Paul Family, Ranquine, Le Berceau and Pouy
The Family of Vincent de Paul
Vincent de Paul was born on April 24, 1581, at Ranquine, a hamlet near the village of Pouy, a few kilometres from Dax in Gascony in the south west of France. This region of France was called The Landes (Marshlands), and there Vincent spent his youth, helping with the farm work. The village of Pouy is now known as the town of St Vincent de Paul. In the administrative divsions of modern France, the locality of Ranquine, the town of St Vincent de Paul (Pouy) and the city of Dax, are all to be found in the Département des Landes (No 40) in the Aquitaine Region of the southwest of France. See Map of Départements de France
Vincent's father was John (or possibly William) de Paul, and his mother was Bertrande de Moras. The couple had six children - John, Bernard, Vincent, Dominic (Gayon), Mary, and Mary Claudine. There seems to be no doubt that Vincent de Paul was a Gascon from the Landes area in the southwest of France, and was born at Ranquine near Pouy a few kilometres from Dax. However, some would claim there is a possibility of Spanish ancestry in Vincent's family. This tradition seems to be based on several factors - the migration of people from the northeast of Aragon (Spain) into southwest France in the last part of the sixteenth century, the proximity of Pouy to the Spanish-French border, and the name "Moras" (Vincent's mother) being closer linguistically to Spanish than to French.
Vincent's brother John married and went to live in the area of Lachine, not far from Ranquine, but on the other side of the road to Buglose from Ranquine. This farm was much more important than the one at Ranquine, and much of it was fiefed lands of the Baronecy of Pouy. The de Paul family rented this land, and John increased the holding, then left it to own son John. John (Vincent's brother) died sometime before 1630.
Vincent's brothers Bernard and Dominic (this latter was known as Gayon) lived at Ranquine in the the family home, and it seems they both remained single, and both died there.
Vincent's sister Mary married John Daigrand and they lived near the church at Pouy. One of their children was Thomas, to whom Vincent left, in his will of 1630, a fourth part of half the farm of Missergent at St Paul near Dax.
Vincent's other sister, Mary-Claudine, married Gregory Delartique and lived at Saint Paul near Dax. When she and her husband had to sell the house, woods and lands of the property known as Missergent in 1627, Vincent redeemed the lands and gave them half. It seems that the nephew who came to see Vincent in Paris in 1630 was from this family. This nephew was one of those who testified in the Process of Beatification of Vincent in 1706.
Stephen de Paul was a relative of Vincent's father and probably Vincent's uncle. Stephen de Paul was the Prior of the Hospital-Priory of Pymartet which was a league's distance from Puoy and served as a guest house for pilgrims on their way to visit the shrine of St James of Compostella. It was to this relative/uncle that Vincent went to study Latin.
There was also a relative named Dominic Dusin who may have been Vincent's uncle. He was the Parish Priest of Pouy when Vincent came to visit that town in 1623.
The Family Property at Ranquine
At Ranquine, the de Paul family owned a single-storied house, and also a granary with an attached stables. The house occupied some 100 square metres, and had a kitchen-living room, and four bedrooms - one for husband and wife, one for the eldest son, and two more for the other children. Near the house was a vegetable garden or orchard of some 470 square metres, barnyards for poultry, pigs and sheep, and also a yard for threshing grain.
The farm at Ranquine consisted of three blocks of land known as Lahounade, Mesplé and Bournais, covering a total area of 10,810 square metres. As well as these blocks of land adjacent to the house, the de Pauls worked areas of land on the other side of the Bouglose road and adjacent to the homestead of Laschine, some of which were rented from the Baronecy of Pouy.
The de Pauls were owners of the Ranquine farmhouse and adjacent lands. In addition, the particular title of the land ("Capcazal") gave them the right to cut wood from the communal woodlands in the area, grazing rights on communal lands, and their own burial plots in the local cemetery. The property at Ranquine remained in the de Paul family at least till 1751. By 1800 it had certainly passed to the Nogaró family, who on September 27, 1841, sold it to the Prefecture of Dax. It then became known as Le Berceau. (The Cradle or Birthplace - of Vincent de Paul). The house shown in the photo at the top right of this page is a reconstruction of the original de Paul farmhouse at Ranquine. The original farmhouse had collapsed by 1700. In the nineteenth century, the house was reconstructed almost on the same location as the original, and oriented slightly differently to face the road.
Over time, the hamlet of Ranquine (where Vincent de Paul was born in 1581) has become what is now known as 'Le Berceau de Saint Vincent de Paul' (The Cradle of St Vincent de Paul). In English, it is referred to simply as The Berceau. It is a house of the Congregation of the Mission, and a number of Vincentian Ministries are carried out there.
More details of this historic place can be found on the Berceau Page of this Vincentian Encyclopaedia.
Pouy (now known as St Vincent de Paul), was the village near Ranquine where Vincent de Paul was baptized, and where the de Paul family went to Church each week. Though the original church is no longer there, the baptismal font in the present church is believed to be that in which Vincent was baptized.
Coste CM, P., The Life and Works of St Vincent de Paul Vol 1, (New York: New City Press, 1987)
Román CM, J-M, St Vincent de Paul, a Biography, (London: Melisende, 1999)
Villarroya CM, R., Diccionario Cronológico Histórico-Vincentiano 1580-1660.
Le Berceau de Saint Vincent de Paul, Jean-Pierre Renouard CM, Vincentian Encyclopedia