Forsyths of the Castle of Fronsac
Clan Forsyth Society
In the fifteenth century when the English were at war with the French under command of the Earl of Derby, they invaded Aquitaine, and in their course captured the castle. Shortly afterward it was completely demolished. Some time later a new castle was built by one of the Richelieus under the name Chateau Fronsac.
The second daughter of Grimwald Forsyth married Comte de Albert, the third Seig Caumont and the fourth Prince de Rohan. The descendants of these families held the castle and the Fronsac title for several centuries, and it was from these descendents, after 1472, came the following succession: Odet de Aydie, Vicomte de Fronsac of the princely house of Fix. Vicomte de Lantrac recognized by the King in 1472 as Vicomte de Fronsac, Jehan de Rohan, Seig. de Gie Marshall of France and Vicomte de Fronsac in 1491. His cousin, Jacques De Albret Marshall, of the princely house of Navarre, succeeded him. The king made him Comte de Fronsac in 1551. His cousin, Antoine de Lustract, was Marquis de Fronsac in 1555. During this time the family of de Caumont Duc La Force were bearing the title of Comte de Fronsac, having inherited the title from Rohan or Albret.
The title next passed to the Royal Bourbons in the person of Francis de Orleans Longueville, Comte de St. Poi, a descendant from a branch of the Valois family. He was a relative of King Henry of Navarre, who in 1608 raised the title to a ducal peerage, Duc de Fronsac. Armand Jean de Plessis Duc de Richelieu revived a claim to the title after the death in 1631 of Orleans St. Poi without direct heirs, and as Cardinal and Prime Minister of France attained a new patent in 1634. He claimed the duchy through his grandmother, a Rochelrouart, a descendant of Forsyth. At Richelieusí death the title passed to Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde.
In 1646 his sister, the Princess de Conde, the next heir, became Duchess de Fronsac, and at her death the title passed to her cousin, Duc de Richelieu, with whose descendants it remained until the Revolution when the Chateau Fronsac castle was finally destroyed by the revolutionists.
While the castle and title were held in the female line there were times when different families in the succession were claiming the name Fronsac at the same time, but under different titles. It is believed that each branch of the family, the Vicomte, Comte, Marquis and Duchy, had a legal right to bear the title at the same time. The title of Vicomte de Fronsac of the Forsyths is imperial from Charlemagne, while that of Comte de Fronsac is from a grant from the royal house of Capet; Marquis was a grant from the house of Valois, and the Duchy was from the royal house of Bourbon.