Les chasseurs luttent contre la Bête du Gévaudan

Jean Chastel

Winner of the Beast of Gevaudan

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 on March 7, 1789

Corrections & illustrations, Patrick Berthelot

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

Jean Chastel
Jean Chastel - © PJ Vidal
Plaque Jean Chastel - © PJ Vidal
Jean Chastel - © PJ Vidal
Jean Chastel tirant le Bête du Gévaudan © PPL. Berthelot
Jean Chastel - © PPL. Berthelot

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