Poltrot, Jean De
POLTROT, JEAN DE (c. 1537-1561.), sieur de Mere or Merey, a nobleman of Angoumois, who murdered Francis, duke of Guise. He had lived some time in Spain, and his knowledge of Spanish, together with his swarthy complexion, which earned him the nickname of the " Espagnolet," procured him employment as a spy in the wars against Spain. Becoming a fanatical Huguenot, he determined to kill the duke of Guise, and gained admission as a deserter to the camp of the Catholics who were besieging Orleans. In the evening of the 18th of February 1563 he hid by the side of a road along which he knew the duke would pass, fired a pistol at him, and fled. But he was captured the next day, and was tried, tortured several times, and sentenced to be drawn and quartered. On the 18th of March 1563 he underwent a frightful punishment. The horses not being able to drag off his limbs, he was hacked to pieces with cutlasses. He had made several contradictory declarations regarding the complicity of Coligny. The admiral protested emphatically against the accusation, which appears to have had no foundation.
See Memoires du prince de Conde (London, 1 743) ; T. A. D'Aubign<5, Histoire universelle (ed. by de Ruble, Soc. de I'histoire de France, 1886) ; A. de Ruble, L'Assassinat du due Francois de Lorraine (Paris, 1897).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)