

Gerald TRENCALON Comte d'Armagnac in 990 (?985 - 1013) = Toda Adélaïde (?991 - aft 1020) see the Navarre chapter

See family 3 tree below

Garsende of Gascony (?923 - ?975) = (bfr 947) Raymond III Pons (?914 - ?957) Count of Toulouse aka Raimond III Taillefer

See Appendix IV - 4

Armengol (Ermengaude) I Count of Urgel (?975 - ?1010) = Gerberge (Teutberga) of PROVENCE

Armengol (Ermengaude) II Count of Urgel (1009? - 1038? enroute to Jerusalem) = Constance Velasquita of BESALU (? - ?1038)

Armengol (Ermengaude) III (Count) of Urgel = Clemencia de BIGORRE (?1027 - aft 1065)

see Appendix IV-2 3rd tree

other children on this link in the Gascons chapter

Othon/Odon Falta de Fezensac Count from 960 - 970 (?927 - 970) see family tree above = ?

Bernard-Odon Mancius-Tinéa or Bergunic FORTE = ?

Aymeric I = ?

Guillaume II-Astanove I = Constance

Aymeric II Forton comte de Fézensac & Auch (? - 1103) = Biverne or Avierne

Astanove II comte de Fézensac (? - 1098 on Crusade) = ?

Azaline = 1. Bernard III comte de Bigorre (? -1112)

= 2. Géraud III comte d'Armagnac

see the tree further below reuniting the lines


Raymond-Aymeric I seigneur de Montesquieu = Aurienne de La Mothe


Raymond Coppa Archbishop of Auch (? - 1049)

daughter = 1. Arnaud seigneur de Primeron

= 2. Arnaud-Guillaume Tremble-Dieu


Armagnac was divided into two areas: 'le haut' or "blanc Armagnac" with Auch as capital and ‘le bas’ or "le noir Armagnac" with Nogaro as capital. LECTOURE north of Auch later became their main residence.

The comtes of FEZENSAC and ARMAGNAC were very closely linked until 1140 when the Fezensacs merged with the Armagnacs. The latter went on to become for many centuries very nearly the most powerful family in France, until feuding with the Burgundians caused major upsets. As will be seen later, Delaforces were not only closely related to Armagnacs but until 1500 were still friends with them despite differences of loyalties to country and religion. The Delaforces with their firm allegiance to England and the Huguenot religion, and the Armagnacs the exact opposite.

The first ten counts of ARMAGNAC were as follows - dates of title:-



GUILLAUME-GARCIAS b. 906, son of Garcia Sanche Le Courbé



BERNARD I Le LOUCHE, married EMELINE in 960. He was younger brother of OTHON/ODON FALTA/FORTE and father of...






BERNARD II TUMAPELER, married ERMENGADE with a son Arnold-Bernard, see tree at the end of the chapter, and...



GERAUD II father of...



BERNARD III who was father of OTHON and...



GERAUD III who re-absorbed FEZENSAC by marriage.










LA GRANDE LAROUSSE states "Quatre familles ont porte' le titre d’Armagnac. La première est une famille gascoigne issue au IX siecle de SANCHE MITARRA fondation du Duché de Gascoyne et de son fils GARCIA SANCHEZ, dont le second fils GUILLAUME GARCIES recut le comté de FEZENSAC a nouveau partagé en 960 quand l'Armagnac est donné à BERNARD LE LOUCHE fils cadet de GUILLAUME Garces." The Armagnac crest was then 'Armoire d'or à un leopard lyonné de gueules.'

The Armagnacs and the Delaforces had close links for many years, although not, as far as can be ascertained, of marriage after 1005 AD. The following chart shows some of the links between the two families:-


Bracheutte, only daughter of GERAUD, Comte d'Armagnac married WILLIAM de FORCE, also known as Guillaume FORTON, Prince de Verdun.


AZELINE, widow of BERNARD de la Force (son of William and Bracheutte) remarried GERAUD II Comte d'ARMAGNAC.


FORZ LUB/LOUP of SCION/SION, FORZ LUBAT GARSIA, S. de SION witnessed land donations by BERNARD IV Comte de Fezensac and Armagnac. (Nasty Bernard IV, who, failing to install his son as Bishop of Auch, plundered the area, aided & abetted by Richard the Lion-Heart, then Duke of Aquitaine).




BERTRAN de la FFORCARIA of SEGONSAC, Temoin and witness for GERAULD Comte d' Armagnac and Fezensac fealty oaths "caution analogue fournis par..."


BERNARDO FOSSATI, magistrate and notary of MALOVICINO, witnessed act of session to the Comte d'Armagnac of lands belonging to JOURDAIN de l'Isle.


Jean de la Force paid hommage to Comte d'Armagnac for St. Anthonin, la Nogarede Pinemont and Vezin.


FORTIUS de TRAX, magistrate for Jean, Comte d'Armagnac.


Armagnacs were fighting for the French against the English.


Raymond-Guillaume du FOURC(E), Capitaine de Castelnau, EAUZE served under the Comte d'Armagnac with 'un ecuyer & quatre sergeats à pied'. His seal was 'scelles d'un sceau dont la legende porte S.BERNART deu FORC'.


Jean Count of Armagnac fighting for France recaptured Gascon lands until the Black Prince with an army of 5000 came from Bordeaux and forced Armagnac to retreat to Toulouse.


The French recaptured the lands of Armagnac, Quercy and Agen.


MARTIN de FOSSES, AMANIEU de FIEUXS served Comte d' Armagnac.


Jean, Comte d'Armagnac gave Seigneurial rights of MONTASTRUC "a son cher & feal escuyer Pierre de FOURC(E)" see 1468.


FAUCONET de la FOSSA paid hommage to Comte d'Armagnac.


GUIRAUD deu FAURE, S. de Soulages was at Armagnac military review.


Civil war in France between Burgundian and Armagnac supporters.


FORTIO de OSSIO (EAUZE) paid hommage to C. d'Armagnac.


PIERRE FORTIN and the spy case with the Duke of Alencon who married into Armagnac family.


BERTRAND de FERS, Seigneur de LAFEYRIE was shown as 'noblesse d'Armagnac'.


JOHANNE de FORCESSIO in Auch when Charles d'Armagnac made Comte de Fezensac.


Jean and Bernard de Fourcès with the Comte d'Armagnac when they greeted French King at Auch.

After examining the two main Gascon families of the 11th century it was difficult to write with conviction that the Delaforce family line traced in previous chapters (which ended with the Gascon tax survey of 1100-1120) were directly linked with either the FEZENSACS or the ARMAGNACS. Other 'tribes' such as the ASTARACS, MONTESQUIEVS and PARDIACS were scrutinised for links but, in 1980, the scent was cold!

One interesting clue was the geographical relationship of the family town of Fourcès. It is only a few miles inside the Gascon border, west and north of Condom and Fezensac: and quite a long way north of ASTARAC.

But another way of looking at it, was that Fourcès was quite close to the GARONNE which flowed from Toulouse to Bordeaux. The Bordeaux wine growers and the prelates, mayors and jurades of the GIRONDE showed that that part of the country should be examined for 11th century Delaforces.

Another clue to be looked at was the statement that in 1068 AYMERIC II FORTON, Comte de FEZENSAC and AUCH was recorded as 'coming from the old Dukes of Gascoigne'. Their seat of power was BORDEAUX. Incidentally the same AIEMERI FORTON (Source F. Loubens Histoire de Gascoigne) related "ceda a la metropole la terre et eglise de GAFALAZON moyennant 80 sous de la monnaie d'AUCH. C'est le plus ancien monument qui alteste que des Comtes d'AUCH battaient monnaies desque le commencement de la feodalité". Many of the Feudal counts and princes were allowed to produce their own coinage.

Before turning westwards from Fourcès it was thought worthwhile to look eastwards - just in case (which was just as well).

The main Gascon sources besides the Archives themselves are authors of local histories - MONLEZUN, PUECH, COURTEAULT, LOUBENS, DARTIGUE, BORDES and of course F.J. BOURDEAU with his vital clue Abbe d'Olgivies Nobiliare de GUIENNE showed WILLIAM de FORCE who actually married BRACHEUTTE, as not only founding the Delaforce family but being an ARMAGNAC by birth. The mistake was caused by a Latin chart showing an Armagnac count as being William's uncle, instead of uncle by marriage.

The Armagnacs

Gerald TRENCALON Comte d'Armagnac in 990 (?985 - 1013) link back = Toda Adélaïde (?991 - aft 1020) 1st husband see chapter 44

Bernard II 'Tumapaler' Comte d'Armagnac 1020-1061 abdicated, Duke of Gascony 1040-1052 (? - 1090) = Ermengarde

Gérard comte d'Armagnac (?1045 - 1095) = Azeline widow of Bernard de la Force see chapter 43 3rd tree

Bernard III comte d'Armagnac (1071 - 1110) = (1095) Alpaïs (?1075 - ?1100) daughter of Boson I vicomte de Turenne

Géraud III comte d'Armagnac (? - 1160) = Azaline or Adalmure comtesse de Fézensac daughter of Astanove II above





Arnold-Bernard comte d'Armagnac (? - 1080) = Naupazie



Béatrix = Gaston V vicomte de Béarn, (? - 1170) first wife

Adelaise or Brachette d'Armagnac = (?1005) William de FORCE or Guillaume Fortun Prince de Verdun (980 - ?)

see chapter 40 2nd tree

Jeanne D'Armagnac = Robert de Perusse

Foulques de Perusse (abt 1040 - aft 1083) = Humberge de Limoges (?1045 - ?)


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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2004 Patrick Delaforce. All rights reserved Last revised 19/12/2005