However, having already searched for the name d’Espard without success in the historical records of both France and England prior to 1700, I now set out to explore the family of Nègrepelisse.
It became quickly clear that there was a distinction between the property, the title and the family. The town of Nègrepelisse was purchased by the family of Carmain and for 300 years it remained a de Carmain property. The Property was then acquired in 1592 by the famous Henri de la Tour, Vicomte de Turenne and Duc de Bouillon. He was a protestant who, as a Marshall of France, supported Henri de Navarre, both before and after he became Henri IV of France; and before and after his change from the protestant religion to the Catholic. The Carmain family seem to have retained the use of the Nègrepelisse title and name.
Louis de Carmain de Nègrepelisse actively pushed the parliament of Toulouse in 1562, to take steps to halt the spread of the new Protestant religion. The parliament called upon Monluc and his Captain Nègrepelisse to restore order to the city. This they did and Louis de Carmain was invested with ‘L’Ordre du Roi’. After that fighting continued with no definitive outcome, except that Charles IX raised Nègrepelisse to a Comté for Louis de Carmain in compensation for the damage suffered. Later, under concessions granted by Henri IV, most of Bearn had turned to the reformed faith. Louis XIII reversed this freedom and took active measures to return the area to Catholic domination. In 1622 the entire population of the mainly Protestant town of Nègrepelisse was massacred by Louis, in the belief that they had in turn killed his resident troops the previous year.