"Charpentier" and "Armand-Jean." Marc-Antoine Charpentier shared that family name with Denis Charpentier, Richelieu's trusted servant. And Marc-Antoine's brother shared with the Cardinal those quite distinctive baptismal names. These two coincidences attracted my attention early in my research, and as I worked through the notarial records at the Minutier Central with special attention to people named Charpentier I watched for acts involving Denis Charpentier and his family.
I found nothing to suggest that the composer and the secretary were in any way related.
Here, nonetheless, is a summary of what I learned about Denis Charpentier. The principal thing that most people know about him is his wife's and children's names, the fact that he was a "cousin" of Cherré (one of Richelieu's householders), and an oft-quoted statement in Richelieu's will: "Je ne donne rien au sieur Charpentier, mon secrétaire, parce que j'ay eu soin de luy faire du bien pendant ma ma vie, mais je veux rendre ce témoignage de luy que durant le long temps qu'il m'a servi, je n'ay point connu de plus homme de bien, ny de plus loyal et de plus sincère serviteur" (quoted by M. Deloche, Maison, p. 118).
In the Papiers d'Etat de Richelieu, (Paris: Pédone, 1975), vol. I., p. 41, Pierre Grillon presents the following brief biography of Denis Charpentier and does so without the patent errors found in the Dictionnaire national de biographie:
Denys Charpentier était né en Poitou, non loin de Coussay-les-Bois, où Richelieu avait un prieuré. On le trouve, dès 1608, aux gages de l'évêque de Luçon. "Confident muet et discret des premiers jours", écrit Maximin Deloche, "il connaît tous les secrets du cardinal, qui ne lui cache rien"; sa pesonnalité demeurera effacée, celle d'un serviteur "aussi modeste que dévoué: plein d'une admiration naïve pour son maître, sa fidélité et sa discretion en faisaient pour Richelieu un collaborateur indispensable qu'il appréciait à sa valeur". Dans la masse des minutes de Richelieu conservées aux Affaires étrangères, le plus grand nombre est de la main de Charpentier, et Avenel a montré comment ce secrétaire savait transformer son écriture normale, qui était large et ronde, en une écriture étroite et pointue, qui en arrive assez souvent à ressembler à l'écriture du cardinal, au point qu'on peut parfois s'y méprendre et qu'on les a longtemps confondues. Aussi fut-il utilisé, en certaines occasions, comme "secrétaire de la main:, avant même que Richelieu eût pris la direction des affaires. Charpentier avait le titre de conseiller secrétaire du roi, maison et couronne de France; à partir de 1635, il fut, en outre, commissaire général de la Marine.
"Born in Poitou." Since Marc-Antoine's family came from Meaux, they could scarcely have been related to Richelieu's faithful secretary.
Denis Charpentier turns out to have been the son of Claude Charpentier, oculiste du roi and Louise Foucher (or Fouchet). Claude died prior to 1612. I have no information about how the Charpentiers and their adolescent children made their way to Paris prior to 1592, nor about how Denis's father succeeded in integrating himself into the medical circles of the court and the capital. That is, however, what the acts summarized below suggest. And it can scarcely have been Richelieu's doings, for the future cardinal-minister was only seven when Denis's older brother Claude (also an oculiste) signed a contract before a Parisian notary in 1592.
Denis had three siblings:
— Claude, a sister. She married a man named Courcole.
— Anne, who died in 1644. Anne married three times. Her first husband was Jean Lourdois, bourgeois de Paris; widowed by 1612, she married Pierre Daulphin, a fourrier to the king; and in 1623 again widowed she wed Hubert Cailleux, commissaire de l'artillerie.
— Claude Charpentier, oculiste du roi, who died in 1627. His marriage to Jacqueline Lorin circa 1592 produced five sons: Pierre, Claude (an oculiste) who married Geneviève Nutrat; Jean, a soldier; François; and Louis, also a soldier. These Charpentiers had a house at Montmorency and a house known as the "Aigle d'or" on the rue de Grenelle, paroisse Saint-Eustache.
Denis Charpentier, as we have seen, was already in Richelieu's service by 1608. He marriage rather late in life to Antoinette Le Comte (March 31-April 1, 1634) produced three children: Marie-Françoise, who married Edmond de Fieux in 1653; Armand-Jean, who wed Mlle Etienne; and Marie, the wife of Nicolas Coynart and the mother of Etienne Coynart, conseiller au parlement, Jean-François Coynart, priest; Nicolas Coynart, controlleur au régiment des gardes françoises, and Marie-Anne Coynart.
Denis died circa July 1647.
Summaries of the actes follow:
June 11, 1594 (XLII, 26) A brief and almost illegible document dated alludes to the "future" marriage of Claude Charpentier. The bride was Jacqueline Lorin.
January 25, 1602, bail à rente (LI, 4) Claude Charpentier, "oculiste du roy," lived on the rue de Grenelle, paroisse Saint-Eustache. He rented a house called the "Teste Noire" and located not far from the "Corne de Daim." The other party was Antoinette Rebours, the widow of François Sevin, "conseiller du roy et président dans sa cour des Aydes," who resided on the rue Sainte-Avoye, in the parish of Saint-Merri. Somewhat later the Sevins' daughter, Marie de Sevin, wife of Jean Lescuier, consulted the notary about this lease. Information added to the act at that time reveals that she was a sister (?) of Thierry Sevin, "conseiller du roy en sa cour des Aydes." (See also LI, 4, April 13, 1602; and, below, LIX, 56, fol. 281, which involves the Sevins, the Rebours and the Charpentiers.) There is a strong possibility that this house on the rue de Grenelle was a family inheritance, and that the Roubours-Sevins were somehow related to the Charpentiers.
February 18, 1612, marriage contract (XXIV, 120) Anne Charpentier, the widow of Jean Lourdois, bourgeois de Paris, of the rue des Lavandiers, was about to wed Pierre Daulphin, "fourrier ordinaire du logis de S.M." The bride was attended by Claude Charpentier, "oculiste du roy," and Louise Foucher, the widow of another Claude Charpentier who also was an "oculiste du roy." The bride's brother was present: Denis Charpentier, "secretaire de Monseigneur l'évêque de Lusson."
March 8, 1622 (LIX, 56, fol. 281) Jacqueline Lorin, the widow of Claude Charpentier, "chirurgien oculiste du roy," and her oldest son Claude, also "chirurgien et oculiste du roy": Lorrain was acting as the guardian of Claude's "frères" (presumably Jean, François, and Louis). The act involves the house once called the "Teste Noire" but now called "l'Aigle d'Or," that they rented from the heirs of Antoinette Rebours-Sevin.
October 21, 1623, wedding contract (CXV, 46) Anne Charpentier, widow of Pierre Daulphin, residing on the rue des Mauvaises-Paroles, parish Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, marries Hubert Cailleux, "procureur au Châtelet de Paris, of the rue des Anglais, paroisse Saint-Séverin. Her witnesses were her mother, Louise "Fouchet," the widow of Claude Charpentier, "oculiste du roy"; "noble homme" Denis Charpentier, "secretaire ordinaire de la Reyne mère du Roy," her brother; and a friend named Pierre Bazet de la Mothe, a "bourgeois de Paris" from Montfalcon in Poitou. The groom was accompanied by Rolland Colletet, "marchand, bourgeois de Paris"; Antoine Boursier, also a "marchand, bourgeois de Paris," the husband of his daughter, Marie Cailleu; François Colletet, "praticien, beau-frère"; and Gabriel Colletet, "procureur au Châtelet," his "allyé."
September 28, 1623, testament (XCVI, 8bis) The will of Claude Charpentier, Denis's brother, who still lived on the rue de Grenelle. He wanted to be buried in the cemetery of the Saints-Innocents, where his "bon amy," sieur de Gauchard, is buried. He asked his wife to see to all the financial details.
November 29, 1627, inventory (XXXIV, 43) The inventory of Claude Charpentier's possessions, at the request of Hubert Cailleu, "procureur au Châtelet," living on the Petit Pont. Cailleu is guardian of Claude's minor children by Jacqueline "Le Lorrain": Jean, age 22; Pierre, age 21; Louis, age 18. Also present was Claude Charpentier, "oculiste du roi" and "subrogé tuteur" to the above minors, and François Charpentier, their brother, who was absent from Paris. It was the "titres" listed in this act that permitted me to find most of the above-mentioned acts. There were 54 acts in all, too complex to summarize here. A notation dated December 31, 16727 reveals that Claude Charpentier, the oculist, was married to Geneviève Nutrat.
November 9, 1644, inventory (CXIII, 20) At the request of Hubert Cailleu and of Denis Charpentier, "conseiller du roy en son conseil d'Estat, notaire secrétaire de Sa Majesté maison et couronne de France, et de ses finances," who lived on the rue Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre, in the parish of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. Also present were Claude Charpentier, oculist, of the rue Montorgueil; Jean Charpentier, premier brigadier des gardes de M. le Comte de Ransalt"; Louis Charpentier, "écuyer, archer des gardes du corps du Roy sousla charge de Mr. le Comte de Charraut"; and Françoise Courcole, the daughter of Mlle Claude Charpentier épouse Courcole, who was the widow of Felix Quenafle, "l'un des Suisses de la garde de Roy" at Saint-Denis. They all were heirs of Mme Cailleu, that is, Anne Charpentier, Denis's sister. The act summarizes a dozen or so acts, none of which revealed much about Denis Charpentier.
March 17, 1650, partage (XCVI, 54) The Cherré family enters the picture, but through an act involving the Cuigy family rather than the Charpentiers. Pierre Cherré, "conseiller au roy en ses conseils et maistre ordinaire de sa chambre des comptes." He and his wife, Marie de Cuigy, live on the rue de Richelieu, paroisse Saint-Roch. Other Cuigy relatives are Pierre de Maridat, "conseiller du roy en son grand Conseil" (who married Anne de Cuigy), and Jacques Pinon de "Marteroy" usually spelled "Martroy" (whose wife was Claude-Elisabeth de Cuigy). As the next act shows, Pierre was the brother of Isaac Cherré, Richelieu's householder (who married Marguerite de Flexelles in June 1651 before notary XVI; and then, in March 1704, Marguerite de "Flesselles" plus some Doujat, Cherré, Pinon, Barjot, and Boucher d'Orsay, work together on the inheritance of the estate of Marie Cherré and Alexandre-Charles Lenoir, "président aux aides." Y 4132.
September 14, 1653, marriage (CXIII, 32) Edmond de Fieux, "chevalier, seigneur des Muis, Boissez, Villette, Bonnemare, et autres lieux, maître des requêtes ordinaire," the son of the late Etienne de Fieux and Marie Thevenin, married Denis Charpentier's daughter, Marie-Françoise Charpentier, in the presence of her mother, Antoinette Le Comte. Her father, Denis, "seigneur de Saint-Marc" (read: Saint-Mard) had died. Present for the bride were Armand Charpentier, sieur de Saint Marc, her brother; Nicolas Coynard, her brother-in-law; Pierre Cherré and Isaac Cherré, her "cousins maternels" (in other words, the Cherrés were related to the Le Comtes, not the Charpentiers). Her dowry totaled 120,000 livres. De Fieux's guests were Charle Henry de Malon de Bercy, and his son; Nicolas le Page; and Léonard Margueray. In addition to her close relatives the bride was assisted by several "friends": Etienne Coynart; François Chevallier, maître hotel du Roy; Léonard Daspremont de Vandy; and Melchior de Sabran.
September 4, 1654, donation (Y 191, fol. 427v) Antoinette Le Comte, still living on the rue Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre, makes a gift to Jeanne Desmoulineufs, the daughter of Toussaint "des Moulinneufs." The money came from a contract created by Mathurine Brossard, the widow of Denis Charpentier's lawyer, Jean Le Comte de Larchaye (Antoinette's relative?).
January 1688, inventory (LXVIII, 244) At the request of Marie Charpentier, the widow of Nicolas Coynart. (Note that Marie Charpentier-Coynart's name is found in two insinuations involving her children: Y 253, fol. 226v and fol. 384, dated November 9, 1688.)
January 7, 1689, inventory (CVIII, 210) Marie Charpentier-Coynart has died. The act is signed by her children and their representatives.