Papers of the de Franquetot Family, Comtes and Ducs de Coigny, France, 1488-c.1984

Scope and Content

This collection of Franquetot family papers predominantly dates from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It includes about 500 letters.

The earliest letters were sent to Vicomte de Carentan, 1576-84. Commissions addressed to him, 1557 and 1595 (when he was created gentleman of the bedchamber), also survive. His relationship to the de Franquetot family is unclear. A letter signed by Henri IV of France in 1593 relates to a grant of money to le Sieur de Coigny.

There are a number of letters sent to Robert de Franquetot, President à Mortier to the Parlement de Rouen (d 1666). These include letters from King Louis XIV, 1644-75, and other people including ministers. A further two letters to Robert are signed by Anne of Austria [mother of King Louis XIV].

Of particular significance are a large number of letters and papers on military matters, collected by Robert Jean Antoine, Comte de Coigny (1652-1704), and mostly dated 1677-1694. These include autograph letters from King Louis XIV, Louis Duc de Bourbon and Prince de Condé (1668-1710), Monsieur Chamillard, and other ministers at Versailles. There are also printed ordinances from the King dated 1684-87, reports of reviews of regiments, and commissions in the army. Other significant correspondents include Marshall de Tallard and Marshal Villeroy during the Blenheim campaign of 1704; Louis Auguste de Bourbon, Duc de Maine (1670-1736); François Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conti (1664-1709); and François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, duc de Luxembourg (1628-95).

Additionally, the collection includes sixteen autograph letters from Louis XV to Jean Antoine François, Comte de Coigny (1702-1748), and many others signed by him.

Added to the collection in 2012 were a bound volume of 62 letters received by Gustave, 3rd Duc de Coigny (1788-1865), and a series of other miscellaneous family letters dated 1776-1889. The letter dated 1776 is from Elizabeth [Chudleigh], Duchess of Kingston, to the Duke of Portland, written shortly after she was tried for bigamy in the House of Lords.

There is a manuscript account of the campaign of the Duc de Coigny in Italy in 1733-34, probably written by his grandson, Auguste Gabriel de Franquetot, and papers relating to the building or renovation of the Chateau de Coigny in 1728-36.

More general family papers include various marriage contracts, dated 1488-1760, wills (1556-1699), and pedigrees and other notes.

The plight of the family during the French Revolutionary period is represented by just one document, a letter to a member of the family relating to the threat of pillage at Franquetot, 27 July 1789; and is possibly referred to in two further letters dated 1792 (Mc 9/4/55 and Mc 9/4/59).

There were only three items dated after 1789 in the original deposit: a diary kept by the 3rd Duc de Coigny in 1810, during his time on military service in Spain during the Napoleonic wars; accounts of the estate of the Duc de Coigny, 1869, and a copy will of Henrietta, Duchesse de Coigny, 1870.

The material added in 2012 also includes the diary of Jane, Lady Dalrymple-Hamilton (1780-1852), mother-in-law of the 3rd Duc de Coigny, recording her social life in Paris, Brussels and London between 1814 and 1821. The diary includes interesting accounts of the reaction in Paris to Napoleon's invasion of France in 1815, and of the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo.

There are no original de Franquetot documents dated after 1889 (a letter to Georgine, Countess Manvers). The material added in 2012 includes photocopies of genealogical material relating to the de Franquetot family, 1895-1904; and various 20th century transcriptions and research papers relating to the family and their records.

Administrative / Biographical History

Three brothers of the Guillotte family bought the fiefdom of Franquetot, on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, France, in 1528. Their descendents took the surname de Franquetot, bought the neighbouring fiefdom of Coigny in 1577, and built a chateau there in 1598. The chateau de Franquetot was renovated and enlarged by the Marquis de Coigny in the 1720s.

Seven generations of the de Franquetot family had prominent military or governmental careers. Antoine de Franquetot (d 1643), seigneur of Franquetot and Coigny, was President à Mortier to the Parlement de Rouen from 1629. His younger son Robert de Franquetot (d 1666) succeeded his father as President in 1637. The lordship of Coigny passed to Antoine's elder son, Jean Antoine de Franquetot (d 1652), Comte de Franquetot. His military career began in 1618, and ended with his death at the battle of Faubourg Sainte Antoine. He was succeeded by his son Robert Jean Antoine (1652-1704), whose estate at Coigny was raised to a Comté by King Louis XIV as a mark of his father's service. The Comte de Coigny entered the Mousquetaires [Musketeers] in 1667 and had a distinguished military career up to his death at Koenigsmacker, Alsace, in August 1704. In 1680 he had been appointed Governor of Caen, he was Lieutenant-General of Louis XIV's armies in 1693, and Director-General of Cavalry in 1694.

Robert's son, François de Franquetot (1670-1759), known as the Marquis de Coigny until succeeding as Comte in 1704, was also a soldier. He was appointed as Marshal of France in 1735, and was raised to the title of Duc de Coigny in 1747 as a reward for his impressive military service. His son, Jean Antoine François de Franquetot (1702-1748), Marquis or Comte de Coigny, was killed in a duel with the Prince de Dombes in 1748. The dukedom therefore passed to Jean's son Marie François Henri de Franquetot (1737-1821). Appointed as 1st equerry to King Louis XVI, he was a friend of Queen Marie Antoinette. In 1789 he was the deputy of the nobility of Caen who attended the Estates General. The French Revolution forced the Duc de Coigny to emigrate in 1792. He entered the Portuguese military service to fight against Napoleon, and returned to France on Napoleon's overthrow in 1815. The following year, he was appointed as Governor of Les Invalides in Paris, and Marshal of France.

The 2nd Duc de Coigny was succeeded by his grandson, Augustin Louis Joseph Casimir Gustave de Franquetot (1788-1865). He was brought up in France, and joined the army in 1805. He lost part of his arm during the 1812 Russian campaign. His younger daughter and co-heir, Georgine Jane Elizabeth Fanny de Franquetot (d 1910) married Sydney William Herbert Pierrepont, 3rd Earl Manvers (1825-1900), in 1852. Her mother was Henrietta Dundas, only daughter and heiress of Sir Hew Dalrymple-Hamilton, 4th Baronet.


The material in Mc 1-8 was arranged into bundles during its time at Thoresby Hall, or possibly earlier. This arrangement has been retained. The material in Mc 9 has been arranged by date.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript catalogue to bundle level (Mc 1-8) and item level (Mc 9), 36 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Old typescript catalogue of Mc 1-8 only, to bundle level, 3 pp

On the World Wide Web:

Multi-level online catalogue available from the Manuscripts and Special Collections website

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The bulk of the papers are a portion of the papers formerly preserved in the Chartrier at the Chateau de Coigny in Normandy, and were brought to England by Georgine, Countess Manvers, in 1879. They were stored at Thoresby Hall, and came to the University library from the Manvers family, in 1948. They have been listed separately from the Manvers archive because of their separate provenance.

Items in series Mc 9, being further papers relating to the de Franquetot family, complementing the original collection, were received from Thoresby Hall at various dates between 1985 and 1994. They were added to the Manvers Coigny collection in 2012.

Related Material

Papers of the Pierrepont family, Earls Manvers (Ma)

Other papers of the de Franquetot family are said to have been deposited in the Archives Départementales de la Manche at St Lo, Normandy, France, in 1880.


An inventory of these papers, together with extracts from many of them, was privately published by Hew H. Dalrymple in 1910 as 'Annals of the Family of de Franquetot, Ducs de Coigny, with a description of the Chateau de Coigny, and selections from the family papers, &c'. The account of the Duc de Coigny's military campaign in Italy is published in full in this volume.

Geographical Names