That’s Sir Chastain to You

Knights Hospitaller in the 14th Century

Knights Hospitaller in the 14th Century

As I mentioned a few days ago, in between reading about the Huguenots and following ever dwindling leads to uncover more of my family history, I’ve been having fun searching the archives of The National Library of France. One of the books I’ve discovered is titled The Estate Policy of the Province of Dauphiné by Nicholas Chorier. It was published in 1671 (I’m not sure what the purpose of the 1666 date is on the title page, but the date in Roman numerals at the bottom of the page is 1671.)

Cover of 'The Estate Policy of the Province of Dauphiné' published in 1671.

Cover of ‘The Estate Policy of the Province of Dauphiné’ published in 1671.

Title Page of 'The Estate Policy of the Province of Dauphiné'

Title Page of ‘The Estate Policy of the Province of Dauphiné’

In Chapter XVI, titled Nobiliaire (which translates to peerage or aristocracy), there is a brief entry for a Chastain family. While the first two sentences translate easily – “Girard Chastain, son of Giles, was born in 1498. Humbert, his son, was married in 1550”, I can’t make out the middle section. It’s difficult to translate not only because it’s an unfamiliar language, it’s difficult because it’s an unfamiliar and old language. Many words may no longer be used, or they may be altered in modern day usage. In fact, I didn’t get any results when I first searched the PDF version of this book for “Chastain”. I had to search for “Chaftain” because of the way the letter was once printed.

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVI

A Chastain Family

A Chastain Family of Dauphiné

So in this middle section I can’t translate, there are a few other names mentioned, Louise de Villars and d’Ennemond Chastain. Something about a grandfather. Then someone, d’Ennemond maybe, is the son of Louis Chastain and Jeanne Gregoire. I can make out most of the last sentence of the first paragraph – “Claude Chastain, his uncle, was a Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.” The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem were also known as the Knights Hospitaller, an order of knighthood similar to the Knights Templar. Both were founded during the Crusades.

The last paragraph seems to describe a Coat of Arms with a silver lion and a field of blue with three gold flowers. The flag of the city of Lyon, which was formerly in the province of Dauphiné, matches this description exactly. Maybe these Chastains were from Lyon?

The Flag of the City of Lyons, France

The Flag of the City of Lyon, France

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