NOTES ON THE TEMPLE OF LEHAUCOURT, THE TARGET FAMILY, etc.
A very large temple was built in the XVIIth century in the middle of Lehaucourt, while the
catholic church lay in the northwest of the village. No doubt this is a silent testimony of
the influx of worshippers that had caused the temple to become too small. ® Jean Mettayer,
Minister since 1623, wanted to build a new church in Noyon, but in opposition to it under the
pretext that its foundations would be too close to the catholic church, a royal decree
intervened which ordered the protestants to stop work and return to their former building.
We found, thanks to the cadastral plan dated 1837, the site of this temple and the cemetery.
Strangely, the ground today still belongs to the Hotel-Dieu of Saint-Quentin,
even though different constructions have transpired by private individuals. A watering place,
today filled, was in the corner of the site. Between this watering place and the bank forming
the perimeter of these grounds, more elevated than the road, silently stands these last years,
a lime tree of six metres of circumference, used in 1848 as a tree of freedom, but following
a local tradition, commemorates the destruction of the temple.
Finally when in 1862 we built on the place of N 400 the current barn, we found, by digging,
in the extremity (towards the letter C on the sketch) a quantity of bones. Later, by making
in N 398 a covered watering place, and, quite recently for the spring of 1893, by establishing
foundations towards the same place, we discovered several skeletons (among others that of a girl
about seventeen years old) and coffin nails.
The cemetery occupied thus certainly N 398 of the cadastre (land registry), a part of 400,
maybe also 399. As for the temple, it was undoubtedly between the cemetery and the site. The
state of the possessions of the consistories we learns that the place where it was built
contains 40 rod. It was dated 1683, two years before the Revocation of the Edit of Nantes,
when the criminal lieutenant forbade the exercise of the 'cult' in Le Hautcourt. The temple was
eventually demolished, materials being sold for 1100 pounds of which 6oo was allocated for the
repairs of the roof of the church. Benches, transported from the court of Saint-Quentin, were
still there in 1806.
After 1685 there were no more Protestants in Le Haucourt.
In 1700 there were, however, those who " do not go to church and are corrupted. "
The catholic registers of the parish Holy Géry, preserved in the city hall, dated 1692 reveal:
First year, only 3 marriages, 10 deaths and 12 baptisms. We find a certain number of
biblical first names there, but the names of legitimized sons are often omitted in the baptisms.
There does appear, however, Daniel Target's Marie-Magdelaine daughter, farmer, and of
Marie-Magdeleine Bruyant, baptized on December 4th, 1692, only seven days after her birth.
The godfather is Jean Borgnies de Croix, of Villers-Outréaux, exactly the parish where
lived Mr. marquess of Le Haucourt, "always heretical and very obstinate". On May 16th,
1694, the baptism of Pierre-Isaac Target, son of Daniel Isaac (maybe the same that later
remarried) and Jeanne Ciglet; in 1700 Daniel Target is indicated as lieutenant of the village,
and " spreading everywhere speeches against the religion ".
Original French of the above translation:
NOTE SUR LE TEMPLE DE LEHAUCOURT LA FAMILLE TARGET, ETC.
Picardy (the modern departements of Aisne, Oise and Somme) had quite a number of Protestants though they were by no means in the majority. The chief congregation in Aisne for which records survive was that of St Quentin, with its temple at Lehaucourt. The Lehaucourt Registers - of Births, Marriages and Deaths are now housed at the Archives of Laon.
Oise had been in a sense the cradle of the French Reformation since Jean Calvin himself was born at Noyon, but numbers were not great and there are registers only for Clermont and Compiegne.
In Somme there is an excellent series of registers for Amiens and a little material for the 1680s for Herly, Neuville-Saint-Riquier and Prouville. However there are also printed books on the region and there would be some Protestant material in the Catholic parish registers, not only after the Revocation of 1685 but also before since some Protestants registered their children with the priest in order to ensure evidence of age and legitimacy in the state records of the new Converts, and the confiscation of refugees’ property.