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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




September 1971
(Revised 1978)

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report Number H D 17 R)


[PAGE 27:]

According to his own account in 1736, Nicolas Pugnant dit Destouches came to Louisbourg from Acadia in 1713. In his first years at Ile Royale he was a soldier, having served in the colonies since 1702. After discharge in 1716, he remained in Louisbourg and followed his baker's trade [NOTE 1].

["Destouches" seems to have been Nicolas Pugnat's military name, as it was not passed on to his widow and his children. Official correspondence refers to him as "Destouches" or "Detouche" while he always signed "Pugnant" or "Pugnan". Several spellings are used. In this report the name "Pugnant" is being used.]

In 1713 Pugnant settled on land allotted to him on the Quay front of the new colony, just outside what was to become the north boundary of Lot I in Block 2. His first establishment consisted of a small picket building (cabane de piquets) which he built in 1713, and an adjoining house which he purchased from the king for 100 livres in 1715. According to his 1736 account, Pugnant destroyed his cabane in 1715 under orders from the king and built a house within the boundaries of the newly aligned block. His property was then surveyed and a concession of 32 pieds on the Quay, within the new alignment of Block 2, was granted to him by Philippe Pastour de Costebelle and Pierre-Auguste de Soubras [NOTE 2]. The concessions of 1717 and confirmations of 1718 contradict the latter part of his story; mention is made of Pugnant's house but the property is described as unconceded land, 36 pieds by 18 pieds [NOTE 3].

As seen on Plans 1717-2, 1718-2, 1720-2 and 1720-4, Pugnant's house ran east-west along the Quay, immediately to the west of Rodrigue's L-shaped building (Lot H). A hip roof is seen on Plans 1717-2, 1720-2 and 1720-4. Two extensions on the south side of the building are shown on 1717-2, 1718-2 and 1720-4.

[PAGE 28:]

The early deMesy-Rodrigue controversy over Lot H forced Pugnant to readjust his property in 1721 - this time at deMesy's expense. The east half of Pugnant's picket house was dismantled, moved into the block, and reassembled against the south wall of the building. The land thus vacated was given to Rodrigue to compensate for deMesy's encroachment on Rodrigue's Lot H property. (See Plan of 12 septembre 1721) [NOTE 4]. Pugnant's 1736 account states that the widow Rodrigue, "comme une Seconde Jezabel," usurped 2 pieds of his property in 1721, although the 12 September plan indicates that he lost a much larger area [NOTE 5]. On 21 September 1721 a new concession of Lot I with a Quay frontage of 30 pieds was granted to Pugnant [NOTE 6]. The distance that Lot I ran into the block was extended to compensate for the disturbance of the readjustment [NOTE 7]. In 1734 the property measured 30 pieds along the Quay and 100 pieds into the block [NOTE 8].

As pictured on Views 1731-1, 1731-3-(2) and N.D. 76, Pugnant's house was a one-storey picket structure with a door flanked by two windows facing the Quay. Views 1731-3-(2) and N.D. 76 show another opening on the west half of the north facade; a door appears on Plan 1731-3-(2) and a window on N.D. 76. A chimney is shown on the ridge of the roof on Plans 1731-1 and 1731-3-(2). Contradictions in the type of roof structure are found on Plans and Views 1730-2, 1731-1, 1731-3-(2), 1734-4, N.D. 24 and N.D. 89.

The building filled the north boundary of the property and extended into the block. Plans 1722-1, 1723-2, 1723-3, 1723-4 and 1724-2 show the 1721 extension on the west half of the south side while Plans 1730-2, 1734-4, N.D. 24 and N.D. 89 show an extension on the east half of the south side. Plan 1731-3-(l) pictures the building as a rectangular structure without an extension.

After he was reestablished in Lot I, Pugnant became a party in the dispute over the ordinance of 1723. The 1723 list of property owners described him as a baker and a tavern keeper [NOTE 9]. Because he was not a fisherman, the ordinance of 1723 ordered Pugnant to give up his waterfront property. In return he was to receive a property double the size of Lot I elsewhere in the town and payment of the estimated value of his building [NOTE 10]. This section of the ordinance went unheeded until 1735 when orders for enforcement came from France. After 12 years, Pugnant was faced with the loss of his Lot I property by the terms of the 1723 ordinance [NOTE 11].

[PAGE 29:]

The joint representations of the owners of Lots I, K and L reviewed Pugnant's history. By 1736 he had been in the colonies for almost 35 years.

"... lon voyoit qu'un homme a la Soixantieme de Son age, apres en a[vant] passé la fleur au Service du Roy, et employ[é] le Reste a Setablier; dans, la Veue de Jouir de ses travaux pendt. Sa Vieillesse" [NOTE 12].

By royal order, communicated in Maurepas' letter in April of 1737, Pugnant was confirmed in his possession of Lot I [NOTE 13].

Pugnant, a master baker, owned an oven which probably was located on his Block 2 premises, although he also owned a property in Block 37 [NOTE 14]. In 1735 the oven was rented from 15 July to 21 September to bake bread for the crew of the king's ship, Le Rubis, at a price of 30 livres per month [NOTE 15].

In 1737 Pugnant rented a room to a merchant, S. Lievre, for five months at a total cost of 100 livres [NOTE 16]. Pugnant's establishment was burnt to the ground by the fire which swept along the Quay front of Block 2 in 1737 [NOTE 17].


After the 1737 fire, Pugnant built a house which was in the last stages of construction, if not completed, by September of 1738 when Muiron, Duperier and Rodrigue signed their contract. The proposed Lot H house was to use Pugnant's east wall as a common wall and Muiron was to construct two double fireplaces on it [NOTE 18]. Rather than a back-to-back type of double fireplace, it seems that these were to have been double in the sense of an upper and a lower fireplace, situated on the Rodrigue side of the wall.

Plans 1739-5 and 1745-1 show a substantial two-storey house on Lot I. Pugnant's heirs were in possession of this house and property in 1745, Pugnant having died in 1740 at the age of about 65 years [NOTE 19].

In 1749 Pugnant's widow, Marguerite Brunet, rented the house to Jean Claparede, a merchant and locksmith, for an annual rent of 600 livres. As part of the rental agreement, Claparede promised to make necessary repairs, including repairs to the locks [NOTE 20]. In 1750, after Claparede had occupied Lot I for almost a year, his lease was revised. A list of [PAGE 30:] necessary renovations and repairs was outlined, to be made by Claparede in payment of his first year's rent. As agreed in the 1749 contract, an annual rent of 600 livres was to be paid for the remaining six years. The second lease was made jointly by Pugnant's heirs - his children, Claude Pugnant, Jean Pugnant, Marguerite Pugnant (the widow Desforges), and their mother, this time referred to as "Marie" Brunet [NOTE 21].

The Pugnant house was incorporated with the house in Lot K between 1757 and 1766. In 1756 and 1757 the Pugnant house was described as a boundary of the Lot K house, which by then was owned by Claparede [NOTE 22]. Plans 1766-1, 1767-1 and 1768-1 show one large building adjoining the ordonnateur's west addition and treat the former two houses of Lots I and K as one building.

The combined Lot I and Lot K house was still inhabited in 1767. In 1768 it was described as a stone building, in good repair, occupied by Mr. Townsend, the late deputy-paymaster. "Good repair" of houses was qualified as requiring "much Expence to make them really so" [NOTE 23].


There is no toisé for the Pugnant house. Views in 1739 and 1745 picture the north façade of the house while descriptions in the rental agreements supply a few general details about the building.

The Lot I house was a masonry structure (See Plans 1746-1, 1746-6, 1767-1 and 1768-1) and seems to have had a wood-shingled roof. (See elevation 1739-5). The Quay façade of the building consisted of two windows and a center door on the ground floor and three windows on the first storey. (See elevation 1739-5 and Views 1745-1 and 1745-1a).

The views give contradictory details for the east wall of the house. An upper-storey window and a lower-storey opening, either a window or a door, appear on Plan 1745-1a. Plans 1739-5 and 1766-1 situate a chimney on the east end of the building. The second suggestion seems more acceptable. It is likely that the east end wall was blank, as the Rodrigues were planning to use it as a common wall for their Lot H proposed masonry house in 1738.

[PAGE 31:]

In 1750 Claparede agreed to roughcast (crepi) the chimneys and exterior of the house and to furnish seven double window frames, with glass, "sept double chassis garnis de Leurs Vitres." Listed among the items to be constructed was a small china cupboard (décharge pour la veselle), which probably was to be located in the house [NOTE 24].

The basement of the Pugnant house had an exterior entrance in the north wall. The door is situated to the east of the ground floor main entrance on elevation 1739-5. In 1750 masonry and timber repairs were to be made to the cellar door. At the same time, a basement drain was to be cleared and sand or gravel was to be spread on the floor [NOTE 25]. A chambre Basse mentioned in 1749 possibly was located in the basement, although it is more probable that it was on the ground floor [NOTE 26].

In 1749 the ground floor consisted of a kitchen, two cabinets and probably the chambre Basse mentioned above. A staircase with turns at the top and bottom (un Escalier tournant haut et bas) led to the first storey where a chambre and two cabinets were located [NOTE 27].

An attic (grenier) was located above the first storey [NOTE 28]. In 1750 two partitions were to be made in the attic and three frames supplied for dormer windows [NOTE 29]. Plan 1739-5 shows four gable dormers on the roof - two on the north slope and two on the south slope. Two dormers on the north slope, located as shown on elevation 1739-5, appear on View 1745-1a. The plans and views agree that the building had a pitch roof.

The elevation of the Pugnant house was very close to that of the commissaire-ordonnateur's house in Lot G. When advocating the construction of an addition to the ordonnateur's house on the former Rodrigue property, the engineer Franquet suggested that the east wall of the Pugnant house serve as a common wall [NOTE 30]. This recommendation probably was implemented when the addition was made in 1754 [NOTE 31]. (See Plans 1766-1, 1767-1, 1768-1 and N.D. 27).

The Pugnant house did not extend as far into the block as the ordonnatuer's house (46 pieds). When the Rodrigue house (Lot H) was planned in 1738, it was to run the same distance into the block as the ordonnateur's house. The west wall was to consist of Pugnant's east wall plus an extension into the block [NOTE 32]. The difference in size of the Lot G and Lot I buildings can be seen on the plans.

[PAGE 32:]

The 1758 views seem to combine the ordonnateur's house, its west addition, the Pugnant house and the Guion house, into one complex. The sketch of the north façade on Plan 1758-6a is crude and relatively uninformative. The south wall is shown on Plan 1758-9. The Pugnant house is situated in the center of the main part of the complex which runs parallel to the Quay. The center chimney, the west dormer, and two upper-storey windows possibly belong to the Lot I dwelling. Another feature is either a one-storey shed on the back of the Pugnant house or, more probably, an end chimney on the magasin of the ordonnateur's house.

The combined Lot I and K house appears on Plan 1766-1. No dormers are shown on the Lot I section of the north roof slope. Two windows on the ground floor and three on the first storey seem to be located on the Pugnant house north wall. A center door could be in either the Lot I or the Lot K half of the building.

Plan 1767-1 shows small squares projecting from the Lot I section of the south wall. It is thought that these structures, found only on this plan, are storm porches and may indicate the location of doors.



As part of the 1749 rental agreement, the widow Pugnant promised to build a small magasin in the yard for Claparede's use. Claparede was to furnish locks for the "doors, window and shutter" of the structure [NOTE 33]. When the rental agreement was revised in 1750, responsibility for construction shifted to Claparede. The magasin was to be a charpente building with a plank roof, 30 pieds by 20 pieds, and was to contain a storage bin for bread (soute a pain) [NOTE 34].

What seems to be the magasin is shown in the Lot I yard on Plan 1767-1. The plan places the building in the category "stores and stables occupied at present."

[PAGE 33:]


Picket fences are shown at the rear of the Lot I house on Plan 1739-5. The east and south perimeters of the yard are lined with pickets while an east-west fence with an opening seems to divide the yard into two sections. In 1750 Claparede promised to make a picket palisade on the west side of the property. Latrines were to be erected in the yard. A small poultry shed, whose location was unspecified, also was to be constructed [NOTE 35].

I. [NOTE 1:] A.F.O., G1, Vol. 462, ff. 123v.-124v., tres humbles Representations faites a Messieurs les Gouverneur et Commissaire ordonnateur de l'Isle Royale. Par Nicolas Pugnan d detouche maitre Boulanger, Jean Baptiste Guyon navigateur, et auger grandchamp aubergiste de cette Ville, [1736].
[NOTE 2:] Ibid; A.F.O., G3, Carton 2056 [1717, No. 2], 21 mai 1717.
[NOTE 3:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 2, f. 153v., Toises particuliars des Concessions accordées a chaque habitans du port Louisbourg, 10 novembre 1717; A.F.O., G1, Vol. 462, ff. 103-03v., Projet de Brevet de confirmation des concessions faits aux habitans de Louisbourg, 22 juin 1718.

[PAGE 186:]

[NOTE 4:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 5, f. 405, de Couagne, Explication du Renvois, 12 septembre 1721.
[NOTE 5:] A.F.O., G 1, Vol. 462, f. 124v., tres humbles Representations faites a Messieurs les Gouverneur..., [1736].
[NOTE 6:] Ibid; A.C., C11B, Vol. 5, f. 27, Etat des terrains concédé dans la ville de Louisbourg sous le bon plaisir du Roy par messieurs les gouverneur Et commissaire ordonnateur delisle Royalle jusqu'au 15.8bre 1734. et autres dont Sa Majesté a disposé par son mémoire du 31.may. 1723, 24 octobre 1734.
[NOTE 7:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 178, pp. 248-49, Contestations d'Entre M. deMesy et le Sr. Rodrigue a Loccasion de Leur Emplacemens, 15 juin 1721.
[NOTE 8:] A.C., CIIB, Vol. 5, f. 27, Etat des terrains concédé dans la ville de louisbourg..., 24 octobre 1734.
[NOTE 9:] A.C., C11A, Vol. 126, pièce 111, [p. 237], Estat des Emplacements concédés a Louisbourg dans l'Enceinte de la Place relatif au plan de 1723, 1723.
[NOTE 10:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 190, [No. 3, ff. 64-66], Ordonnance du Roi, 31 mai 1723.
[NOTE 11:] A.C. B, Vol. 63, ff. 578-78v., Arret du C eil qui confirme les concessions faites dans la Ville de Louisbourg jusqu'au 15 8 bre 1734, 5 avril 1735; ibid, ff. 535-35v., Maurepas à M. de St. Ovide et leNormant, 25 avril 1735.
[NOTE 12:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 462, ff. 123v., 124v.-25, tres humbles Representations faites a Messieurs les Gouverneur..., [1736].
[NOTE 13:] A.C., B, Vol. 65, f. 445v., Maurepas à M. de Brouillan et le Nommant, 16 avril 1737.
[NOTE 14:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 5, f. 45v., Etat des terrains concédé dans la ville de louisbourg..., 24 octobre 1734.
[NOTE 15:] Ibid, Vol. 17, f. 184, Depenses faites a l'Isle Royalle Sur les fonds ordonnez pour le Service de la Colonie et sur ceux des fortifications d'Icelle pendant l'année 1735, 1736; A.C., C11C, Vol. 11, f. 104, Bordereau de la recette et Depense faitte a L'isle Royalle pendant L'annee 1735, 3 octobre 1736.
[NOTE 16:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 190 [No. 1], ff. 41-41v., Plumitif d'audiences au Conseil Supérieur de Louisbourg, du 28 avril 1735 au 9 janvier 1738, 29 novembre 1737.

[PAGE 187:]

[NOTE 17:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 19, f. 43v., Brouillan et LeNormant à Maurepas, 31 octobre 1737.
[NOTE 18:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2046 (No. 55), np. 3, Laborde notaire, [untitled] Duperier-Belisle-Rodrigue contract with Muiron, 13 septembre 1733.
[NOTE 19:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 407, Registre I, f. 59v., Parish Records, 11 novembre 1740.
[NOTE 20:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2041 (No. 19), Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail à loyer:, Marguerite Brunet veuve Pugnan à Jean Claparede, 23 juillet 1749.
[NOTE 21:] Ibid, Carton 2047 (No. 70), Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail à loyer: Marguerite Brunet veuve Pugnan et ses enfants à Jean Claparede, 13 juillet 1750.
[NOTE 22:] Ibid., Carton 2045 (No. 67), np. 1, [untitled] Bail à loyer: Jean Claparede à Jacques Brunet, 1 juin 1756; ibid, Notaires Royaux, Bail Claparede à Brunet, 22 décembre 1757.
[NOTE 23:] C.O. 217, Vol. 25, ff. 141-41v., Michel Fanklin, The State of the Town of Louisbourg, on the 10th of August 1768, 26 September 1768.
[NOTE 24:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 (No. 70), npp. 1-2, Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail à loyer: "Marguerite Brunet..., 13 juillet 1750.
[NOTE 25: Ibid, np. 1.
[NOTE 26:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2041 (No. 19), np. 1, Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail loyer: Marguerite Brunet..., 23 juillet 1749.
[NOTE 27:] Ibid.
[NOTE 28:] Ibid.
[NOTE 29:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 (No. 70), np. 2. Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail à loyer: Marguerite Brunet..., 13 juillet 1750.
[NOTE 30:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 29, f. 317v., Franquet à Maurepas, 12 décembre 1750.
[NOTE 31:] Ibid, Vol. 34, f. 227, Franquet à Maurepas, 9 décembre 1754.
[NOTE 32:] A.F.O., G3, Vol. 2039 suite (No. 32), np. 2, Desmarest notaire, [untitled] LeNormant-veuve Rodrigue agreement, 9 mai 1736; ibid, Carton 2046 (No. 55), npp. 1, 3, Laborde notaire, [untitled], Duperier- Belisle-Rodrigue contract with Muiron, 13 septembre 1738.
[NOTE 33:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2041 (No. 19), npp. 2-3, Notaires Royeaux, [untitled] Bail à loyer: Marguerite Brunet..., 23 juillet 1749;

[Page 188:]

[NOTE 34:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 (No. 70), np. 1, Notaires Royeaux, [untitled Bail à loyer: Marguerite Brunet..., 13 juillet 1750.
[NOTE 35:] Ibid.

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