Coat-of-arms of Gilles de Rais

(Principal information : seal before 1429, armorial Berry Herald, armorial Le Blancq)

In September 1429, the King gives to Gilles de Rais an orle Azure semy fleurs-de-lis Or.
Note: the overall of ruby brocket is a personal interpretation of the Web page author/artist.


Tiffauges's castle (Vendée)
photo © J.-C. Colrat

illes de Laval, Baron of Rais.


Full name : Gilles de Laval dit de RAIS.

Nickname : "Blue Beard"


Birth : October 1404 in Champtocé's Castle.

Death : October 27,  1440, in Nantes (buried in N.D. des Carmes' church).

Titles of nobility : Baron of Rais (Pays de Retz, Loire-Atlantique), Lord of Pouzauges (Vendée), Tiffauges (Vendée), Machecoul (Loire-Atlantique), Pornic (Loire-Atlantique), Bourgneuf (Bourgneuf-en-Retz, Loire-Atlantique), Champtocé (Champtocé-sur-Loire, Maine-et-Loire), Confolens (Charente) and many other places

Official and military functions : marshal of France (July 1429).

Father : Guy II de Laval-Blaison († 1415), Lord of Rais.

Mother : Marie de Craon († 1415 ?).

Paternal grandfathers : Guy I de Laval called Brimor († 1383) and Jeanne de Montmorency Lady of Blaison.

Maternal grandfathers : Jean de Craon, Lord of La Suze († 1432), and Béatrix de Rochefort († 1421).

Wife : Catherine de Thouars (daughter of Miles de Thouars, Lord of Pouzauges).

Descendants : Marie de Rais († 1457), married 1° Prigent de Coëtivy, 2° André de Laval.

Shield-of-arms : Or a cross Sable.

crest : a Swan's head Argent, a pair of wings Argent) is an ambiguous symbol: the swan is the mercury's alchemists symbol, metal which seems materia prima or philosopher's stone. Sometimes in the Middle Ages, the swan is called hypocritical animal because its flesh is dark under white feathers! Rais wore also a small dragon on a crescent.

Presence at the side of Joan of Arc in  : Blois, Orléans, Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, Beaugency, Patay, Reims, Paris.

Comments : Gilles de Rais, Lord of Pouzauges, Tiffauges, Machecoul, Pornic, Bourgneuf, Champtocé, Confolens, etc., is a very great feudal Lord of the French Realm.

He accompanied Joan of Arc from Blois to Paris. He was promoted marshal of France in July 1429.

He devoted to the alchemy and to the worse activities. Arrested on September 14, 1440, he was condemned and put to death in Nantes on October 27, 1440, for crimes of perfidy, murders, witchcraft, denial of the Faith and sodomy.