Caqueux (or Cacoux)
A former caste of rope makers dwelling in Brittany who in
some of the cantons of that country were treated as pariahs,
perhaps because the ropes they manufactured were considered
the symbols of slavery and death by hanging. They were forbidden
to enter the churches and were regarded as sorcerers. They
did not hesitate to profit by this evil reputation and dealt in talismans,
which were supposed to render their wearers invulnerable.
They also acted as diviners. They were further credited
with the ability to raise and sell winds and tempests like the sorcerers
of Finland.
It was believed that the Caqueux were originally of Jewish
origin, and they were separated like lepers from other folks.
Francois II, duke of Brittany, enacted that they should wear a
mark composed of red cloth on a part of their dress where it
could be readily seen. (They are mentioned in Jaques de Cambry’s
1799 book Voyage dans le Finistére.