BELLAY, Martin du (1570-1637). [Aveu à Louis XIII], ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Château de Giseux, Touraine], 25-27 October 1610
294 x 227mm. i + 39 + i leaves: 5 gatherings of 8 with the final blank cancelled, written in brown ink in an elegant cursive bookhand on unruled leaves, large opening illuminated initial with the crowned coat of arms of France and Navarre in the infill, rubric in gold, signed by Martin du Bellay, Maurice Gaillard, procureur fiscal, and other notaries, gilt edges (a few leaves lightly yellowed). Contemporary rose velvet over wooden boards (pile mostly worn away, split at joints, edges worn, ties lacking). Provenance: sold, 'Loriolle de Barny', February 1891 (pencil inscription on front flyleaf, probably Edouard Loriol de Barny, lawyer and mayor of Angers in 1877).
This is the declaration of feudal holdings (aveu) made to Louis XIII, as duc de la Flèche, by Martin du Bellay, on his estate at Avrillé in Touraine. Such statements, made by a vassal to his lord, were required in feudal law on the assumption of any fief: property, income, livestock dues, as well as duties and rights, were listed and approved.
Martin du Bellay, prince d'Yvetot, marquis de Thouarcé, baron de Commequiers, de la Foret-sur-Sèvre et de La Haye-Joullain, was lieutenant-general, first in Normandy and then in Anjou, captain of fifty militia and 'maréchal des camps et armées du roi'. This statement lists all his rights and possessions at Avrillé, including his woods, lakes, villeins and the calendar of his feudal dues. Avrillé, known today as Avrillé-les-Ponceaux (Indre-et-Loire), is near Gizeux.