In what follows, it is demonstrated that the Latourrette family of Osse, Bearn did not have a blason (a coat of arms) and that the only blason associated with the surname in Osse was a stereotyped (non-noble) one acquired by Jacob de la Tourrette after 1696 as an individual in his role as Avocat au Parlement. Jacob is the presumed brother of Jean Latourrette who left for America in 1685, prior to Jacob being ascribed a blason.
The stereotyped blason of Jacob, as described below, is similar in design to the one presented by Lyman Latourette on pages 32 and 33 of his 1954 Annals. On page 33 Lyman notes that the blason was described in much abbreviated technical terms in French and, in contrast to the colors mentioned relative to the Mercereau blason, he does not give the colors of the “La Tourette” blason. Therefore, a complete comparison cannot be made. However, it is abundantly clear that some Latourrette descendants ignored and did not research what Lyman presented and instead installed a false blason for the Latourrette family of Osse in the French Church of New York, a blason that represents a Catholic family at Vernoux-en-Vivarais.
Facing mounting debts and needing funds to continue his wars against King William, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, and on the continent, King Louis XIV of France issued a decree on November 20, 1696 that most citizens, towns and corporations had to register their arms in an armorial and create a “blason” – a coat of arms. This established what is called the Armorial General under the direction of Charles-Rene d’Hozier. The objective of the Armorial was to raise large sums of money for the crown as quickly as possible. The registration fee for individuals, nobility and commoners, was 20 livres. Blasons which included the fleur de lis were taxed at the rate of 40 livres. For towns and communes, the fee was generally 50 livres, except where there was a bishop or archbishop the fee was 100 livres.
A short biography for Charles-Rene Hozier can be found at:
Hozier and his officials traveled throughout France for several years enforcing the Armorial General and collecting fees for the crown. Basically, the Armorial existed from 1696 to 1709 and resulted in Hozier developing a collection of 35 volumes, with 34 of the volumes containing color plates of blasons. They are now housed at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. An index of the volumes was published in 1865, Indicateur du grand armorial general de France, and is available at
but, unfortunately, a search by words on-line is not possible.
The index contains 60,000 names of people, towns and corporations, but is incomplete because Hozier was not able to register all the bearers of arms.
In terms of registering arms, Hozier generally accepted the blasons (coats of arms) of families of nobility if blasons already existed and the nobles were agreeable to its use. This can be seen below by perusing the blasons presented for Bearn, listed in Hozier’s volume for Bearn. In the case of commoners, it appears the arms ascribed were entirely artificial and arbitrary, with no regard for the individual’s circumstances. We will see that below in the case of the blasons made up for Jacob de la Tourrette and hundreds of others in Bearn where a single basic design served dozens or hundreds of individuals.
For a brief summary of the Armorial General, see Gerard de Nerval, La connaissance du blason est la clef de l’histoire de France, Introduction at
Jacob de la Tourrette
Jacob de la Tourrette of Osse, Bearn (now Osse-en-Aspe, France) was ascribed a blason after 1696 as part of the Armorial General.
Jacob de la Tourrette (abt. 1650- 1711) was the son of David Latourrette. Genealogical research in France indicates Jacob was the eldest son of David Latourrette (abt. 1625- 1697).It is generally assumed that his younger brother was Jean (abt. 1651-52 – July 1726), who left Osse, Bearn, in September 1685 and came to New York in October of 1687 with Pastor Pierre Peiret. In recent years, documentary evidence has been located which clearly indicates that Jacob is the eldest son of David. Although there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Jean is a younger son, and he is referred to in French as a “cadet,” definitive documentation has yet to be found.
Jacob stayed in Osse and eventually became an “avocat au parlement” at Pau, the historical capital of Bearn and Lower Navarre. An “avocat” was a barrister or attorney who represented the interests of parties at parliament or the court. A brief explanation is given in the following:
“Parliament is a sovereign court, composed of clergy and laity, established to administer justice ultimately on behalf of the king, under his authority, as though he were present. There are twelve parliaments in the kingdom, which, following the order of their creation, are Paris, Toulouse, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Dijon, Rouen, Aix, Rennes, Pau, Metz, Besançon and Douai.”
The Hozier blason for Jacob de la Tourrette is in the volume for Bearn and it is clearly not a noble’s coat of arms which would represent family and individual circumstances. Except for a variation in the colors presented within the blason, its design is exactly like 30 other blasons. Based on information about when other blasons were registered by Hozier in the Aspe Valley area where Osse is located it was likely assigned to Jacob around 1701.
It is also clear that the blason for Jacob is associated with his role as “avocat au parlement” which identifies his position as a
barrister or attorney in terms of representation to parliament. The blason is labeled:
“Jacob de la Tourrette, Avocat au Parlem”
Jacob’s blason is presented on the same page of Hozier’s volume for Bearn with the another avocat, that of
“Jean-Pierre Larriu, Avocat en Parlem, Sgr d’Estialesq”
(Larriu or Larrieu is a surname researched in Bearn and Estialesq is today spelled Estialescq.)
The Hozier volume for Bearn can be accessed on-line in French at
and in English at
Like the 1865 index noted above, words are unsearchable. (See notes on left side of first page.)
Using the pagination feature in either the French or English version, the blasons for Jacob de la Tourrette and Jean-Pierre Larriu can be found on page 28 or at
31 blasons with the same design
As noted above, there are 31 blasons presented on pages 22 -30 which are exactly alike in basic design with variations in colors. They are beveled, smooth escutcheons with identical "bordures” (borders) in colors of white, gold, red, green, blue and black.
Inside the “bordures” are "lozenges” or diamond shaped patterns with varying colors for the diamonds and the background on which they are imposed using the same colors as the “bordures.”
Jacob’s blason has a “bordure” of “vert” (green) with “lozenges” of “or’ (gold) and “gules” (red).
Jean-Pierre’s blason has a border of “vert” with “lozenges” of “or” and “vert.”
119 Blasons with the same design
Hozier became more inventive in ascribing blasons to commoners on pages 33 -57 where a more complicated design combined with the aforementioned colors allowed him to make 119 variations of a basic design.
Blasons of Interest for Osse, the Apse Valley and Abbe Laique d’Osse
Another basic design that Hozier used appears on pages 77 – 90.
There are some blasons of interest here that should be pointed out. On page 81 there is a blason for the Aspe Valley (Vallee d’Aspe) in which Osse is located. On page 88 one finds a blason for Jean Baille, Cure d’Osse (Priest of Osse).On page 87, one finds blasons for the priests at the nearby villages of Accous, Bedous and Etsaut.
In another source, the blason of Jean de Fondeville, the priest at Etsaut, is described in 1701 as presented on page 87 and it is noted that he is also the abbe laique d’Osse. See page 4, footnote 17 in
The fact that the Priest at Etsaut is the abbe laique d’Osse in 1701 begins to answer a question this researcher has had relative to David Latourrette. It is known David was the abbe laique in Osse in the 1660s. However, all titles and positions of authority were taken from the Protestants by decrees from Louis XIV in 1668. Yet, David’s wife appears on Tapie’s list, created by the local priest, issued on September 2, 1685 as being the spouse of the abbe laique d’Osse. Was the title used just to identify the spouse or was there some indirect pressure being placed on David because he was under the protection of the leading Catholic family, the Lacledes, in Bedous? And, actually, when was he forced to give up the position? It is clear, however, that the title was not passed on to his son Jacob after David’s death in 1697.
The Blasons of Priests
One might wonder why so many priests sought to be registered under the Armorial General of France. Like most of the commoners, generally the bourgeoisie, who sought approval to carry arms, the priests frequently traveled with money, jewels and other valuables. Priests and the bourgeoisie, like nobles, sought this privilege to protect their lives and property.
1. Because the Latourrette family of Osse did not have a family blason prior to the Armorial General of 1696, Jacob had to use one of Hozier’s contrived designs to become eligible to bear arms. Therefore, the Latourrettes were not nobility, although they were the most prominent Protestant family of Osse. Moreover, being nobility in Osse at the time was completely inconsistent with the nature of the village’s society.
2. From the blasons listed in Hozier’s registers it is obvious that the title abbe laique d’Osse did not have a blason so there was none to be passed on to Jacob, the eldest son, from David.
3. The blason granted to Jacob was an individual one to bear arms.
4. The blason of Jacob, as presented in Hozier’s Bearn volume (p. 28), is very similar to one in Lyman’s Annals, pp. 32-33.
5. The blason installed in the French Church of New York, L’Eglise Francaise du St. Esprit, does not represent the Latourrettes of Osse. It is a blason of a Catholic family with no relationship to the Latourrette family and is based on at least two hoaxes that have been exposed on these pages. Unfortunately, there are descendants in America that continue to perpetuate the Latourrette count hoax and the tale that they originally came from Italy.