The House of Rougé is one of the most ancient noble families of Europe, mentioned for the first time in the year 1045 in the charter of the Béré-de-Bretagne Priory. Its legendary origins say that this house is descended from the prince Rivallo IV, himself the son of the King "Saint" Salomon of Brittany (crowned 854 and killed 874).
The family takes its name from the original fiefdom, the Lordship of Rougé, in Brittany. This town is today in the Loire-Atlantique département.
The first members of the House of Rougé lived near their original fiefdom, where the castle was destroyed in 1173 by the mercenaries of the King of England, while the Lord of Rougé was held in captivity. Wars and alliances pushed the Lords of Rougé thoughout the centuries to settle in the Duchy of Anjou, as well as in Picardie and Île-de-France, but they always kept possessions and a deep attachment to their roots in Brittany.
In about 1220, Aymeric de Rougé became owner of the Rues seigneury, in the Duchy of Anjou. This was to be the origin of the line from which all the present members of the family are direct descendants. In the year 1275, Olivier IV de Rougé received the town and lands of Derval following his marriage to Agnès de Derval. This estate increased considerably the power of the Rougés and became one of nine principal fiefdoms of Brittany. In 1361, Bonabes IV, Lord of Rougé and Derval, is Viscount of La Guerche. He became a hostage for the person of the King of France in the Tower of London. In 1651, lieutenant-general Jacques de Rougé is made Marquis du Plessis-Bellière by the King Louis XIV. His nephew Pierre-François, Marquis de Rougé, lieutenant-général, became Baron de Coëtmen when marrying the heiress and last member of that house. Gabriel-François, Count de Rougé, became Marquis de Cholet in 1763. Bonabes-Alexis, Marquis de Rougé, was a Peer of France in 1815 (by the King Louis XVIII), and his brother Adrien, Count de Rougé, became a Peer of France in 1827, by the last King of France, Charles X. In 1893, Arthur de Rougé, Count de Rougé & du Plessis-Bellière, became 5th Duke of Caylus with Grandee of Spain.
Read below for the biographies of some notable members of the House of Rougé from 1045 to the XXth century.