Osse-en-Aspe Picture Tour

Osse-en-Aspe, formerly Osse, Bearn, is now a village of a little over 300 people (333 in 2008) in the valley of the Aspe River. It is a fertile glacial valley in the Pyrenees Mountains.

At the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 it likely Osse had a population of approximately 700 people, with 375 to 400 Protestants. Andre Eygun in Peuple d’Aspe (1989) presents a census of Osse in 1831, indicating occupations, which shows a population of 898 over the age of 13 and 88 children between the ages of 7 and 13. (See p. 84) The main occupations in 1685 and 1831 were associated with raising sheep and some cattle and horses, with supporting agricultural production for the livestock and people.

Satellite Osse-en-Aspe Image

The large, wooded area in the upper part of the satellite picture is called Montagne Castet because its shape and configuration resembles a castle looming over the village, as one finds in many areas of France. But it never had a castle or other development because there is no water available. It was used as common pasture land, shared 2/3s by Osse and 1/3 by Lourdios, a small village to the north of Osse, now known as Lourdios-Ichere with 151 people. A map of Osse in 1837 shows the pasture as common land. As sheep herding declined sharply in the valley in the 20th century the area was abandoned and grew up as a forest. Some of the following pictures of Osse show Montagne Castet and how it looms over the village.


Entering Osse-en-Aspe from the south (Lees-Athas)


Osse from the west with the Catholic Church tower on the right and the Bethel Temple tower in left center.


Looking south over Osse up the narrow valley of the Aspe river (towards Spain) into the Pyrenees. White tower in center is the Protestant church called Temple Bethel, originally constructed in 1620, destroyed by orders of Louis XIV in 1686, and reconstructed on original foundation and re-dedicated August 4, 1805. 200th anniversary celebrated in August of 2005.


Looking east across the Aspe Valley towards the village of Accous from the Cavendish house in Osse at the Pyrenees mountains where parasailing occurs.


The Cavendish house in Osse (red trim) where Madame Marie Candau lived, as marked on a postcard circulated by Mrs. Jacob in the 1950s (background Castle Mountain). The house was inherited by Catherine Perony, a French Teacher, and Dr. Frederic Clouturier, a medical doctor. Lord Cavendish’s brass name plate from the 1840s is still on the front door. Mail is simply addressed to Maison Cavendish, Osse, France.

cavendish_door castle_mountain

Castle Mountain looming (to the north) over Osse (Cavendish house with red trim on right center and Bethel temple tower in left corner) Montagne Castet (Castle Mountain) is not the site of an ancient castle but is so named because of its shape.


Rev. Alfred Cadier’s House, next to Bethel Temple. It was marked by Madame Candau as the beginning of her street (to the left of the house) on a postcard circulated by Mrs. Jacob in the 1950s. The Cavendish House (Maison Cavendish) is about 300 feet along the street. (See above).


The Latourrette-Casamayou House, with large south facing porches (entrance and small courtyard hidden by tree and shed) It appears to be the original Latourrette house built after the village was destroyed in 1569, but extensively remodeled about 1880 by a Latourrette-Casamayou who made his fortune in Vancouver, Canada. It passed by marriage to the Mayerau family and now is referred to as the Maison Mayerau. (See Latourrette, Casamayou and Mayerau tomb below).

Another set of interesting pictures of the Latourrette-Casamayou (now Mayerau) house follows, framed in an arch with the house in the background. The close up picture shows the arch has a keystone with the date 1651. Jean Latourrette’s birth date has been generally assumed to have been in 1651, given he said he was 55 years old when the Staten Island Census was taken in what, until recently, was assumed to have been taken in 1706. Recent research suggests the census was likely taken in August or September of 1707. Thus, if his statement about his age being 55 was accurate, Jean was born in late 1651 or before the fall of 1652. (See http://genforum.genealogy.com/latourette/messages/416.html)

The first picture was taken from photographs of Osse from Google Earth. The year 1651 is difficult to read. My appreciation goes to Dr. Frederic Clouturier and Catherine Perony of Osse for the next two pictures which clearly show the date with the original Latourrette-Casamayou house in the background.


2011 photo of arch with Latourrette-Casamayou (Mayerau) House in background


Close up of arch and date 1651 (Photo 2011)

Front of the Latourrette Casamayou House

Front of the Latourrette Casamayou (Mayerau) House


The Latourrette-Pon House, with Castle Mountain in the background was built about 1616 and legend has David Latourrette, Jean’s father, being born there about 1625.


Latourrette-Pon House from the east with shutters closed against the morning sun. Note the top of the arched doorway just above the pots on the wall of the adjoining house.

gayross _maison_forte

The Gayrosse Maison-Forte (a strong house), possibly dating from the 8th century, held by David Latourrette, Jean’s father, in 1685 as the abbe laique d’Osse.

Apoey Tower

The Apoey Tower in Osse is frequently confused as being part of the Gayrosse property (the Gayrosse Maison Forte) and/or related to the Latourrette family in Osse because of the tower on the house. During the religious war of 1569, when Bearn was temporarily overrun by a Catholic army, Miramonde de Loustau, wife of Pierre d’Apoey (Apouey), was martyred at Osse for her Protestant faith. During the same period Pierre de Loustau, minister at Lembeye, was martyred at Lescar.

It was in October of 1569 that Baron d’Arros, in retaliation, burned Catholic churches in the Aspe Valley and Osse was destroyed October 25, 1569. Thereafter, Osse became a Protestant village and Saint Etienne was used a place of worship by them until 1620.


Saint Etienne Catholic Church tower in the center of Osse as you approach from the south (from Lees-Athas).


St. Etienne (Saint Stephen) Church in the center of the village. Note how the mountains are always present in the background.


Osse Cemetery with porch of Latourrette-Casamayou (Mayerau) House in background. Note the steep hills in the background which are used as pasture, especially for sheep.


Tomb of Latourrette-Casamayou-Mayerau Family (see next picture)


The left side of the Casamayou-Mayerau Tomb shows the transition of the name of Latourrette-Casamayou to Casamayou. The second name, Antoine Casamayou (1819-1886), was the person who rebuilt the Latourrette–Casamayou House in the early 1880s, after returning from Vancouver, Canada. He left Osse as a young man to make his fortune and can be tracked to Spain, Panama, Mexico, New Orleans and San Francisco by ship records as A. Latourrette. For some reason by 1837(wealth from the Casamayou great grandmother, social or religious status as the result of his grandfather Antoine Latourrette, mother a Casamayou, converting to Catholicism ?), Pierre Latourrette-Casamayou (1784-1861, listed first above as the father) is shown owning property in Osse as Pierre Casamayou and being "instituteur a Osse" (teacher at Osse).

Having no heirs, when Antoine Casamayou died March 15, 1886 the house passed to Rose (Latourrette) Casamayou who had married a Mayerau. She died a few months later on June 9, 1886 and the house passed to the Mayerau name.


House on the narrow street going south out of the village to Lees-Athas


The Mairie- the Village Hall or Mayor’s office


Author at the front of Temple Bethel in 1991, showing the arch stone saved from the first temple built in 1620 and destroyed in 1686.

temple courtyard

The courtyard of Temple Bethel with the Cadier House tower on the left and the side of the temple on the right.


The tower of Temple Bethel


Temple Bethel and Courtyard from Street


Old mill near the Latourrette-Casamayou House, with the water diversion channel leading to it.


Headstone in courtyard of Latourrette-Casamayou with tracing in caulk which suggests name of Latourrette (September 2003) Burials are also under the house.


Last scene in pastoral play at Osse in August 2005 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Temple Bethel, with the man holding the mike representing a Latourrette who returns to review the history of Protestantism in Osse.