Pierre Bonin and Rose Bonneau.

Catholic in a Huguenot Town.

Many in La Rochelle held fast to Protestant teachings through the worst of the Wars of Religion from 1562 to 1598. Atrocities were committed by both sides as the various noble families exploited religious fervor to further their own hold on power. Until finally the Edict of Nantes in 1598 established a truce and cessation of hostilities.

The Edict restricted Protestants to limited areas but they remained dominate in La Rochelle and in many parts of southern France. Under their watch Catholic churches were looted. Statuary was destroyed. The parish of Notre-Dame des Cougnes was all but destroyed and what was left was used as a warehouse and stable. A small chapel near the temple Calviniste remained to see to the ministry of the town's Catholics.

Our ancestors Pierre Bonin and Rose Bonneau were wed in the Catholic chapelle de Sainte-Marguerite on 16 May 1604. Witnessing the ceremony were Lucas Bonin and Mathurin Alard.

Catherine Bonin, our ancestor, was their third child. She was baptized 27 March 1611 in the same chapel. Her parrain and marraine, or godparents, were Gilles Brodu and Catherine Durette.

Le Boucher.

A good butcher trained for years before putting out his shingle. In La Rochelle they were clustered along rue Buffeterie.

Pork was most often consumed in the form of hams and sausages that could be cured and thus preserved. Rabbits, chickens and ducks could be kept but pheasant and even swans and peacocks were also on the table. Deer was available in the old forests though often the large landowners controlled hunting.

Once at the butcher's the beast was struck in the head with an axe head to stun it before the slaughter. Blood was collected for use in sausages or pudding ("pudding" describes a savory dish like boudin). It was a messy business.

Though the hide was tanned for leather, hooves boiled for glue and most of the organs were consumed, the unused parts were often dumped in the waterways.

There were rules governing the sale of meat: it could not be sold on days of fast, and to guarantee freshness the animal must have been "previously seen alive by two or three persons, who will testify to it on oath".