The Black Cross of Grenoble
The Grenoble club of The Black Cross was established in 1585 in a former priory sacked by the Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. It was shut down when the Catholic League seized the city in 1590, serving for a time as a barracks for soldiers; the club remained closed for some years after the League was driven out of Grenoble by the duc de Lesdiguières, eventually re-opening in 1601.
The club is comfortably furnished and decorated; the club chiefs go out of their way to hire the best cooks they can find, giving the Black Cross’ kitchen a high reputation. Gambling tables are available with a house limit of 100 £. Saucy tarts provide feminine companionship for the members. A small number of guest rooms and stabling for horses are available to members visiting the city from elsewhere.
The Black Cross of Grenoble attracts the city’s bourgeoisie, merchants and advocates working in the city’s many courts. Like the original Black Cross in Paris and environs, the Grenoble club includes many foreign members in its ranks, mostly Swiss and Italian bankers and merchants. Members often wear a small black Latin cross fleury, the symbol of the club, on a lanyard around the neck or pinned to the doublet or cloak.
The governors of the Black Cross in Grenoble include three club chiefs assisted by a treasurer and a secretary and two or three managers. Dues are 20 £ annually.