Guirande de Lavaur (d. 1211)

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Guirande de Lavaur (d. 1211)

French noblewoman and warrior. Name variations: Giralda de Laurac. Died in 1211 in Lavaur, France; sister of Aimery de Montréal.

Bitter fighting took place in 13th-century France during the crusade against the Cathars, who were considered heretics. Guirande de Lavaur was a Cathar known as an educated, gentle and charitable lady. A valiant defender of her estates, Guirande was a French noblewoman of substantial wealth. Although it is not clear from surviving records, she was either widowed or her husband was absent during the year 1211, for his name is not mentioned with hers. In that year, Guirande defended her castles against attacks by the armies of three bishops; eventually, however, she had to give in to the superior military forces of Simon de Montfort, one of England's most famous rebel soldiers.

When Montfort attacked the town of Lavaur to cleanse it of heresy, the Castle of Lavaur was defended by Guirande, assisted by her brother, Aimery de Montréal. The castle held out for two months. When Montfort finally prevailed, Aimery and some 80 knights were hanged, 400 Cathars burned alive, and Guirande was flung into a well and pelted to death with stones.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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Guirande de Lavaur (d. 1211)

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