The village of Fitz-James is a suburb of Clermont, Oise, and is located about fifty kilometres north of Paris.
In 1704 James Fitz-James, 1st Duke of Berwick (illegitimate son of King James II and VII) purchased the village of Warty and the surrounding lands from the hôpital général de Paris and the heirs of Antoinette Renée de Gruel. Berwick gave his family name to the village. In 1710 King Louis XIV erected the lands into the Duchy-Peerage of Fitz-James which was eventually inherited by Berwick's descendants from his second marriage. Berwick lived at Fitz-James from 1724 to 1732; he built a home there which replaced the ancient castle of Warty.1 Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles III) stayed at this castle in late 1744 and early 1745 as he waited to embark for Scotland.2
During the French Revolution, Jacques de Fitz-James, 5th Duke of Fitz-James, abandoned the castle and sought refuge in England. The castle was demolished in 1809. Edouard de Fitz-James, 6th Duke of Fitz-James, returned to the estate and built a new castle, 100 metres higher on the hillside. In 1833 Edouard sold the castle to Christian de Beaumini, former mayor of Clermont, who later sold it to the banker Jacques Stern.
In the hôtel de ville (town hall) is a 1769 portrait of the 1st Duke of Berwick by Van Loo.3 He wears the uniform of a French marshall.
1 "Fitz-James", http://freeoise.free.fr/communes/lettref/fitz/index.html.
2 Frank McLynn, Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts (London: Routledge, 1988), 103.
3 "Hôtel de ville de Clermont (Oise)", http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hôtel_de_ville_de_Clermont_(Oise).
This page is maintained by Noel S. McFerran (email@example.com) and was last updated September 27, 2010.
© Noel S. McFerran 2008-2010.