The Trencavel Inheritance


inheritance-map The Trencavel Inheritance is bounded approximately by four rivers; la Garonne, La Lot, L’Arriage and the La Rhone. The other boundary is the north western shore of the Golfe Du Lion at the north western edge of the Mediterranean.

The inheritance is in two quite distinct segments; the inheritance from the Trencavels, Vicomptes of Beziers, Carcassonne, Albi and Razes, and the inheritance from the St Gilles,Comptes of Toulouse, recieving fealty from a dozen other Viscomtes including the Trencavels themselves.

Occitan/ 7/The source of the conflict./255 The ownership of the lands below the Loire and west of the Rhone was less well defined than anywhere else in Europe. Couple that fact with the prevalence of support for the Cathar faith in this area meant that there was always the potential for war.This is by no means the whole of Occitan.There is a much larger area, bounded by even better natural boundaries for which the native tongue is Langue d’Oc and the culture is Occitaine.


septimania There is a close correlation between the combined Trencavel /St Gilles inheritance (blue) and the Roman province of Septimania. (Yellow) This area has a very significant history. When the rest of Aquitaine was taken over by the Franks in 507 this are was not. It is not even clear wether Septimania was considered part of Acquitaine. It remained under Visigothic control. Importantly it became the bridge between ostrogothic Italy and Visigothic Spain. the traffic between the two generated sufficient trading revenue to make it rich and for a period it was the Visigothic capital.

Because of it’s wealth there was no reason to trade with Franks and there was no trade. The Franks were isolated from the mediterranean and forced to pay a premium to the Genoese and Venetians to access the spices, silks and gold from the east. Later it was the first area to be taken over by the Moors and the last to be given up by the Moors. When Pepin the short did finally eject the moors in 760, he only achieved it by offering a degree of autonomy to its peoples. Intent on creating the valuable trading link across the Mediterranean he specifically invited eastern Jews to the area and again allowed them to create an independent state in the vicinity of Beliers. The area only fell under the influence of the St Gilles and Trencavels because of the inevitable intermarriage. It then became subject to the feudal constraints but until 988 was firmly part of Aquitaine, and therefore part of an independent kingdom.

Hugh Capet

119/Trencavel inheritance/ Fragmentation/ /434 Fragmented relationshipsThe ascent of Hugh Capet to the throne of the Franks, considered in the south as a usurper, presented three options. Independence from the Franks as part of Aquitaine( eventually Plantagenet England), independence from the Franks as part of Barcelona (eventually Aragon) or to swear allegiance to the northern Franks. The Trencavels adopted a policy of being part of Aquitaine by swearing fealty to Toulouse and therefore to Aquitaine.

Before the Albigensian crusade much of of this area fell under the control under of Aragon, but the control was fragmented. with Toulousaine, Aragonais and even English territories intermingled. What was particularly important was that the Trencavel lands themselves were subdivided. For the Viscomptes of Albi,and Beziers they owed allegiance to the Compte of Toulouse.
However for the Viscompte of Carcassonne and the Viscompte of Razes, the Trencavels owed allegiance to Aragon. The deal which switched the Trevencal allegiance from Toulouse to Aragon was brokered by the famous Richard, Coeur de Lion, King of England.

Richard the Lionheart

119/Trencavel inheritance/english influence /433 English ( Ramnulfid) influenceThe reason for Richard’s involvement is that his mother’s family,the Ramnulfids, Dukes of Aquitaine had control of an even bigger part of Occitan and also had a claim over the Compte de Toulouse. The Comptes de Toulouse (the St Gilles family) who were intermarried with both the Ramnulfid’s and the Trencavels then decided to swear allegience to the King of the Franks to avoid swearing allegiance to the Ramnulfids. The Comptes de Toulouse themselves wanted independance. By swearing allegiance to the Francs, whose power base was far away in the North they believed that they had far more freedom than if they swore allegiance to the Ramnulfids, near neighbors along the Garonne valley. By arranging for the Trevcavels to switch their allegiance to Aragon Richard hoped to weaken the st Gilles position and put pressure on them to swear allegiance to himself.

Crusade/17/Gentle persuasion/117 What occured was nothing short of horrific. The Compte of Toulouse was “persuaded” ( by the threat of excommunication reinforced by a public whipping) to stand to one side whilst the Crusaders attacked the Trencavel lands. Brutality was used as a deliberate weapon to intimidate the populace and discredit their rulers.Like many of the Richard’s initiatives this plan was a disastrous failure. The Kings of the Franks accepted the allegiance of Toulouse and this meant that the Trencavel’s then also owed allegiance to the Franks, something they had never intended.
The Franks then saw the ceding of Carcassonne to the Aragonise as rebellion and when discussions for allegiance for Beziers to and Albi to be shifted to Aragon they decided to take action.
Without doubt the target was Trencavel lands, and the declaration by the Pope that the invasion was a crusade against Cathars was initially just a convenience. However the crusading invasion then fell under control of the Church of Rome, with the result that the invasion became a genocidal bloodbath.


Crusade/17/Muret- September 1213/121 Finally the lords of Occitan, as one swore allegiance to Pedro of Aragon and put together a substantial albeit inexperience army. They trapped the Crusaders at Muret. Muret was one of the most significant battles ever fought. Incredibly the crusaders won, although hopelessly outnumbered. If the crusaders had been defeated in this battle it would have redrawn the map and the religious establishment of Western Europe. It would have meant more than the defeat of the crusaders, it would have meant the confirmation of Occitan as an independant state in an Aragonese empire. Having dispossessed the Trencavels, and in the process killed the viscomte and thousands of his citizens,the crusaders then turned against Raimond of Toulouse, using his support of “heretics” as an excuse. At this point Raimond also tried to switch his allegiance to Aragon but in september 1213, the combined Toulousaine/Aragonese forces suffered a humiliating defeat. Pedro of Aragon was killed. If the Southerners had defeated the crusaders at the battle of Muret the history of Europe and the established religion of Europe would have been entirely different. This battle is certainly one of the most important ever fought, but outside of Occitan it rarely rates a mention. It was expected that the English, under King John, Richard’s younger brother, would support the southerners at the battle of Muret but they never arrived.

John, the villan of the Robin Hood saga, had managed to alienate most of his subjects by a sequence of bad decisions. He forced himself on Isabelle d’Angoulene, against her own and her (very) extended families wishes, murdered his brother, starved rebels to death, quarrelled with the pope and suffered a major revolt in the north of England. He was probably distracted by all this and significantly made is peace with the pope, ensuring the church’s support against his disenchanted barons only months before the battle of Muret.


the-invasion-of-privacy-1 The end result was the the Trencavel and St Gilles lands were ripped away and given to members of the crusade. During the Crusade christian knights were given the same benefits as they would have recieved to fight the Saracens. It quickly became a grab for land and soon turned into a genocidal war of the worst kind which lasted over thirty years.The Holy Inquisition came in the footsteps of the crusade, designed and utilised to totally eradicate the Cathar Religion and humilate and terrify the people of Occitan.  It had a frightful outcome; friends betray friends, brothers betray sisters, children betray parents, servants betray masters, all in an attempt to avoid their own interrogation, torture and death.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.