A family house since the end of the 16th century

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Our family enjoys a precious assets in a world that is loosing its references: knowing its roots on 17 generations from the 14 th century. In these 17 generations, 12 of them have lived continuously in the house from the end of the 16 th century. Three names have followed each other:
The LESPINE, from the end of the 16 th century until the half of the 18th century:

  • Helies de Lespine;
  • Jean de Lespine,
  • Etienne de Lespine,
  • Jean de Lespine,
  • Jean Lespine,
    The PAJOT LAFORET, from the half of the 18 th century until the half of the 19 th century:
  • Francoise Lespine marries Pierre Pajot Laforet
  • Jean Pajot Laforet
    The GAUSSEN, from the half of the 19 th century until today:
  • Marie Pajot Laforet marries Jean-Louis dit Audoin Gaussen
  • Felix Justin Gaussen
  • Georges Gaussen (propriétaire mais n’y habitant pas)
  • Jean Gaussen (propriétaire mais n’y habitant pas)
  • Jean-Louis Gaussen
    The Lespine : an old family of Grignols known from the 14th century
    During the 14th century, the Lespine belong to an old catholic family living in Grignols. The records we own allow us to identify them back to 1352 and to establish a continuous and direct line from Guillaume de Lespine at the end of the 15 th century to the Gaussen of today. At this ancient period, the men of the family are lawyer, judge or priest. There are no storekeepers or craftsmen. From the 14 th century, the job of judge is handed down from father to son until the 16 th century. In 1521, Poncet de Lespine makes the chapel of Saint Sebastien built in Bruc (close to grignols) as well as a pillar of the church and Leonard de Lespine set the first stone of this same church.
    Helies de Lespine and his wife, Anne, settle in the house in 1595 after the end of the war between catholics and protestants. On July,25 1593, Henri de Navarre, protestant prince, becomes king of France and converts to catholicism in the
    basilic of Saint Denis (he would have said “Paris is worth a mass !”). After tens of years of bloody fights between catholics and protestants, the piece comes back in the country. In Perigord, the struggle between the two religious communities has lasted since 1545: 40 years of fights, looting and murders. The new king recommends to the inhabitants of Perigord “don’t keep in your heart the resentments of the past”.
    Although these struggles, Helies de Lespine, catholic and judge of Grignols, gets married to a protestant girl, Anne Chaussade on the 1 st of November 1594. In 1595, the married couple settles in the house of Linceuil.
    However, the members of Anne’s family only sign the marriage certificate. The absence of Helies’ family witnesses probably to their disagreement on this marriage made by a protestant priest. Helies and Anne make their first child baptized by a catholic priest and the second one by a protestant priest hereby showing their will to forget the struggles between catholics and protestants.
    From this period until today, the successive generations of the family have been continuously living in the house of Linceuil. The family records are thoroughly saved. The picture hereunder shows Helies’signature on an act dated from the 1 st of April 1607.
Signature of Helies de Lespine, the first inhabitant of Linceuil, on an act dating back to April,1 1607

The construction date of the house 

Helies and Anne settle in Linceuil in 1595. It is probable that the house is already about one century old. Indeed, after the end of the war between the English and the French that lasted more than one century, the second half of the 15th century and the first half of the 16th century are characterized by a fantastic economic development and a prosperity in every region. Everywhere, people renovate and build. At the beginning of the 16th century this is the “Renaissance”.

Two architectural details permit to reliably date the oldest part of the house composed of the rooms that are the present kitchen and office desk.

  • The first one comes from the observation of the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It is obvious that the surface of this wall seen from the living room was an outside facade since there is a window in it (the building that accommodates the present living room and the bedrooms at the upper floors didn’t exist at this period). The lintel is decorated with “a triple accolade” that characterizes the second half of the 15th century. On this same façade there is a door (in the TV cupboard) the lintel of which is also decorated with a “single accolade” (the accolade is hidden behind the TV screen). Since the inner doors were not so decorated, we can derive that this door was an outside one. Consequently, the walls of the present kitchen constitute the original house.

Lintel decorated with a « triple accolade », typical of the second half of the 15th century


  • The second one is related to the beams system of the kitchen. It is made of a series of heavy beams parallel the ones to the others. This design characterizes the houses built before the 16th century. A new design consisting of two main beams perpendicular to a set of smallest square section beams appears only from the 16th century (ceiling said “à la française”).

Consequently, on the basis of the facts described hereabove, it is almost sure that the oldest part of the house dates back to the second half of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century.

Beam system typical of the houses built before the 16th century


Each generation enlarges the house

When Helies and Anne settle in Linceuil in 1595, they find the house too small for their family (they have three children).  It is likely that Helies decides to enlarge the house. He can’t do that neither toward the North neither toward the South because agricultural buildings already exist on both sides. It is not possible either on the western side because a little stream flows along the house from a fountain located on the other side of the present main road. The only option is to enlarge the house toward the East.   

Therefore, Helies makes a new building built at the very beginning of the 17th century. This new building consists of a kitchen (the present living room) and a bedroom at the first floor (the present master bedroom). The entrance door (in the TV cupboard) and the window (with the triple accolade) are blocked up. A new door (the present door) is created between the ancient house and the new kitchen. The entrance door is now in the center of the eastern facade (in the Louis XV cupboard). This room is equipped with a stone sink still visible on the southern side and a fireplace (the present fire place). At this period the wall between the present living room and the entrance from the terrace is a wall of outside facade.

Then, the house is enlarged again, probably in the second half of the 17th century, still toward the Eastern side. Two rooms are added: the present entrance hall and the dining room. The presence of a small window (visible in the attic) in the wall between the present dining room and Marion’s room witnesses that this wall is also a wall of outside façade.  

The last part of the house built in the 18th century is the present Marion’s room. At this period, it was a kitchen. The « potager » close to the fireplace is still present. There was also a stone sink in the door that gives access to the bathroom.  The date 1746 engraved on the mantel of the fire place witnesses that this room is the youngest part of the house.

Date engraved on the mantel of the fireplace of Marion’s bedroom: 1746

The dovecoat and the bread owen were probably also built at the same time in the 18th century.

In the 19th century, Felix Justin Gaussen, mayor of Neuvic, makes the barn built with two stables with haylofts. This building is the present garage. The date of construction is engraved on the keystone of the main entrance: 1870. 

Date engraved on the keystone of the main entrance of the garage : 1870

The recent works 

In 1880 Justin Felix Gaussen makes a new house built on the other side of the main road. He settles in this new house leaving the family cradle that deteriorates progressively. In 1979 Jean-Louis Gaussen initiates a huge outside and inside renovation programme of the house

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