Estates of Béarn
The Estates of Béarn are the former Provincial Estates of Béarn. It was formed following the death of Gaston III/X of Foix-Béarn, alias Gaston Phoebus, on 1 August 1391, as a sort of Extraordinary Assembly, regrouping the representatives of the various courts of Béarn, most notably those of the "Cour des Communautés" and of the "fr:Cour majour" that had been disbanded by Gaston Phoebus.
It assembled for the first time on 8 August 1391 and held its last meeting from 12–23 October 1789. However, it was dissolved in 1620 amid strong opposition voiced by the Bearnese representatives, following the royal military expedition to Pau. The Chancery of Navarre and the Estates of Béarn were merged into the Parliament of Navarre.
When the National Assembly abolished all privileges on 4 August 1789, an exception was made allowing the Estates of Béarn to express their consent. Deliberations took place in a charged atmosphere, and in the end the decree of 4 August 1789 was approved on 28 October 1789.
The Estates of Béarn were composed of two orders: the "First Order" and the "Second Order".
- for the secular clergy, who held the presidency and had the first place in the chamber, there were two members: the Bishop of Lescar, and the Bishop of Oloron;
- for the regular clergy, there were three members, the abbots of the three principal abbeys of Béarn: Lucq, Larreule and Sauvelade;
- fourteen Baronies of Béarn, composed of:
- all of the other gentlemen (French: gentilhommes), who were owners of the secular abbeys, and noble manors, houses and lands, without regard to their noble qualities.
The Second Order was the chamber of the Estates of the Realm. It was composed of the representatives of the province's 480 communes, represented by forty-two mayors and jurats of the main communes of Béarn, who were appointed, not elected, and generally owners of noble offices or commissions granted by the King, most notably:
- the four towns of Morlaàs, who presided the Second Corps, Orthez, Oloron and Sauveterre;
- the three valleys of Ossau, Aspe and Barétous;
- initially, the six cities of Navarrenx, Pau, Monein, Nay, Lembeye and Salies, as well as, later, the cities of Lescar and Sainte-Marie;
- the villages of Bruges, Bellocq, Lagor, Gan, Pontacq, Montaner, Garlin, Pardies, Maslacq, Loubieng, Castétis, Conchez, Jurançon, Garos, Garlin, Labastide-Villefranche, Asson, Vielleségure, Mur and Castagnède, Gurs, Thèze, Labastide-Monréjeau, Ger, Beuste, Larreule, Uzan, Mazerolles, Montagut, Moncaup et Monpezat;
- the Josbaig Valley.
- AD64 - Archives Départementales des Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in particular the Series C, references C 676 to C 1525, in all some 850 bundles or registers. e-Archives (search online, in French)
- Barraqué, Jean-Pierre: "L'idéologie politique en Béarn au XV", an essay in the book "Le prince, l'argent, les hommes au Moyen Âge, mélanges offerts à Jean Kerhervé.", by Jean-Christophe Cassard, Yves Coativy, Alain Gallicé and Dominique Le Page, Presses universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, 2008, p. 335 (in French)
- Bidot-Germa, Dominique: "Petite histoire de Pau.", Éditions Cairn, Pau 2013, p. 54 (in French)
- Cadier, Léon: Le livre des syndics des Etats de Béarn (texte Béarnais). Publié pour la Société Historique de Gascogne, Première Partie, Paris/Auch 1889 (in Béarnese)
- Cadier, Léon: Le livre des syndics des Etats de Béarn (texte Béarnais). Publié pour la Société Historique de Gascogne, Deuxième Partie, Paris/Auch 1906 (in Béarnese)
- La Roque, Louis de; Barthélemy, Édouard de (1865). Catalogue des gentilshommes de Béarn, Navarre, Gascogne : qui ont pris part ou envoyé leur procuration aux assemblées de la noblesse pour l'élection des députés aux Etats Généraux de 1789. Publié d'après les procès-verbaux officiels [Catalog of the landed gentry of Béarn, Navarre and Gascony who participated in or sent their proxy to the assemblies of the nobility for the election of deputies to the Estates General in 1789. Published according to the official minutes.] (application/txt/pdf) (in French). Paris: E. Dentu, Librairie & Aug. Aubry, Librairie. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
- Zink, Anne: "Pays ou circonscriptions, les collectivités territoriales de la France du Sud-Ouest sous l'Ancien Régime.", Publications de la Sorbonne, Paris 2000, p. 324 (in French)