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One of the rarer noble titles of feudalism; it was in use only in Gascony, albeit for hundreds of years, and there only for five or six seigneuries: Buch, Certes, Epernon, Puychagut, and Trene or Trame. Of the latter four of these there is little to say, except that this Epernon would necessarily appear to be distinct from the Épernon which became a duchy under Jean Louis de Nogaret, one of the Mignons of the time of Henry III of France and which is situated just west of the Île-de-France; but Buch, on the other hand, brought forth the man who became synonymous with the title: »Le Captal«, Jehan de Grailly, Captal de Buch; model of chivalry; one of the twelve original Knights of the Garter; friend of the Black Prince, rival of the Archpriest and of Bertrand du Guesclin; one of the best of the portraits of blessed Jehan Froissart, that happiest of chroniclers. Like all Gascons at that time, Grailly was the English king's man; he it was that led the cavalry charge from the Bois de Nouaillé that won Poictiers for the Black Prince, and an immortal name for himself.


The etymology of the title itself is unclear, but it is likely that it stems from the Medieval Latin capitales domini, »chief lords«, that is to say those who had at some point in time been the foremost noblemen of Gascony. When exactly that time was is hard to say, but it must surely have been long ago for La Teste-de-Buch to have been one of the most important places of that land.

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