The active life of this family was spent mainly at Boulogne-sur-mer in Picardy, France. 1 Boulogne, a Gallic city 2 received an important Germanic immigration (mainly Saxon) betwen 550 and 650. Then, from 800 to 900, Boulogne resisted the Viking invasion (the Norse took the port but not the city) saving until the Revolution, a rich heritage from their plundering. Invaded much later by the Germains, Boulogne was liberated in 1945 by Quebecers from the regiment of La Chaudiere.
At the beginning of the Xe century, Boulogne, already an old city (called Gesoriacum by Julius Cesar )3 attests the working of stone by her inhabitants. So, when our ancestor Noel BREM (son of Jehan de Bremme) became "carrier", i.e. stone worker in french, he had inheerited a well established tradition. In those days, people of Boulogne spoke picard. 4
After many years of searching, I finally found the marriage contract of Jehan de Bremme and Catherine Caffier. 4a This marriage contract has been written at Boulogne by notary Bertrand Vaillant, dated January 3, 1661. This contract allows us to know exactly who were the father and mother of Jehan de Bremme. This after a I mistakely indicated Francois De Bremme as his father. I did put this information in conditional but I have been copied many times. The copiers did not care to use the conditional form.
So, we now know that "our" Jehan de Bremme's father was Guillaume de Bremme (variation Bresme) already deceased in 1661. His mother was Jeanne Delaforge (variation De Leforge). We also learn that, before beying gettor at the Boulogne's belfroy, our ancestor was a shoemaker under the supervision of Noël Gorret (variation Gorrè) master shoemaker. Noël Gorret will later be the godfather for their son Noel, who later, will leave France for Canada. In those days, it was quite common to give the new born the first name of his godfather.
Catherine Caffier was born March 22, 1632 and baptised in Saint-Joseph parish, Boulogne-sur-mer, France.
As per church Record: "Le vingt deuxième jour de mars 1632 a esté baptisé Catherine Caffier fille d'Anthoine Caffier et de Marie Caron et a eu pour parin Louis Ricouart assisté de Leclercq. La marine Damlle Catherine Preudhomme assit Damlle Nicolle Heuze" Translation: On March 22, 1632 was baptised Catherine Caffier daughter of Anthoine Caffier and Marie Caron. The godfather was Louis Ricouart assisted by Leclercq. The godmother Damlle Catherine Preudhomme assited by Damlle Nicolle Heuze 4c
She was the daughter of Anthoine Caffier, 4d master tailor ("maitre tailleur d'habits"), décesed on novembre 1, 1669 at Saint-Joseph de Boulogne and of Marie Caron. Her godfather was Louis Ricouart and her godmother Catherine Preudhomme. Catherine Caffier also had a sister Judicque (Judith) born February 3, 1631 whose godfather was Florent Caffier and the godmother Judicque Caron. 5 It is good to take note that at the same time there was at least two other Catherine Caffier, one marrier before 1627 to Bastien de Rui (they bring to the church, for baptisims, a daughter Marie on July 28, 1630 at Saint-Joseph parish; godfather Anthoine Caffier and godmother Marie Caron father and mother of "our" Catherine Caffier) and the other married to Jacques Cuinot on June 16, 1636 also at Saint-Joseph de Boulogne. If someone has more informations about who is who among those Catherine Caffier, I will be happy to make any needed corrections.
After more than twenty years, I finally found the marriage of Jehan de Bremme et Catherine Caffier in the lower town ("faubourg") of Boulogne-sur-mer. They were married January 31, 1661 at Saint-Nicolas parish. Jehan brouht with him his sister Jehanne and her husband Jacques Riquier. Catherine was accompanied by her father Anthoine and her mother-in-law Françoise Pruvost. Both the father and mother of Jehan are neither present nor mentionned. His father (François) was deceased in 1654 and his mother (Marie-Madeleine Dubois-Leroy) 15 days only before the marriage.
As per church Record: "Le 31 janvier 1661 après les fiancailles et publications des bans ausquelles nul ne se seroit oppose entre Jehan Bresme et Catherine Caffier je ptre vicaire en cet eglise certifie les avoir conjoints en mariage solennelement en présence de Jacques Riquier beau frère dudit Bresme et de Janne Bresme sa soeur et de Antoine Cafier père de laditte Anthoinette (sic) et Francoise Pruvost sa belle mere et aultre soussignez" 5a
The first child of Jehan and Catherine, Gille, was born and baptised on November 10, 1661 in Saint-Nicolas parish, Boulogne-sur-mer. 5b In 1664, a second boy, Anthoine, was born. He died soon after his birth. He was burried November 19, also in Saint-Nicolas parish. An interesting detail, at this interment: it was written that they were from Calais («Estant de Calais ...») I checked out the Calais Church Records but found nothing. 5c Noël, was born next. He his the one who immigrated to Quebec and who is the subject of the next generation of this monography. He was baptised November 22, 1665 at Saint-Nicolas de Boulogne-sur-mer. 5d
|The trade of guettor was quite old in Boulogne. We can trace it back to to the Roman era whereas Caesar built the Tower of Order to be used as depature point for the conquest of Great Britain. This tower was restored under Caligula and was therefore sometime named Galicula's Tower. From the top of its twelve stories, it was possible to watch the english coast and the ships manoeuvres. The Tower of Order collapsed in 1644, after sixteen centuries of good services, includind those synchronized with the belfry for the period when both existed. The verb to watch comes from the old germain wahtan who means to keep awake. The guettor was also named "Waite" 5a The account book for 1415-1416 compiled by Jehan Haigneré, clerk for the tresurer of Boulogne-sur-Mer, tells us that the guettor of the Tower of Order received 8 pounds a year while a maintenance man received one pound for the same period of time. 6|
||The service of guettor in Boulogne had always had much importance. In the XVIth century, it had been placed under the direction of seven distinguished men. The guettor of the belfry and his colleague from the Roman Tower of Order used to announce the arrival of men on horseback, the passage of ships and during troubled times, English pilferer. He also announced the curfew, the market time, that of communal assemblies, of the sweeping of the sidewalks and the washing of the pavement in front of each one's house.|
||He walked the whole city whenever he saw the smallest cloud of smoke or the least danger, while sounding the "gros bourdon". At the occasions of great events or great festivals, the guettors directed a team of brefmen and rang the bells. From 1685 on, the municipal budget made provision the give six "razières" of coal in addition to the normal wage allowed to the guettor. 7 Our ancestor was among them.|
|Jean de Bresme worked as guettor for at least 29 years, from 1670 to 1700. On May 1st
1670, the burial and death certficate of his one day old daughter, his
accupation as guettor is specified. Later on, we find Jehan de Bresme
on the paylist for the guettors of the belfry of Boulogne for the
period going from 1686 to 1699 (he died in January 1700 apparenty on
duty). On those paylist, we can see that his two fellow workers were
Hierosome de Saint-George (from 1687 to 1692) and Robert du Vallon
(from 1692 to 1699). 8
At the municipal level, the year began on the Mairie's Day. There were thus, three calendars: the municipal one which began with the Mairie's Day, between September 14th and 21st, the religious calendar which began with Advent (four Sundays before Christmas) and the civil one which began on the New year's Day, January 1st.
|All these occasions were prone to rejoicings. Thus, on Mairie's Day, the guettor was honored with the wine to the guettor at the ceremonial of the renewal of the Law. The same applied to the day preceding the All Saints Day (November 1st) and for the Franche Fête
(November 11,12 and 13). Christmas, December 25, was also the occasion
for the wine to the guettor as well as the Epiphany on January 6, on
the Behourdi 9
(1st Sunday of the Lent) and on the Quarimiaux at mid-Lent. |
Jean de Bresme used to sign with the inclusion of a "de" what could indicate a noble ascent. The function of guettor was a position of trust which was not to be given to anybody.
|The belfry where our ancestor was guettor had been built by Renaud de Dammartin between 1203 (the date he granted a Charter to Boulogne) and 1227 (his death). Renaud de Dammartin was the son of Alberic II Count of Dammartin (born in 1135 in Dammartin, department of Seine-et-Loire, and deceased on September 19, 1200 in London, England, husband of Maude de Ponthieu et Clermont). Renaud had married Ide de Flandre Countesse de Boulogne, oldest daughter of Mathieu d'Alsace and Mahaut de Boulogne. 10|
|In 1263, saint Louis, King of France, as a punihment for the murder of two of his officers, had ordered the destruction of the belfry of Boulogne. According to Camille Enlart, 11 the belfry would not have been entirely destroyed. Sometimes, they only removed the bells making the belfroy voiceless. The belfroy of Boulogne-sur-Mer still exist today (in 2000) and has been included in the Town hall. It bears no. 4 on Heliot plan . In the time when Jehan de Bresme was guettor, the belfry still had its original upper part or arrow as shown hereabove ("Belfry 1690"). He used it as cabin, called loge. He used to reach the platform where he went to rounds by the stone stairs located within the thickness of the wall.|
||To warn of a danger and probably also at each hour, the guettor activated an enormous bell named "l'estourmie" (the awekener). Today's bell is an exact copy of the one used in since 1415. The guettor also used a horm. Even after the invention of the clock, the guettor continuated to yell each hour in his horn. This practice was kept in order to ensure that the guettor stayed awaken over night. So our ancestor needed a good sight and a strong voice. The "huis" (special ancient door) used to get out to the platform at the end of the XVIth century is still the same used today. It probably dates back to 1415 according to its hardware, its type of nails, of lock and its wicket (Also named wicket in old french but the "W" being ponounced like a "v") The water closet of that time are still there as museum artefact of course! It is important to remember that the whole Upper City has praticly stayed unchanged for the last 600 years.|
|I did not find anything on our ancestor residence. It would certainly be useful
to have a look to the religious documents of that time. Before the
Revolution, Notre-Dame cathedral and the abbey were very rich. They
owed most of the Upper Town including many houses perhaps including the
one rented or bought by Jehan de Bresme.|
The last guettor of the belfry has been Théodore Tourniquet. On May 31, 1922, he made his last round on the platform after 14 years of service. The decision by the municipality of Boulogne-sur-mer to put an end at this service had been final.
||Following a fire in 1712, the top portion of the belfry (the spire) was destroyed from the echaugrettes
up where the guettor's cabin was located. It was restored between 1720
and 1728 by replacing it with an octogonal stage that Camille Enlart
qualified of hidous. 11a
We simply have to take a look at the gracious shape of 1690 to be
concinced that he was right. This octogonal shape seem to have been
inspired by the Roman Tower which was octogonal. A not very esthetic
way to remenber the Tower of Order to the futur generations. |
|(Click one of the images to enlarge it.)|
Jean de Bresme and Catherine Caffier had at least two other children. First, a girl born the 1 st of May 1670 and buried same day in Saint.Joseph parish. 15 Then another girl that they also baptized under the first name of Jacqueline (or Marie Jacqueline) on September 23, 1671 also in Saint.Joseph parish at Boulogne. The godfather had been Renault NAIER (or NAYET) wholesale merchant, and the godmother Jacqueline VAILLANT. 16 Jacqueline will marry in Saint.Joseph parish, Boulogne-sur-mer, January 21, 1700, Jehan Le Seure from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris.
Jean de Bresme died on February 9, 1700 (buried under the name of "Le Bresme") in Saint-Joseph de Boulogne a few days after having attended the marriage of his daughter. He was 75 years old. Catherine Caffier died on September 2, 1712 in the same parish. She was said to be 90. 17 Another Catherine Caffier who died April 22, 1676 and who had married Jacques Cuinot on June 16, 1636 was also living in Boulogne-sur-mer at the same time.
|1||Today in Pas-de-Calais.|
|2||Nawbelearts, page 117.|
|3||Idem, page 121.|
|4||Dr. Jean-Pierre Dickès, De Québec à Boulogne, in CURIOSITÉS EN BOULONNAIS, Société Académique du Boulonnais, no. 27, 2000, page 53.|
|4a||Marriage contract between Jean Bresme and Catherine Caffier, January 3, 1661, Bertrand Vaillant notary at Boulogne-sur-mer.|
|4b||Jacques Caillette, uncle of Catherine Caffier is joweller.|
|4c||Mormons microfilm no. 1865854 (Registre de la paroisse Saint-Joseph de Boulogn-sur-mer, France) The first name Nicole Heuze shall be Lucresse according to the Municipal Archives of Boulogne (microfilm 5MI6) .|
|4d||Signature taken at the baptism of Elizabeth Rigal, on January 3, 1659 where he was godfather. Boulogne-sur-mer, Mormon microfilm 1865855 .|
|5||Taken from Saint-Joseph de Boulogne parish Records for the year 1631.|
|5a||Source: Mormons micrifilm no. 1861096 (Saint-Nicolas de Boulogne-sur-mer parish Records).|
|5b||Source: Mormons microfilm no. 1861096 (Saint-Nicolas de Boulogne-sur-mer parish Records). «Gille fils de Jehan bresme et de Catherine Caffier est né le 10 novembre  et baptisé le mesme jour le parrin est Gille Caron la marrine Charlotte de Cause [Coze] de cette paroisse»|
|5c||Source: Mormons microfilm no. 1861096 (Saint-Nicolas de Boulogne-sur-mer parish Records). Anthoine fils de Jehan de breme et de Catherine Cafier ses parents est décédé Le disx neufvieme [novembre 1664] et inhumé le Mesme jour Estant de la paroisse de Calais est décédé le 19ieme et a ester transporter le vingtieme|
|5d||Source: Mormons microfilm no. 1861096 (Saint-Nicolas de Boulogne-sur-mer parish Records). «Noel fils de Jean de bhram et de catherine cafié est né le 22 [novembre 1665] et a esté baptisé et nommé par Noel gorrey [Gorré] et Anne du sautson [Chaussoy] ses parren et mareine tous deux de cette paroisse. Signatures: Noel gorre, Anne du Chaussoy et De la Court [priest]|
|5e||A. de la Fons-Mélicocq, UNE CITÉ PICARDE AU MOYEN ÂGE ..., p.34. In M. Battard: BEFFROIS, HALLES HÔTEL DE VILLE dans le Nord de la France et la Belgique, Brunet library, Arras, 1948, page 33.|
|6||Isabelle Clauzel, BOULOGNE-SUR-LA-MER EN 1415, page 153, Société Académique du Boulonnais, 2001.|
|7||Article IL Y A CINQUANTE ANS, MOURRAIT LE DERNIER GUETTEUR DU BEFFROI DE BOULOGNE, in Les dossiers de l'histoire boulonnaise, No. 27, May, June 1981, pages 3 and 4.|
Registre des deniers communs (municipality of Boulogne) |
- bundle n° 29 (year 1687-1688): Jean Bresme and Hierosme de Saint-Georges, folio 35 recto, folio 40 back.
- bundle n° 30 (year 1688-1689): Jean Bresme and Hierosme de Saint-Georges, folio 34 recto-back; folio 39 recto.
- bundle n° 31 (year 1689-1692): Jean Bresme and Hierosme de Saint-Georges, folio 39 recto-back, folio 43 back; folio 86 recto, folio 91 back; folio 142 recto-back, folio 147 back.
- bundle n° 32 (year 1692-1693): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folios 43 back, 44 recto, folio 49 back.
- bundle n° 33 (year 1693-1694): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folio 42 recto-back, folio 48 recto.
- bundle n° 34 (year 1694-1695): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folio 37 recto, folio 40 recto.
- bundle n° 36 (year 1695-1696): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folio 36 back, folio 40 recto-back.
- bundle n° 38 (year 1696-1697): Jean Bresmes and Robert du Vallon, folio 41 recto, folio 45 back.
- bundle n° 39 (year 1697-1698): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folio 29 back, folio 32 back.
- bundle n° 40 (year 1698-1699): Jean Bresme and Robert du Vallon, folio 34 recto, folio 37 recto.
Informations obtained from Bruno Haffreingue, Boulogne-sur-mer that I want to thank for his great help.
|9||LES CAHIERS DU VIEUX BOULOGNE, First semester 1997, no.40 page 20.|
|10||C. Enlart, BOULOGNE MONUMENTAL, page 20.|
|11||Incorrectly named Catherine GAUTHIER in le Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Canadiennes by Mgr Tanguay vol. 1, page 359 and Rosalie LASERRE in le Dictionnaire National des Canadiens-français, l'Institut Généalogique Drouin.|
|11a||M. Battard, BEFFROIS, HALLES et HÔTELS DE VILLE dans le Nord de la France et la Belgique, Brunet Printer, Arras, 1948, page 41.|
|12||In his marriage contract written by Francois Genaple (notary from Quebec), Noel Brem said that he was from the parish of Notre-Dame de Boulogne. It should be noted that the baptism of his sister Jacqueline and the ceremony of burial of his mother Catherine Caffier both took place in the same Saint.Joseph parish ("Notre-Dame" was its former name)|
|13||In 1669, Boulogne covers two parishes: Saint.Joseph in the Upper Town (itself under the name of Notre-Dame before 1580) and Saint.Nicolas in the Lower Town. Source: Office of the Departmental records of Arras, France.|
|14||Death certificate preserved at the communal records of Boulogne-sur-mer. Certified by Bruno Haffreingue in February 2000.|
|15||Taken from le registre de catholicité de la paroisse Saint-Joseph de Boulogne pour l'année 1671. Archives Communales de Boulogne-sur-mer, France. Archive communale no. 1974.|
|16||Taken from le registre de catholicité de la paroisse Saint-Joseph de Boulogne.|