Notes for Melchior de Forest III: Melchoir de Forest III was born a Catholic. He was called, in the record of Avesnes, "a merchant dwelling in Avesnes" and a "merchant draper". He was an alderman in the community in 1563 and 1564. He was also a Sheriff at one time. By 1569 he was living outside of Avesnes in a small village of Guersignies, just outside the city walls. There were large vineyards in this village and it appears that Melchoir expanded his occupation to include vine-growing. He died in Avesnes in 1571. All of his children held esteemed positions. Several were aldermen, burghers, and drapers, and with the exception of two churchmen (Canons) all were wool-merchants, with wool being the staple of industry among the residents of the area, known as Walloons.
Melchoir de Forest III, son of Melchoir de Forest II, was born 1521. He married in 1541, Catherine du Fosset. He was a member of the brotherhood of St. Nicholas in 1543, and in 1562 was Sheriff of Avesnes. (website: The DeFreest Family History )
"Melchoir De Forest and Catherine du Fosset of Mons were married in 1533 in Avesnes, which was situated in what was then France. (In 1559 Hainaut was ceded to Spain by the French.) Melchoir and his wife were at that time of the Catholic faith, although Protestantism was already beginning to make great progress in the Netherlands and especially among the Walloons. Melchoir in the old records was called "a merchant dwelling in Avesnes", or a "merchant draper," and we know that he was an alderman there in 1563 and 1564. In 1569 he was no longer residing within the city but in a little hamlet called Guersignies, situated just beneath the walls of Avesnes.
"This hamlet owed its being to the fact that on the broad plain below, which faced the south and the southeast, there existed even as early as the middle of the sixteenth century the extensive vineyards of Guersignies. Melchior had evidently at this time enlarged his interests so as to include vine growing, for he and his wife Catherine had bought up the leasehold of more than one tract of land in that vicinity, among them a "rent heritable", which he had purchased on April 13, 1556, for a house and garden which lay within the "haie" or enclosure just beyond the city gates. He had therefore taken up his residence in Guersignies, at any rate for part of the time, the better to care for his vineyards. No poet has sung the praises of the wine of Guersigtnies and the vineyards have disappeared by degrees, although a certain number of vines had been preserved until within the last few years, when the owner destroyed them, saying that they made "a very poor, thin sour little wine" he had rather use the land for something else.
"Melchior died at Avesnes in 1571 and was without doubt buried from the Cathedral there. The little city was then the seat of a bishopric, and besides the Cathedral it had ecclesiastical residences and cloisters; we know that there was also a Chapter House for the twelve Canons of the Cathedral Chapter of St. Nicholas.
"In this Chapter we should feel an especial interest, for two de Forests were Canons of the order. One, Jaspard, was a son of Melchior, and the other, Gilles, was either his son or his nephew. Canon Gilles lived long enough to become Dean of the Chapter, a dignity which came with seniority. The office of Canon carried with it a right to the title "Messire".............
"All Melchoir's children held honorable positions. Several were aldermen, burghers, and drapers, and with the exception of the two Canons all were wool-merchants, wool being the staple of industry among the Walloons." (1)
More About Melchior de Forest III: Date born 2: 1521, Avesnes, France.
More About Melchior de Forest III and Catherine du Fosset: Marriage 1: 04 Apr 1543, Avesnes, France. Marriage 2: 04 Apr 1533, Avesnes, France.
Children of Melchior de Forest III and Catherine du Fosset are: