Jean Chastel

Jean Chastel was born on March 31, 1708 in the village of Darnes, parish of La Besseyre-Saint-Mary in France.

Son of a farmer, he marries Anne Charbonnier on February 22, 1735. They will have nine children.

Jean Chastel will become an innkeeper in his village; he was not only considered to be a professional hunter but also a poacher. Somewhat unconventional, he went to jail for a brief period of time at the prison of Saugues.

On June 19, 1767 while hunting with the marquis of Apchier, Chastel killed an animal of large size resembling a wolf in the locality of "La Sogne d'Auvers", near the forest of La Ténazeyre, parish of Nozeyrolles (Auvers). Since that day the ravages from the terrible beast of Gévaudan came to an end.

Jean Chastel did not receive any rewards for killing the animal.

He brought the beast to Versailles; so bothered by the smell, the King immediately ordered the burial of the nimal without rewarding the hunter. Recent historical research suggests that it may not have been Jean Chastel who made the journey up to Paris but that it may have been somebody else.

Jean Chastel died in 1789.


A slab dedicated to his memory can be found in the village of La Besseyre-Saint-Mary.


Below a small chapter in history regarding a namesake:

Another Jean Chastel tried to assassinate Henry the Fourth on December 27, 1594.

"During the King's visit to his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées, living Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, Jean Chastel tried to stab Henry the Fourth . The King who at the last minute stood up was hurt at the mouth instead of the neck, losing only a tooth. Jean Chastel, an ex student at the Jesuit college, will be executed on the 29 and dismembered place de Grève.

On the same date the Parliament will blame the Jesuit Brotherhood for sponsoring the assassination and will deport all Jesuits from France."