|Jehan du Lac, Seigneur
de La Tour du Lac, Baron de Carolingie
Jehan du Lac is the fifth son of Aymer and Bertrande. He was born in the Perigord region of the province of Guyenne in southwest France in 1553. He was tutored at home and was put out to live with his Uncle Raymond's family near Ste. Foix la Grande when he was 13. In 1572 he accompanied his uncle to Paris for the marriage of Henry de Navarre and Marguerite de Valois. He was a witness to and survivor of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in which his uncle and cousin were killed. He escaped back to the southwest and joined the Protestant troops in La Rochelle. He spent most of the next 15+ years soldiering around in various campaigns in the region and was with King Henry's army that went north in 1589. He participated at the great victories at Coutras in 1587 and at Ivry in 1590, both of which added considerably to his personal net worth. He met Luke Knowlton during the Normandy campaign in the early 1590s and they soldiered together off and on for the next several years. Jehan was with the King's troops when they entered Paris in 1594. He decided at that time to retire from the service and do as so many old Huguenot captains had done and retire to a country estate and take a wife. His happiness was short-lived however as his young wife and baby boy died in childbirth the next year and he headed back to the front for the seige of Amiens in 1597. It was his good fortune to meet his old friend Capt. Knowlton there and he settled into the soldier's life again. Being badly wounded towards the end of 1597, Luke escorted him home and endedup staying in the area for some time, looking into possibilities in the wine trade. Nowadays, Jehan lives the life of a country squire. He and Luke hunt and do a bit of angling, he tends his estate (with the help of his well-thumbed Maison Rustique), and he reads the latest news sheets from Bordeaux. Try as she might, his sister has not yet been successful in finding him a new wife, so he lives the life of a bachelor.
For those of you who know the tavern keeper of Calais, this is an alternate history that diverged at that crucial battle of Ivry in 1590. The tavern keeper lost his eye, cracked some vertebrae, fractured his leg, and suffered a decline in his fortunes. This one not only emerged healthy, but made a considerable profit in ransoms and loot. His fortunes have continued to improve, to the point of inheriting a large and prosperous barony.
Photo by Master Liam St. Liam.
Luke Knowlton is the fifth and youngest son of Mr. George Knowlton and his wife Ann. He was born in St. Johnís Parish, Clerkenwell, which is just north of Smithfield, outside the London walls in 1560. His family is in overseas trade and owns considerable interests in tanneries in Bermondsey (on the other side of the Thames), as well as other business interests. Luke was tutored at home and sent off the Oxford when he was 13. He proved not to have a head for higher learning so he was put into the service of Mr. (later Sir) John Norreys as a page when he was 14. He accompanied him to Ireland as part of the old Earl of Essexís Irish venture. He then went with Norreys and his regiment to the Netherlands in 1578. He served with Norreys and later Capt. Roger Williams in the Low Countries for 10 years. At the time of the Armada scare in 1588, he returned to England (as did very many other English professional soldiers) to defend his homeland and train the raw troops that had been raised for the national defense. He took part on the ill-considered Cadiz Expedition but was back in northern France by the end of the year. He along with Williams and other adventurers threw their lot in with the King of France and fought at the great victory at Ivry in March 1590. For the next 3 years he served in the English forces attached to the French army and saw the sieges of Rouen and Paris and much other fighting as King Henry secured his crown. Like the other English soldiers, he returned to England in the mid-90s at a bit of a loss as to what to do now. In 1597 he was an "observer" at Amiens (the Queen not having authorized any participation) where he was lucky enough to run into Jehan du Lac, an old comrade in arms. When Jehan was wounded, Luke made the journey home with him down to the Perigord. Luke has stayed on in the area and has bought some property, including vineyards. He has expanded his familyís overseas trade to the wine trade and they now do a brisk business, as the English are so fond of sweet wines and their claret. Luke travels regularly between London and Bordeaux and is now back for the spring and summer season. He has not yet married, although Jehanís sister (the one from Sarlat) is actively looking for a suitable match for him. In the meantime he enjoys a bachelor's life of good fellowship, good food, music and his pipe. Mr. Knowlton is much given to the drinking of tobacco, which has late come from the new world.