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The Ancien Régime and the Mareste family

HomeThe CastleThe Ancien Régime and the Mareste family

Although we are still unsure of the exact dates of the castle’s first construction, the first found written history seems to start in 1296. An act was written by the knight Sicamore de la Forest, father of Guillaume de Lucey who donated the castle and its land to his nephew Jacquemet de Chevelu, son of Isabelle de Lucey and Jean de Chevelu.

The allegiance granted in 1309 by Amedee V was reinacted in 1392 by Amedee VIII in favor of Louis de Chevelu, Lord of Lucey, allowing him to begin ruthless constructions of the castle and recruit 25 men from his heartland, Chanaz, in order to defend the country. Around 1400, the Count of Savoy authorized a new extension of the castle so as to “better defend itself against the French”.

On February 7th 1466, François de Chevelu, Lord of Lucey, marries Guillemette de Chevelu, daughter of François de Mareste, Lord of Culoz.

As no male descendants lived through, the property was passed on to the Mareste family in 1513. On July 15th, the last Chevelu- Lucey descendant, daughter of François, passes on, through her will, all of her belongings to Claude de Mareste, who becomes Lord of Lucey. The Mareste family will stay in Lucey until the French Revolution, becoming one of the most important families in the region and owning a considerable amount of fiefs. Many became lords, then barons of Lucey and Chevelu as well as marquesses.

A certain Bernard de Mareste living in 1273, Pierre in 1314 and Eymeric in 1352 are among those found. Humbert and Guillaume had invested in property in Yenne in 1392. On March 19th 1534, Claude de Mareste, bailiff in the Bugey, is present at Philippe de Savoie-Nemours’ funeral in Annecy; and in 1563, he becomes Baron of Lucey by the Duke Emmanuel-Phillibert with whom he had worked for as main advisor and butler.

In 1615, Jean de Mareste, Baron of Chevelu and Lucey, marries his daughter Isabeau off to a certain Jean in Seyssel. The celebrations take place in Lucey with the majority of the local aristocracy.

In 1654, Louis de Mareste, Baron of Lucey and Chevelu, Count of Châteaufort, becomes Marquis of Lucey by Charles Emmanuel II.

Another Mareste, owning a considerable amount of land in 1672, is asked to provide soldiers to Louis XIV.

Louis de Mareste is said to have lived in the castle in 1740. Around 1760, he chooses to not be present when the King of Sardinia comes to visit; the latter being received by a priest during his stay.

During this period, the fort is transformed into residential quarters; horseshoe-arched windows are built and then taken down. Bedrooms are built above the old chapel; the main rooms are decorated, old doors are moved to secondary premises; numerous painters and artists redecorate the many walls of the castle with portraits of the lords and ladies or reproducing various works seen in museums.

The last known Marquis immigrated during the Revolution and the Mareste family died out with its last member, Pierre-Paul-Hyacinthe de Mareste of Lucey at the beginning of the 19th century.

We have safely kept a watercolor painting dated from the 17th century representing the donjon, the foothills and ruins of the chapel, the only known trace pre revolution.

Antoine de Galbert

These notes are entirely extracted from:

    • Archives d’Etat de Turin
    • Amédée de Foras, Armorial et Nobiliaire de l’ancien Duché de Savoie, Editions Allier, Grenoble, 1878
    • Jean Létanche, Les vieux châteaux du canton d’Yenne en Savoie, Chambéry 1907
    • Marie Thérèse Duperchy, Le château de Lucey, Le Bugey n°95, 2008
    • Charles Defforey, notes dactylographiées