Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard

Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1473 – 30 April 1524) was a French knight, generally known as the Chevalier de Bayard. Throughout the centuries since his death, he has been known as "the knight without fear and beyond reproach" (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche). He himself preferred the name given him by his contemporaries for his gaiety and kindness, "le bon chevalier", or "the good knight".

Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard
Pierre Bayard
Château Bayard
Died30 April 1524 (aged 50–51)
Romagnano Sesia
Allegiance Kingdom of France
Battles/warsItalian War of 1494–1498
AwardsOrder of Saint Michael

Early life

The descendant of a noble family, the head of which had fallen in battle in nearly every generation for two centuries, Bayard was born at the Château Bayard, Dauphiné (near Pontcharra, Isère) in southern France. He served as a page to the young Duke Charles I of Savoy until March 1490, when the Duke died of illness.

1490 - Service of King Charles VIII of France

Le Chevalier Bayard 16th century French school painting
Chevalier Bayard in a 16th-century French school painting.

1490 - Man at arms of Louis de Luxembourg

In 1490 Bayard took service as a man-at-arms in the household of Louis de Luxembourg, the seigneur de Ligny (November 1490) and a favorite of King Charles VIII of France. As a youth, Bayard was distinguished by his looks, charming manner, and skill in the tiltyard.[1]

1494 - Battle of Naples

In 1494 Bayard accompanied Charles VIII's expedition into Italy to seize the Kingdom of Naples.[1] This campaign is now known as the Italian War of 1494–1498.

1495 - Battle of Fornovo

Bayard was knighted after the 1495 Battle of Fornovo, in which he captured a standard. Shortly afterward, entering Milan alone in pursuit of the enemy, he was taken prisoner, but was set free without a ransom by Ludovico Sforza.[1]

1502 - Battle of Canossa

In 1502 Bayard was wounded at Canossa.[1]

1503 - Battle of Garigliano

Bayard was the hero of a celebrated combat of 13 French knights against an equal number of Spaniards, and his restless energy and valour were conspicuous throughout the Italian wars of this period. At the Battle of Garigliano he singlehandedly defended the bridge of the Garigliano against 200 Spaniards, an exploit that brought him such renown that Pope Julius II tried unsuccessfully to entice him into his service.[1]

1508 - Service of King Louis XII of France

In 1508, Bayard accompanied King Louis XII against rebellious Genoa. In the battle that broke the back of the rebellion, Bayard played the role of champion and spearhead in the French assault, a breakneck cavalry charge up a mountain slope against a seemingly impregnable barricade defended by a pike-phalanx of Genoese militia. The Genoese broke and fled before the furious charge of Bayard and the French gendarmes. Genoa subsequently fell, and Bayard entered the city in triumph behind his king.[1]

In June of that year, Louis XII played host to the Spanish king, Ferdinand. Weeks of festivities followed, including tourneys, banquets, and balls. Bayard was the champion of the first, and at the last became reacquainted with his former opponent at the Garigliano, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, El Gran Capitán ("The Great Captain") of Spain.

1509 - Battle of Agnadello

In 1509, the League of Cambrai was formed between France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and the Papacy in an effort to wrest from Venice its territorial empire in northeastern Italy.

For this campaign, the king commissioned Bayard to raise a company of horse and foot. Until that time, French infantry had been a despised rabble. Bayard's company became a model of discipline, high morale, and battlefield effectiveness, and played a key role that year in rescuing the French vanguard at the Battle of Agnadello, on 14 May 1509 against the Venetian forces led by Bartolomeo d'Alviano.

1509 - Siege of Padua

Later that year, Bayard was among the French forces under Jacques de La Palice sent to join their German ally, the Emperor Maximilian I at the Siege of Padua. Though the siege ultimately failed, what early success the allies enjoyed was largely due to Bayard's combination of cool-headed leadership and dashing bravado.

In 1510 the Duchy of Ferrara joined the alliance. Bayard was co-commander of the French contingent sent to garrison and aid the city and its Duke, Alphonso d'Este. During his eight-month stay, Bayard won the admiration of the duke and his wife, the lady Lucrezia Borgia. According to his biographer, "The Loyal Servant" (likely Bayard's archer and lifelong secretary, Jacques de Mailles), Bayard fully reciprocated Lucrezia's admiration, considering her "a pearl" among women. He returned to Ferrara on other occasions to pay homage to the lady, once in the company of Gaston de Foix, duc de Nemours, just months before the Battle of Ravenna, where the Duke lost his life.

1511 - Holy League

By 1511 the League of Cambrai had collapsed due to papal fears of the growing power of France in Italy. To counter this, Pope Julius II declared the formation of the Holy League. This alliance put France at odds with not only the papacy but its erstwhile ally, the Holy Roman Empire, as well as Spain and ultimately the Swiss Confederation.

In various skirmishes with papal troops around Ferrara, Bayard continued to win renown. In one instance, he very nearly captured the Pope himself. About this time, the Duke Alphonso and Bayard found themselves under papal interdict. How long Bayard's period of excommunication lasted is unclear.

Statue of Pierre Terrail, Seigneur de Bayard, in Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, France. 1893 statue.

1512 - Siege of Brescia

At the Siege of Brescia in 1512, Bayard led a wedge of dismounted men-at-arms against the defenders, himself at its tip. Several times the French assault was thrown back. Each time Bayard rallied the French forces and led them in renewed attacks. His boldness at last resulted in a severe wound to the thigh, but not before the defenses were breached and the French entered the town.

His soldiers carried Bayard into a neighbouring mansion, the residence of a nobleman, whose wife and daughters he protected from threatened insult. Bayard was charmed by the young daughters, who sang to him nightly. Before his wound was healed, he learned that battle was imminent at Ravenna, and he hurried to depart to rejoin his comrades. He endowed the two daughters with a thousand gold ducats each, the money the lady of the house had paid him as ransom for her family.

1512 - Battle of Ravenna

Bayard joined his commander and friend, Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemours, in time for the fateful Battle of Ravenna (1512). Bayard's gallantry and the French cavalry under de Foix carried the day, but the duke was killed in the final hour, rendering the battle a strategic loss for the French and a personal tragedy for Bayard.

1513 - Battle of the Spurs

In 1513, when Henry VIII of England routed the French at the Battle of the Spurs (Guinegate, where Bayard's father had received a lifelong injury in a battle of 1479), Bayard, trying to rally his countrymen, found his escape cut off. Unwilling to surrender, he rode suddenly up to an English officer who was resting unarmed, and summoned him to yield; the knight complying, Bayard in turn gave himself up to his prisoner. He was taken into the English camp, but his gallantry impressed Henry as it had Ludovico, and the king released him without ransom, merely exacting his word not to serve for six weeks.[1]

1515 - Service of King Francis I of France

On the accession of Francis I in 1515, Bayard was made lieutenant-general of Dauphiné, but soon accompanied the King and army into the territory of Milan, control of which was challenged by the Swiss. At the Battle of Marignano the opposing armies engaged in a protracted and bloody struggle which the French won largely because of the valour of Bayard, King Francis, and the French gendarmes (armored lancers). After the battle, Bayard had the honour of conferring knighthood on his youthful sovereign.[1]

1521 - Siege of Mézières

When war again broke out between Francis I and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Bayard, with 1000 men, held Mézières, which had been declared untenable, against an army of 35,000, and after six weeks compelled the imperial generals to raise the siege. This stubborn resistance saved central France from invasion, as the king did not have sufficient forces to withstand the Holy Roman Empire.[1]

All France celebrated the achievement, and Francis gained time to collect the royal army, which drove out the invaders in 1521. The parlement thanked Bayard as the saviour of his country; the king made him a knight of the Order of Saint Michael and commander in his own name of 100 gens d'armes, an honour until then reserved for princes of the blood.[1]

1524 - Death in Italy

After allaying a revolt at Genoa, and striving with the greatest assiduity to check a pestilence in Dauphiné, Bayard was sent into Italy with Admiral Bonnivet, who, being defeated at Robecco and wounded in a combat during his retreat, implored Bayard to assume command and save the army. He repulsed the foremost pursuers, but in guarding the rear at the passage of the river Sesia between the towns of Romagnano Sesia and Gattinara, was mortally wounded by an arquebus ball on 30 April 1524.[2]

He died in the midst of the enemy, attended by Pescara, the Spanish commander, and by his old comrade, Charles, duc de Bourbon, who was now fighting on the opposite side. Charles is reported to have said "Ah! Monsieur de Bayard... I am very sad to see you in this state; you who were such a virtuous knight!" Bayard answered,

Sir, there is no need to pity me. I die as a man of honour ought, doing my duty; but I pity you, because you are fighting against your king, your country, and your oath.

His body was restored to his friends and interred at Saint-Martin-d'Hères. In 1822 his remains were buried in the collegiate church Saint-André of Grenoble.[3]

Bayard's DNA

In a 2017 research paper by Gérard Lucotte verified that Bayard's mtDNA haplogroup was H10E and his YDNA haplogroup was R1b-M269.[4]


As a soldier, Bayard was considered the epitome of chivalry and one of the most skillful commanders of the age. He was noted for the exactitude and completeness of his information on the enemy's movements, which he obtained by careful reconnaissance and a well-arranged system of espionage. In the long history of mounted warfare, he rates as one of the greatest cavalry leaders of all time.

In the midst of mercenary armies, Bayard remained absolutely disinterested, and to his contemporaries and his successors, he was, with his romantic heroism, piety, and magnanimity, the fearless and faultless knight (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche). His gaiety and kindness even more frequently won him another name bestowed by his contemporaries, le bon chevalier.

Monuments and memorials

Grenoble - Chevalier Bayard
Statue at Grenoble, Nicolas-Bernard Raggi sculptor
  • Equestrian statue at Pontcharra (Isère)
  • Statue at Grenoble, place Saint-André
  • Bayard Mausoleum, (1625), Saint-André Collegiate church at Grenoble
  • Musée Bayard at the Château Bayard in Pontcharra
  • Statue at Charleville-Mézières, inaugurated October 2005. An earlier statue was damaged during World War I and demolished by the Germans in World War II.
  • Statue in the Collège Stanislas de Paris
  • Statue in Saint-Denis
  • Statue in Sainte-Anne-d'Auray
  • Clément-Bayard, an automobile manufacturer of Mézières, was named in his honour and his image was incorporated in the logo.
  • Adolphe Clément-Bayard, an entrepreneur who created the Clément-Bayard automobile company in honour of the knight in 1903, and then added Bayard to his family name in 1908

In popular culture

Bayard is a recurring character in three novels by author Samuel Shellabarger:

The name Chevalier Bayard is used in reference to a character in Dashiell Hammett's The Dain Curse.

Patrick O'Brian's fighting captain Aubrey is compared by another character to Bayard in The Mauritius Command.

Phineas Finn compares the Duke of Omnium to Sir Bayard in Anthony Trollope's novel The Prime Minister.

In Ford Madox Ford's 1915 novel The Good Soldier, the character Edward Ashburnham is twice compared to Bayard.

Nick Burden refers to Colum McInnes as "the Bayard of the film world" in L. P. Hartley's 1951 novel My Fellow Devils.

The movie Sans peur et sans reproche directed in 1988 by Gérard Jugnot is based on him.

Louis Auchincloss mentions Chevalier Bayard in The Rector of Justin. In P. G. Wodehouse's 1955 novel Bertie Wooster Sees it Through, Bertie speculates that the Chevalier Bayard would have done as he did in tripping a policeman during a nightclub raid.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Various Authors 1843.
  3. ^ Gilles-Marie Moreau, Le Saint-Denis des Dauphins : histoire de la collégiale Saint-André de Grenoble, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2010.
  4. ^ "Chevalier Bayard, une identification ADN et des questions". FIGARO (in French). 2017-03-02. Retrieved 2018-10-06.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bayard, Pierre Terrail" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


  • "Le loyal serviteur" (Jacques de Maille?), La très joyeuse et très plaisante histoire du gentil seigneur de Bayart, le bon chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, le gentil seigneur de Bayart (original edition printed at Paris, 1527)
  • Symphorien Champier, Les Gestes, ensemble la vie du preulx chevalier Bayard (Lyons, 1525)
  • Aymar du Rivail, Histoire des Allobroges (edition of de Terrebasse, 1844)
  • Ulysse Chevalier, Bayerd in Repertoire des sources historiques
  • A de Terrebasse, Hist. de Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayart (1st ed., Paris, 1828; 5th ed., Vienna, 1870)
  • Samuel Shellabarger, Ph.D., The Chevalier Bayard, a study in fading Chivalry,(reprint Biblo and Tannen, New York, 1971)

External links


Year 1524 (MDXXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

1524 in France

Events from the year 1524 in France

Adolphe Clément-Bayard

For cycle, motor-cycle, motor-car, aeroplane and airship companies associated with French industrialist Adolphe Clément-Bayard, see Clement (disambiguation).

Gustave Adolphe Clément, from 1909 Clément-Bayard (22 September 1855 – 10 March 1928), was a French entrepreneur. An orphan who became a blacksmith and a Compagnon du Tour de France, he went on to race and manufacture bicycles, pneumatic tyres, motorcycles, automobiles, aeroplanes and airships.In 1894 he was a passenger in the winning vehicle in the world's first competitive motor event. Albert Lemaître's Peugeot was judged to be the winner of the Paris–Rouen Competition for Horeseless Carriages (Concours des Voitures sans Chevaux).As a result of selling the manufacturing rights to his Clément car he added Bayard to the name of his new business. The company name honoured the Chevalier Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard who saved the company's town of Mézières from an Imperial army during the Siege of Mézières in 1521.In 1909, five years after the successful launch of the Clément-Bayard automobile brand, he applied for and obtained the consent of the Conseil d'Etat to change his name and those of his descendants to Clément-Bayard. Clément-Bayard was appointed a Commander of the Légion d'honneur in 1912.

Most of his manufacturing empire was destroyed by World War 1, by German ransacking, by conversion to war production for France, and by the subsequent weak economic market. In 1922 the Clément-Bayard company was sold to André Citroën and the factory at Levallois-Perret was the centre of 2CV manufacturing for the next 40 years.

Albert Clément

Albert Clément (July 7, 1883 - died 17 May 1907, Dieppe, Seine-Maritime) was a French motor racing driver. In 1904 he won the II Ardennes Cup race and finished third in the III Ardennes Cup race at Bastogne. He also finished second in the Vanderbilt Cup on Long Island. In 1906 he finished third in the inaugural French Grand Prix and 4th in the Vanderbilt Cup. All his driving was in the Clément-Bayard factory team that was owned by his father Adolphe Clément-Bayard.Albert Clément died during practice for the 1907 French Grand Prix at Dieppe whereupon his father lost interest in motor racing. The Clément-Bayard team was withdrawn at the end of 1908.

Armand Barbès

Armand Barbès (18 September 1809 – 26 June 1870) was a French Republican revolutionary and a fierce and steadfast opponent of the July monarchy (1830–1848). He is remembered as a man whose life centers on two days:

12 May 1839, the day of the uprising in which the Republicans tried to overthrow the king, Louis Philippe. His ill-considered actions on this day led to a sentence of life imprisonment; he was, however, released by the revolution of 1848; and

15 May 1848, the day when demonstrators invaded the Assemblée Nationale, where Barbès had been serving, for only about three weeks, as a deputy. The demonstrators' ostensible aim was to urge the government to exercise whatever influence it could in support of the liberation of Poland. Things got out of hand, however, and Barbès got caught up in what was perceived to be a coup d'état through the imposition of a provisional government.Barbès was again imprisoned, but he was pardoned by Napoleon III in 1854. He fled into exile in the Netherlands, where he died on 26 June 1870, only weeks before the end of the Second Empire in France.

A most colorful character, he was nicknamed the Bayard of Democracy, presumably in honor of the chevalier, Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1476–1524). He was also known as the "peerless conspirator", and a modern historian has called him "a man of action without a program." Barbès is today the very paradigm of the nineteenth-century "romantic revolutionary" type, courageous, generous, and a true democrat. He was called the "scourge of the establishment" by Karl Marx.

Bayard (surname)

Bayard is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bayard family, a prominent American family of lawyers and politicians founded by Nicholas Bayard

Alexis I. du Pont Bayard (1918–1985), American politician from Delaware

Émile Bayard (1837-1891), French illustrator

George Dashiell Bayard (1835–1862), Union Army general in the American Civil War

Hippolyte Bayard (1801–1877), French photography pioneer

James A. Bayard (elder) (1767–1815), American politician from Delaware, US representative and senator

James A. Bayard, Jr. (1799–1888), American politician from Delaware, US senator, son of James A. Bayard

Jean-François Bayard (1796–1853), French playwright

John Bubenheim Bayard (1738–1807), American statesman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; delegate to the Continental Congress

Nicholas Bayard (c. 1644–1707), 16th mayor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant's brother-in-law, and founder of the Bayard family

Nicholas Bayard (theologian), Dominican theologian

Pierre Bayard (1954–), French author and professor of literature

Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (Chevalier de Bayard) (1473–1524), French soldier, known as le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche

Richard H. Bayard (1796–1868), American politician from Delaware, mayor of Wilmington and US senator

Samuel Preston Bayard (1908–1997), American folklorist

Stephen Bayard, mayor of New York City from 1744 to 1747

Thomas F. Bayard (1828–1898), American politician, statesman, and senator

Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. (1868–1942), American lawyer and politician, US senator from Delaware

Château Bayard

The Château Bayard is a castle in the commune of Pontcharra in the département of Isère (Rhône-Alpes, France), and dominates the valley of Grésivaudan in the Dauphiné Alps.

Château Bayard has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1915.The castle has housed the Bayard museum since 1975; it presents the life and the myth of Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard, the famous "knight without fear and without reproach", (French: le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche).


Clément-Bayard, Bayard-Clément, was a French manufacturer of automobiles, aeroplanes and airships founded in 1903 by entrepreneur Gustave Adolphe Clément. Clément obtained consent from the Conseil d'Etat to change his name to that of his business in 1909. The extra name celebrated the Chevalier Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard who saved the town of Mézières in 1521. A statue of the Chevalier stood in front of Clément's Mézières factory, and the image was incorporated into the company logo.From 1903 Clément-Bayard automobiles were built in a modern factory at Mézières, known as La Macérienne, which Clément had designed in 1894 mainly for building bicycles.

The company entered the field of aviation in 1908, announcing the construction of Louis Capazza's 'planeur', a lenticular airship, in L'Aérophile in May 1908.: however it was never built. Adolphe Clément also built Alberto Santos-Dumont's Demoiselle No 19 monoplane that he had designed to compete for the Coupe d'Aviation Ernest Archdeacon prize from the Aéro-Club de France. It was the world's first series production aircraft and by 1909 Clement-Bayard had the license to manufacture Wright engines alongside their own design.In 1908 'Astra Clément-Bayard' began manufacturing airships at a new factory in La Motte-Breuil.In 1914 the factory La Macérienne at Mézières was seized by the advancing German army and automobile production in Levallois-Perret, Paris, was suspended as the factory was turned over to war production, military equipment and military vehicles, aero engines, airships and planes.In 1922 the company was broken up and the factory in Paris was taken over by Citroën.Circa 1909 Adolphe Clément received permission from the Conseil d'État to change his name to Adolphe Clément-Bayard.

Francis de Bourbon, Count of St. Pol

Francis I de Bourbon, Count of St. Pol, Duke of Estouteville (6 October 1491 – 1 September 1545), was a French prince and important military commander during the Italian Wars.

Francis was the second son of Francis, Count of Vendôme and Marie de Luxembourg, Countess of Saint-Pol. As such he was a prince du sang in France. His appanage, the countship of St. Pol, came from his mother's Luxembourg inheritance.

His marriage on the 9 February 1534 with the heiress Adrienne, Dame d’Estouteville, brought him several baronies which comprised the lands of the Norman House of Estouteville; Vallemont, Varengeville, Berneval and Cleuville. These were erected for Francis into the dukedom of Estouteville by royal letters patent registered 12 September 1534 in the Parlement of Rouen, the couple's marriage contract being registered by the Parlement of Paris on 16 April 1540. In 1537 he exchanged the countship of St. Pol for that of Montfort-l'Amaury with King Francis I, but in 1544 it was returned to him to enjoy as before the war.

He was knighted by Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard after the Battle of Marignano in 1515. He participated in the defence of Mézières in 1521, fought under Bonnivet and Bayard at the lost Battle of the Sesia (1524) and was made prisoner at the Battle of Pavia in 1525.

In 1527 he became governor of the Dauphiné, and was as such responsible for the French operations against Savoy and Piedmont. His army was destroyed and he was taken prisoner in the Battle of Landriano, until the Treaty of Cambrai in 1529.

He was present at the meeting between Francis I of France and Pope Clement VII in Marseille in 1533.

In 1542, he joined the Dauphin at Picardy and Luxembourg. In 1543, he was part of the French command against the English and Spanish in Picardy. In the Italian War of 1542–1546, he was charged with the conquest of Savoy. He advised against the Battle of Ceresole (1544), but was overruled by Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc, who won the battle.

French ironclad Bayard

The French ironclad Bayard was an early stationary battleship of the French Navy, lead ship of her class. Bayard had a wooden hull and a full rigging, as well as a side armour and steam machinery.

French ship Bayard (1847)

The Bayard was a 90-gun Ship of the line of the French Navy. She was the first ship in French service named in honour of Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard.

List of military leaders of the Italian Wars

This is a list of military leaders of the Italian Wars.

List of people from Grenoble

The following is a list of notable people born in or associated with the French city of Grenoble, Isère.

Marguerite de Baugé

Marguerite de Baugé (1200-1252) was also known as Marguerite de Bâgé, as Marguerite de Baujé and as the Dame de Mirabel .

Pierre Bayard

For the noted French soldier, see Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard.Pierre Bayard (born 1954) is currently Professor of Literature at the University of Paris 8 and psychoanalyst.

He is the author of many creative essays such as Who killed Roger Ackroyd?, How to talk about books you haven't read?,Sherlock Holmes was wrong,...

Prince of Foxes

Prince of Foxes is a 1947 historical novel by Samuel Shellabarger, following the adventures of the fictional Andrea Orsini, a captain in the service of Cesare Borgia during his conquest of the Romagna.

Symphorien Champier

Symphorien Champier (1471–1539), a Lyonnese doctor born in Saint-Symphorien, France, was a relation of the Chevalier de Bayard through his wife, Marguerite Terrail.

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