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> Famous Bretons, Marion of Faouët: Bandit Leader
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 30-Jan-2005, 12:30 AM
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Hello! Here is another in the series on Famous Bretons! Hope you enjoy it! This information was found at:

http://www.brittany-bretagne.com/pg/marion.htm

Marion of Faouët: Bandit Leader

Marion of Faouët or Finefond, whose real name is Marie Louis Trome ; legitimate daughter of Félicien Tromel and Helen Kerneau, was born on the 6th of May 1717 in the miserable little hamlet of Porz-en-Haie, near Faouët. Right from her early childhood, the little Marion is a beggar, which is very current in the Brittany of the 18th century.

She accompanies her mother, who goes to all the pardons, in order to sell haberdashery, laces, braids, and riddles for sifting grain. Her life changes suddenly one day, when she meets a brown-haired young man, Henry Pezron, known as Hanvigen, who surprises her as she is taking a bath in the pond of Priziac. It was love at first sight. They seal their union, in front of the chapel of Saint-Fiacre, by mixing their blood.

When Marion is 18 years old, she can no longer stand the precariousness of her conditions of life. She becomes the leader of a gang of criminals whose actions were the talk of the town under the reign of Louis XV. In December 1735, the young woman, who is now pregnant, takes advantage of the Pardon of Sainte-Barbe, in order to create the Finefond compagny. The ranks of this gang become bigger, thanks to her mother, her father-in-law and robust men from all around. It continues to serve her in Brittany for nearly fifteen years. In busy places, pardons, high Masses, fairs and market places, Marion passes as an honest salesperson. She has no trouble in robbing rich merchants who dawdle a little too much in the Inns of Faouët.

For a while, she directs operations from Kerhoel, as she waits for her daughter to grow up a bit, in order to be able to participate in the gangs expeditions once again. Marion is a woman of heart. During the great famine of 1740 to 1741, which hits the countryside of Brittany very hard, she gives away part of her spoils to the most impoverished. The inhabitants of Faouët begin to know who she is. It is at that moment in time that she starts to distribute sorts of safe conducts for those that she wishes to protect. One night, when the cider flows a little too freely, a ploughman and his family who are of the area are terrorised. He alerts the Archers of Carhaix. They don?t take long to get hold of Henry and his accomplices. On the 24th of March 7143, they are imprisoned. Marion manages to help Hanvigen escape, thanks to the collaboration of a friend.

With its come back, the gang takes up its activities with renewed vigour, from Quimper to Vannes, from Ploemeur to Carhaix. It has now 80 men and is extremely organised. At this period in time the law becomes very interested in their activities. One evening in December 1746, Marion and four of her men are arrested. This time there is no intervention. On the 20th of January 1747 the verdict falls : they are sentenced to be hung. They appeal the decision and are transferred to Rennes. A new trial confirms the hanging of Hanvigen (which takes place on the 28th of March 1747). Marion however is banned from the area, whipped naked, marked with an iron on the shoulder, with the letter V (which signifies « voleur » thief). She is 30 and has just lost the man of her life.

She goes back to her activities, but the gang is no longer the same. Tracked down after ransacking several churches, she is once again arrested. The judges of Vannes show clemency and she is released. She is arrested shortly afterwards and is transferred to the prison of Quimper (the 2nd of July 1752). She manages to escape on the 9th of September 1752. Marion is endlessly tracked down, her gang diminishes in size as her men fall into the hands of the law. She feels lonely. When she is looking for a hideaway in Nantes, Marion is recognized by someone from Gourin. On the 2nd of August 1755, 38 years old, she is questioned about her accomplices, with her legs placed on live embers. She nevers tells them their names. She is hung in the square of Saint-Corentin in Quimper. The crowd builds up around the guillotine scaffold just as Marion du Faouët becomes one of the legends of Brittany.

Reading material :
-La Marion du Faouët
roman historique, by Yvonne Chauffin, 1995, Liv? Editions. 258 pages, 98 francs.
Marion du Faouët et ses associés, la grande misère et les voleurs au XVIIIè siècle
by Jean Loredan, 1995, Liv? Editions. 354 pages, 135 francs.
-Les Aventures de Marion du Faouët
by Margot Bruyère, 1996, book for children Liv? Editions. 160 pages, 49 francs.
To be seen :
-Marion du Faouët, chef de voleurs
Film for television in two parts, which will be broadcasted on « France 2 » at the end of 1996 . The scenario is written by Catherine Borgella.

This post has been edited by WizardofOwls on 30-Jan-2005, 12:36 AM


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Allen R. Alderman

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Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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