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La Fouine Magazine n° 8 25 copies

Les cahiers culturels de la région de Pont-de-l’Arche, des Damps et des villages alentours _____________ July 2005 3€


Édito. La Fouine magazine vous propose de découvrir aujourd’hui le passé anglais de Pont-de-l’Arche. Passé anglais, eh oui ! outre quelques contacts épars, nous avons connu plusieurs fois la même souveraineté : normande sous Guillaume le Conquérant ; anglaise pendant quelques épisodes de la guerre de Cent ans. C’est donc un réel plaisir pour nous de pouvoir proposer 24 pages de patrimoine local non pas seulement aux Normands mais aussi à nos voisins d’outre-Manche. Ces pages condensent donc des expériences communes, parfois dans l’opposition, qui revêtent encore plus de sens aujourd’hui où, Normands, Français ou Anglais, nous avançons à nouveau – mais dans la paix, ce coup-ci – vers une même souveraineté : l’Europe. C’est pourquoi ce magazine de patrimoine commun a été édité en langue anglaise (25 exemplaires) en espérant qu’il satisfera aussi quelques-uns de nos concitoyens non Francophones. Bonne lecture à tous et vive l’Europe ! Armand Launay


English translation by Nicole WASTIAUX (Avec tous mes remerciements) Picture in cover : " Comment le pont de l’arche fut prins ", peinture, fol. 138v, in Martial d’Auvergne, Vigiles de Charles VII, France, 1484, manuscrit, parchemin, II-266 feuillets. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département des manuscrits (division occidentale), Français 5054. cf. aussi http://gallica.bnf.fr M. Armand Launay 26, résidence Les Vauges 27340 LES DAMPS launayarmand@yahoo.fr Dépôt légal : juillet 2005, ISSN 1765-2278 Indice DEWEY : 944.242 (21)


The Common Points One Can Find When Comparing the English Language to the Norman Language in Use in the Pont-de-l’Arche / Louviers area (Eure - Normandy). It may seem quite irrelevant and quite remote from local culture to have chosen to study that topic. However, the common points between the Norman language, as spoken in this area up to the beginning of the last century, and English are far more numerous that one might think before considering the subject. Moreover, it's an opportunity for us to approach several periods in history, and, at the same time, go deeper and be more accurate in our study of the local language than in the previous issues of La Fouine Magazine. The links between the Norman and the English language originally dated back, of course, to the conquest of the kingdom of England by William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, in 1066. As a matter of fact, from that time, all the chiefs of England started speaking the conquerors’ language, as most nobles and religious people had been deprived of their possessions for the benefit of the barons and clergy who had come from Normandy to support their duke. From then on, the English people had to adapt to the one language used on the power circles, which favoured the use of Norman words in the more popular layers of the country, as well as the spreading of the conquerors’ accent. As for the Anglo-Saxon elite, they also had to speak that language, to hold their position. Consequently, the language spoken by the most important of clergy, justice and Court was Norman, though they were in England. All the dukes who succeeded William the Conqueror were Normans born on the continent, who didn’t speak English at all, surprising as it seem. Now, in 1135, Stephen of Blois usurped the throne of England and that of Normandy, this putting an end to Norman lineage. In 1154, Henry II Plantagenet, Richard the Lion heart’s father and the first monarch of 3

that Anjou family, became king of England and duke of Normandy. It was from that time that the Norman language ceased to have an influence on English, for the benefit of another Roman language, much closer to French. As for English, the first king to have spoken it was Edward III (whose reign started in 1327). Nevertheless, there remained a Norman accent as well as Norman words. Then, it is quite interesting to note, nowadays, what the English and Norman languages still have in common (especially Norman spoken in the Pont-de-l’Arche / Louviers area), for it wasn't altogether different from the on spoken in most parts of Normandy.

Norman pronunciation in English words

French sounf " oi " pronounced " oè " in Norman and English. - Local examples: la Vaie Blanche (la Voie Blanche, the white way), une bouète (une boîte, a box), mei (moi, me), un dai (un doigt, a finger)... - English examples: a towel (une toile, une touèle), real estate (from " real ", royal), a veil (un voile), a way (une voie, une voè)... French sound " s " pronounced " ch " in Norman and English. - Local examples: les cauchons (les chaussons, bootee), une mouque (une mouche, a fly), la cache (la chasse, the hunting), une quèv' (une chèvre, a goat)... - English examples: a trick (coming from " trique ", triche in French), to carry (coming from " carrier ", charrier, porter, in French), a pocket (une pouquette, une pouchette, in French). Germanic " w " still appearing in Norman and English but changed in " g " in French. - Local examples: une vatine (une gâtine), the name Warnier, une varenne (a warren , une garenne)... 4

- English examples: warison (as in Norman, the French being garnison), to wait ("waiter" in Norman, and guetter in French)...

A glossary of English words coming from the Norman language

French " u " corresponding to sound " eu " in English and in Norman. - Local examples: la leune (the moon, la lune), feumier (dung , fumier)... - English examples: punishment, the future, culture...

French " I " corresponding to " é " in English and Norman. - Local examples: une pénette, une babène, lambéner... - English examples: to cover, a spirit, to arrive, a kennel... French " a " pronounced " è " or " é " in English and Norman. - Local examples: Dernétal (the town of Darnétal, near Rouen), ergent (money, argent), an " a " is still pronounced " è " or " é " in Normandy by people who speak with accent typical of the working classes most often. - English examples: care, marriage, age... French " a " pronounced in a very thick way in English and Norman. - Local examples: gâ-angner (to win, gagner), un mâole (a male, un mâle), un gâo (a lad, un gars)... - English examples: gauntlet, mustard...


- Ammunitions: munition in French, and " amunition " in Norman. - Brush (to): " brocher " in Norman, brosser. - Canvas: comes from the Norman word " canevas ", which derives from Latin "cannabis" what toile is made of. - Capon: this word refers to a male castrated chicken, that’s chapon in French. - Captain: it is the Norman word for chieftain, an old French word. - Car: comes from " car " (waggon, cart), char in French. - Carpet: charpie in old French. - Cashier: caissier. - Cat: chat. - Catch (to): in Normandy, they used to say " cachier ", whereas the French used to say " chacier ". - Cater: this word comes from old Norman " acatour ", which refered to a buyer, a supplier. It still exists today as " acater ". - Caterpillar: hairy cat in Latin (catta pilosa). The French used to say chateplose. - Cattle: " catel " in Normandy, cheptel in Paris. These words come late latin " capitale ", referring to what is owned. - Cauldron: from " caudron ", directly coming from Latin " calidarium ". - Cherry: " ch’ri " or " s’ri " in Norman. The local example can be heard in Tostes, near Pont-de-l’Arche, in a place called Les Cotasseries, which is the French spelling for " les Côtes à s’ri " (the place where cherries can be found). - Crocket: " croquet ", crochet in French. - Culvert: from Norman " coulouère ", couloir in actual French. - Curfew: couvre-feu. - Dig (to): comes from the Norman " diguer ". - French: " Franchais " in Norman (" Frencheiz l’ont commenchie ", as you can read in Le Roman de Rou, XIIth century). - Garden: " gardin ", jardin in French. - Kennel: in old Norman, they used to say " kenil " from Latin canem, 6

then canile, which means dog (" un quein ", in Norman). - Mushrooms: " Moucherons ", in Norman, and mousserons in French. - Quarter (to four): quatre heures moins le quart, in French, and " le quart moins quatre " in Norman. - Pedigree: pied de grue. - Poor: comes from Norman " por ", or " paur ". Pauvre, in French. - Push (to): " poucher ", pousser in French. - Trickery: " triquerie ", tricherie, in French.

A glossary of Norman family names which still exist in English-speaking countries - Agnew: comes from " Agneaux ", a town located in Normandy (Manche). - Barber: comes from " Barbier ", a trade. - Bailey: comes from " Bailly ", which used to be an old regime position. The spelling shows that perhaps the previous Norman pronunciation was Baylet, as in the present name. - Bayol: comes from " Bailleul ", a name of Gallic origin that is found in Normandy (especially next to Vernon). Bailleul means clearing in Gallic, so there are quite a lot of similar plac names on the French territory. - Beckett: this name may come from " Béquet ", a place name quite common in this area. - Burgess: comes from Bourgeois, as pronounced with a Norman accent, that’s to say " bourgeais ". - Carpenter: comes from Charpentier, a trade, which is " carpentier " in Norman. - Cassell: this name did not change on crossing the channel. We can find Cassels in our area, as in Artois too. - De Baskerville: that name, which became so well known thanks to a literary work, doesn’t ring a bell for us, though it comes from a place which is only a few kilometres from Pont-de-l’Arche. That name is Boscherville. In old Norman, at the time of the Conquest of England, they used to say "Bâsquerville", which is not far from the English name. - De Burgh: comes from "Dubourg". - Forester : comes from Forestier. A contracted version of the name is 7

Foster. - Gardner: comes from " gardinier ", gardener in English. - Grant: may come from " Grand " or " Legrand ". - Gurney: what can still be heard in that name is " Gournay ", the town (Seine-Maritime). - Langley: the meaning is obvious. It's quite amusing to see that some men who wore that name carried it back to England, thus preserving it. - Major: come from " Majeur ", which comes from a Latin word meaning " grand ". In French, it gave the name maire. - Mandeville: this name, which became known thanks to an English economist, immediately makes us think of a village on the Neubourg plateau, not far from Amfreville-la-Campagne, called the same. This word is derived from two Latin words meaning " big estate ". - Mercer: comes from " Mercier ", an old trade which was similar to dressmaker. - Montgomery: we know that name quite well, thanks to the general liberator who took part in the 1944 landing. He landed on his ancestors’ native land, who had landed with William the Conqueror in 1066, under the name of " Mont-Gomméry ". Besides, our English and American friends, who have often vey fond of history, remembered William the Conqueror when they landed in 1944 and wrote theses words on the war memorial in Saint-Laurent-Colleville (Calvados): " We, who were vanquished by William, have liberated the Conqueror’s Motherland ". Theses words are quite interesting because they expressed an ironically satisfied but quite sedate feeling, of the one who has cleared an insult, as well as the tender wink of the one who fully acknowledges that the Normans were his true ancestors... As a matter of fact, it is typically British! - Morton: may come from " Mortain ", a town located in Normandy (Orne). - Porter: comes from " Portier ". - Russel: comes from " Roussel ", which is quite common a name in this area. - Turner: comes from " Tourneur ", which in the Pont-de-l’Arche area also was Letourneur, and Tournier, in French. - Vernon: certainly comes from the town (Eure) which is the gate to Normandy coming from France (Paris). 8

Germanic names existing under different forms in English, Norman and French

- Baldwin: very much like Boudewin, king of Belgium ; this name is similar to Baudouin, which means bald. - Garner: became Garnier, in French (see Warner). - Walter: similar in French (first) name Gautier. - Warner: became Warnier in Norman and Garnier in French. Garnier and Warnier come from a germanic word whose roots are " wari " (protection) and " hari " (army). - Warrel: in France, that germanic name exists as Garreau and Garrel. _______________

Conclusion As a conclusion, we have seen that there are quite a lot of similarities between Norman and English and these have stabilised in spite of gone by centuries. It is even surprising to see to what extent English has evolved in its Latin trend in spite of its Germanic roots, which stands proof of it great flexibility. Nowadays, that language is known for the richness of its Latin-rooted vocabulary, which it has integrated, but we don’t know so much of the Norman accent which it still retains. Besides, we don’t really know much about that oral accent, for it has been a few generations since the Normans, at least most of us, gave up our ancestors’ language. But, the other reasons for our being ignorant of the things we share with our English neighbours (as the crow flies, we are less than 200 kilometres from London) is the way we picture the Norman language. We usually look upon it in quite a negative way. It is held as a country dialect spoken by people of little education. In fact, the last people to speak or to have spoken it, were the least concerned with and the most remote from Parisian, academic, 9

and professional culture. Not that they were uneducated, but they carried on oral knowledge transmitted by word of mouth, like the fathers of oral knowledge in present-day Africa. But our vision, which, like our school-system, has inherited a theory valuing the writing more than the oral, tends to look down upon that popular, dynamic culture, for it keeps evolving. But time ironically catches up with us, without our being aware of it: the people who speak with a working class accent are in fact very close to the language spoken by our ancestors, therefore very close to English, whereas that language used to be the one spoken by noble people, the one that used to be the example to fellow. Meanwhile, we got a thoroughly different idea of the language we had better speak, because of the influence of the French, our new masters, after the Anglo-Norman defeat in 1204. However, it is interesting to see that, eight centuries later, the Norman language has not altogether been vanquished by French, though the latter has developed and constructed itself as an international language. So, fellow-citizens, do speak English! And don’t tell me, a Norman, that it is a foreign language!

Bibliographie. - Barbe L., Le Dictionnaire du patois normand en usage à Louviers et aux alentours, Saint-Aubin-lès-Elbeuf : Page de Garde, 1998, 1re éd. en 1877, 127 p. - Hughes G., A History of English Words, London: Blackwell Publisher, 2000, 430 p. - Pluquet F., Le Roman de Rou et des Ducs de Normandie, 2 vol., Rouen : Édouard Frère, 1827, 414 p. - Walter H., Honni soit qui mal y pense, l’incroyable histoire d’amour entre le Français et l’Anglais, Paris : Robert Laffont, 2001, 364 p. 10

When English historians set out in quest of the first castle erected in Les Damps (Pontde-l’Arche in the 9th century). If we share a part of our history with our English friends they, contrary to all expectations, have a monopoly on the investigation of the medieval history of Pont-de-l’Arche and Les Damps. Quite a few professors and students from Manchester more particularly, have shown an interest in the archaeological aspect, and started studying the first fort built on the banks of the river Seine in the ninth century by Charles the Bald, king of the Francs. Set up in order to resist Scandinavian invasions, which reached Paris via the Seine, that fort defended a bridge which was used as a barrier. We call it the castle of Les Damps, after the name of the left bank village, later on, became the location of a part of the city of Pont-de-l’Arche.

The English historians were greatly interested in that fort, at the other end of the present bridge, particularly, as they might have wanted to find some more root to Saxon fortifications there. There were several reports of the digs which were carried out here. - DEARDEN Brian, HILL David, " Charles the Bald’s Bridgework at Pîtres (Eure): Recent Investigations at Pont-de-l’Arche and Igoville ", in Haute-Normandie archéologique, vol. 1, 1988, p. 62-68. - DEARDEN Brian, " Igoville (Eure) : Le Fort ", in Archéologie médiévale, tome XX, Paris : CNRS, Caen : Publication du centre de recherches archéologiques médiévales, 1990, p. 413 and 414. - DEARDEN Brian, " Igoville (Eure), Le Fort : Charles le Chauve’s Fort on Seine ", in Archéologie médiévale, t. 22, Paris : CNRS, 1995, p. 297. - HASSAL Jane et HILL David, " Pont-de-l’Arche, Frankish Influence on the West Saxon Burg ", The Archaeological Journal, vol. 127, London : The Royal Archaeological Institute. One student wrote a more general thesis on Charles the Bald’s river defences. We can consult a short account of his investigation thanks to an article: - COUPLAND Simon, " The Fortified Bridge of Charles the Bald ", in Journal of Medieval History, 17, 1, mars 1991, p. 1-12. We have also found trace of several reports by Caroll Gillmor, though we couldn’t find where this scholar came from very precisely:

Plan des fortifications des Damps au IXe siècle (A.L.)

- GILLMOR Caroll, " Charles the Bald’s Fortified Bridge : Strategic Planning or Random Happening ", conference paper abstract, Haskins society, Houston, 1989, in The Anglo-Norman Anonymous, 8, 2 may 1990, p. 2. - GILLMOR Caroll, " The Logistic of Fortified Bridge of the Seine under Charles the Bald ", in Anglo-Norman Studies, vol. XI, 1986, voir p. 87106.



William of Pont-de-l’Arche : a courtier in Henry 1st Beauclerc and Stephen of Blois’ courts.

Richard the Lion heart and Pont-de-l’Arche Richard the Lion heart, both Duke of Normandy and King of England since 1189, was quite influential in Pont-de-l’Arche. The king of France was getting more and more threatening, so Richard reinforced the defences of our town in 1195, a little before ChâteauGaillard started being built. As a matter of fact, those two towns defended the gate of Normandy the Seine was from the French army. To that purpose, Richard the Lion heart took back direct command of the town by exchanging Pont-de-l’Arche for Conteville (near Beuzeville) from the monks of Jumièges abbey (near Rouen). Then he could keep up the walls and the bridge of the city, which defended the way south of Rouen from, mainly, that foremost French position Vaudreuil castle was. Besides, he also gave the necessary funds for the building of the Cistercian abbey of Bonport, two kilometres from Pont-de-l’Arche. The idea was to emphasize the local (and river) resources by the monks and their men’s work. The trade on the Seine and the maintenance of its banks account for the considerable number of abbeys raised on the banks of that river linking Paris to the sea. But there is more than that, the running of mills, farming, and tax-payment, favoured the economical situation of Normandy and, consequently, the sovereign power. Lastly, the monks, in some way, were in charge of the management at that time, because of the diplomatic role they had with foreign parts.

A few charters mention one William of Pont-de-l’Arche, who was the sheriff of Hampshire during most of Henry 1st Beauclerc’s reign (from 1100 to 1135), and also sheriff of Wiltshire, Berkshire, … He was in Normandy by the side of the king, about 1127-1129. He married Robert Mauduit’s daughter, which allowed him to become chamberlain (in charge of the royal apartments), unless he owed that position of his brother Osbert. Osbert had a role to play for the Norman Treasure as a tax-collector in England. It has been said that William was the chief-treasurer during the last years of Henry’s reign. He was certainly in charge of the Treasure in Winchester when Stephen of Blois arrived (he reigned from 1135 to 1154), and he was chamberlain under the latter, though he left that charge for some time under Matilda (1135). He owned land in the south of England and a stone house in London. He died about 1145. Did William come from the city whose name he wore, or was he a captain of the right bank fort, in charge of the city for the king? Is there any link between the wealth coming from the taxes received under and on the bridge in Pont-de-l’Arche and that man’s taxation office? We can’t put forward much, in the absence of documents. Nevertheless, the chamberlain charge, the taxation and political offices which were (or might have been) entrusted with William of Pont-de-l’Arche, show that the king really trusted him, except for Matilda. Can’t we consider, then, that he gained that trust mostly by assuming river, taxation, military control of Pont-de-l’Arche? Would we, in those few royal documents, have the name of one of the first governors of the city, or that of a captain of the fort?

______ GILLINGHAM Richard, Richard cœur de Lion, Paris : Noêsis, 1996, p. 338-339.


LE PATOUREL, John, Feudal Empires Norman and Plantagenet, Londres : The Hambleton press, 1984, 410 p.


Pont-de-l’Arche and the hundred Years War: 31 years of English occupation.

The hundred Years Wars was a long succession of battles (interrupted by numerous pauses) which opposed different French cliques to English monarchy. At stake in those conflicts was the throne of France and command over vast territories which, later on, constituted our country. The first fights started in 1339, following Edward III’s claims to the throne of France as well as being the king of England. In 1346, he launched armed troops and rode from the Cotentin to Paris, and then from Paris to Calais. He failed particularly when he arrived at Pont-del’Arche, which he wanted to capture by surprise. Nevertheless, on the continent, they were tearing the country apart because of influential conflicts, and more of less betrayed alliances, and so on… And, to make matter even worse, the royal family was torn apart as well: King Charles VI having attacks of insanity which sometimes lasted for a long time, the French power stood somewhat vacant. His son Charles VII was still very young. He was but the Dauphin. A vendetta was confronting the Armagnacs, who were very close to Charles VII, with the Burgundians, that’s to say those who were close to the Duke of Burgundy, around Jean sans Peur, the Dauphin’s uncle. Taking advantage of the discord, Henry V of England landed in August 1417 in the estuary of the river Touques (Normandy). He conquered the whole of Normandy, including the present department of Eure from April 1418 to December 1419. After taking possession of Louviers, Henry V King of England arrived at Pont-de-l’Arche on the 29th of June 1418 at the head of 10.000 men. Having already taken Harlfeur, he wanted to control the 15

river Seine downstream of Rouen, before attacking that city. He encamped his troops between the forest and Pont-de-l’Arche, and he put up Bonport abbey. Jean Malet, lord of Graville (near Le Havre nowadays) and captain of Pont-de-l’Arche garrison, remained loyal to Dauphin Charles VII by refusing to give away the keys of the town. Henry V still had to surround the city and have over 2.000 French soldiers beat the retreat, for they had been waiting for the English on the other side of the river (thus providing the town with supplies). On the 4th of July, the Duke of Cornwall sailed across the Seine with eight ships, that’s to say about sixty soldiers and a few guns, and reached a small island (Bonport or Saint-Pierre) from where he could shoot at the French. The latter were so impressed that they scattered away. A thousand English soldiers sailed across the river, followed, on the next day (5th of July) by the Duke of Clarence with 4.000 soldiers. The city and castle of Pont-de-l’Arche were then besieged from both banks of the Seine. Jean Malet held his positions and sent several messages to his supporters. The ones in Rouen, in spite of a treaty of alliance signed on the 5th of June 1418, did not interfere… Jean sans Peur, who was in command of Pontoise and Chartres, forbade any reinforcement to be sent in Normandy on behalf of the government (the Armagnacs) in Paris. There were a few more skirmishes in front of the castle on the right bank. But, being cut off, Jean de Graville had to give up and surrendered on the 19th of July, stating that he, Pierre de Rouville (his second in command) and a thousand of their men, could go free under protection of the King of England (until the 25th of July). The English then captured Pont-de-l’Arche, making an opening in Burgundian defences, and fell back on Rouen. It must be said to Jean de Graville’s credit that he remained loyal to Charles VII. Being cut off, he opposed both the English and Jean sans Peur who relied on the middleclass merchants in Paris and lived on the trading on the river Seine and its tributaries. Besides, there was a suspicion of financial collusion between Jean sans Peur and the king of England. However, Charles VII thanked Jean de Graville by allowing him 200 pounds per month (for himself and 150 men), and by appointing him chief-master of the cross-bowmen. Charles VII could all the more reward the captain of Pont-de-l’Arche as, if all his subjects had remained as loyal to him as 16

Jean de Graville, Henry V of England could not have proclaimed himself the king of France, following the Treaty of Troyes (1420). Meanwhile, what could be strategic role of Pont-de-l’Arche be? We may consider that control on the supplies was quite important for, if the English intended to besiege Rouen, they had better control the supplies which could be conveyed via our city, either on the Seine, or on the right bank of the river (with the towing of boats under its bridge) and above it. Besides, once Pont-de-l’Arche fell, it wasn’t long before Rouen did as well. The collected taxes couldn’t be disregarded either. But, on the whole, command of the river of the Seine was essential to the moves of an army, and their equipment and supplies. In 1420, Thomas Holgill became the supplier of provisions in Normandy for several places on the river, particularly Pont-de-l’Arche. He also provided supplies for the English troops in Paris. So, on the 20th of February 1420, another captain of Pont-de-l’Arche, Johan Falstof, was entrusted with dispatching a convoy of wheat and barley on the river from Rouen to the Bastille of Paris. His mission was also to keep a close eye on ships suspected of carrying supplies for the French, and, if necessary, to requisition or destroy them. For danger was still around. Charles VII’s French soldiers counterattacked, particularly in Verneuil in 1420. But if you speak of river command, you have to speak of armed troops being there and in command. Johan Beauchamp, another captain, and his troops, were inspected in 1425 by the King of England’s commissioners. That same year, on October 8th, orders against the soldiers who had deserted their unit were sent to knight Johan Kigley, bailiff of Rouen and so William Crafford, his lieutenant and captain of Pont-de-l’Arche. How many men were there in the garrison? From 20 to 110 men (especially in the last years) in the English period. Year 1429 was representative: 10 men in arms and 30 bowmen on horseback, 10 men on arms, and 30 bowmen on foot. Riding troops went across, staying quite close by though; the other stayed in the fort continuously and they could also get down to repair work such as the bridge in 1435. 17

The captains of the English garrison in Pont-de-l’Arche from 1419 to 1447. 1419: Amauri le Coq, " capitaine du pont " ; 1421: Maurice Bron [= Brown ?], " capitaine de la ville et du château pour le roi d’Angleterre " ; 1429-1432: Robert of Willoughby, " capitaine du Pont-de-l’Arche " ; 1422: Thomas Maitreson, " capitaine de la ville et du château " ; 1422-1429: Johan of Beauchamp, " capitaine de Pont-de-l’Arche " ; 1433: Johan Talbot ; 1434: le comte d’Arundell, " capitaine de la ville et du château " ; 1435-1437: Robert of Willoughby, " capitaine du Pont-de-l’Arche" ; 1440-1443: le cardinal de Luxembourg, " capitaine de Pont-de-l’Arche "; 1443 […]: Adam Hilton, " capitaine de Pont-de-l’Arche " ; 1446-1447 […]: le duc d’York, " gouverneur de France et de Normandie, capitaine de Pont-de-l’Arche " et Thomas Mulso, lieutenant; 1448: Fauquemberg. From a more diplomatic point of view, Pont-de-l’Arche welcomed the States of Normandy in 1432, 1437, 1438 and 1439, and also a few Anglo-French conferences (without any favourable consequence). The French had pulled themselves together, particularly when, in 1435, the Armagnacs made peace with the Burgundians. In 1441, Évreux was liberated. The English garrison of Pont-de-l’Arche was increased and entrusted with first-rank figures sometimes, such as the Duke of York. On November 30th 1440, Henry V gathered an assembly of leading inhabitants from the city and the surrounding area, in Pont-del’Arche, in order to stop the actions of resistance and the forward move of the French troops who had temporarily seized Louviers. In 1444, the places of Verneuil, Vernon, Château-Gaillard and Pont-Audemer were liberated in their turn. The king of France, Charles VII, wanted to get Rouen back in 1449. He contracted his troops on Louviers and Pont-de-l’Arche most certainly in order to make the way for the troops, equipment and supplies to come easier. And, contrary to the arrival of the English in 18

the English attacks ceased and consequently the Hundred Years War. However, since then, English monarchs have retained the title of king of France.

Pont-de-l’Arche, the French wanted to reconquer the town, not by force but by a ruse, according to the chronicles of the Middle Ages. A merchant of Louviers, who used to go though Pont-de-l’Arche to go and sell his goods in Rouen, assumed a chief part in a somewhat unusual strategy. At the time when the merchant was supposed to have the gate opened by the guards, a few French men would lie hidden next to the entrance to the castle of Limaie, on the right bank, in front of the bridge, and they would wait for the first opportunity to slip into the fortifications. Meanwhile, 4 to 500 horsemen would be wait on the edge of the forest on the left bank. Then, on the 13th of May 1449, according to he Léon de Duranville’s words: “The merchant, on his way through Pont-de-l’Arche bridge as usual, asked the gatekeeper to open the gate very early the next morning, promising him a reward. At daybreak, he knocked to awaken the gatekeeper. The latter was at first quite apprehensive at seeing two men coming out of the inn. But he felt reassured when he was given confirmation that they were two people from Louviers. Any favour deserves its reward. The merchant dropped a few coins and, taking advantage of the man’s posture, killed him. The noise startled those who were in the castle and one of them, coming down in his shirt, tried to lift the drawbridge. There were two drawbridges, one though which you could have access to the bulwark, which was in the besiegers’ hand, and the other, whose lifting could still save the place. The merchant dashed forward, and put that second enemy to death. They still had to give one more assault yet. In the twinkling of an eye, they went across the bridge and arrived at the city gate. Everyone was still asleep. One English soldier only defended the gate bravely for quite a long time. The other were all taken prisoners, in particular Lord Fauquemberg who had just arrived during the night… the place being in the hands of Brézé’s French men, they opened one of the gates leading out to the forest, then the bailiff of Évreux and the Lord of Magny came into the place. That event cost eight to the English men their lives.” The fall of Pont-de-l’Arche aroused the Duke of Somerset’s fury (he being the governor of Rouen), for the way towards Rouen was now open to the king of France. Rouen fell soon after that in 1450 (and also continental Normandy) into the hands of the king of France. In 1475,

- BODINIER Bernard (dir.), L’Eure de la préhistoire à nos jours, Saint-Jeand’Angély : J.-M. Bordessoules, 2001, 495 p., ISBN 2-913471-28-5 - CHARPILLON L.-E., CARESME Anatole, Dictionnaire historique de toutes les communes du département de l’Eure, Les Andelys : Delcroix, 1868, 960 p. - DELABOS Christian, La Seine et les opérations militaires à la fin du Moyen Age, mémoire de maîtrise soutenu à Rouen sous la direction d’Alain Sadourny en 1991, 248 p. - DEMURGER Alain, Temps de crises, temps d’espoirs : XIVe-XVe siècle, Paris : Le Seuil, 1990, 380 p., collection points histoire, ISBN 2-02-012221-9 - DURANVILLE Léon de, Essai archéologique et historique sur la ville du Pont-del’Arche et sur l’abbaye Notre-Dame-de-Bonport, auto produit, 1856, 231 p.



Sources :

The British camp during the First World War: the Royal Flying Corps in Les Damps and Pont-de-l’Arche. During the First World War, the whole area between Pont-del’Arche and Les Damps was occupied by the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Air Force’s ancestor. Nowadays, a large part of the village of Les Damps is still known as the Camp. That camp was used for the repair of the engines of the First World War planes which gave the English army such fame. Several hundred British soldiers settled on the premises of a shoe-factory (Georges Prieur’s Sons), the present Bosch’s factory, and covered a vast area with concrete slabs in order to build wooden buildings to accommodate the troops. Those slabs were also used to run the planes and test their engines. However, it doesn’t seem that the planes actually took off either from Les Damps or Pont-de-l’Arche. It’s cheerful to report that the British soldiers had a good time in the cafés in Pont-de-l’Arche. To be anecdotal, it was the first time the people in the vicinity saw men in “skirts”, that’s to say the Scottish soldiers. The former community-hall in Pont-de-l’Arche was also used as a place of entertainment by the troops and the locals as a journalist wrote in L’Industriel de Louviers on the 20th of January 1917: “Pont-de-l’Arche. – Cinema Concert. On Sunday 4th January at half past six p.m., the Royal Flying Corps in Pont-de-l’Arche was offering their soldiers a cinema night in the aviation camp. A symphonic orchestra delighted the audience. Several pieces of the repertoire were very much applauded, among which: various Irish and English tunes. On Monday night, the commander and the officers had invited a great number of people from Pont-de-l’Arche, who really enjoyed watching the famous English film: the Battle of the Somme, in witch all our Tommies rivalled in spirit and bravery. Those who entertaining nights ended with the strains of La Marseillaise and God save the King.” 21

Let’s not forget that the British contributed largely in making football popular, and we got very fond of it during the Great War thanks to them. L’Industriel de Louviers on the 10th of August 1918: “Pont-de-l’Arche. – Sport Day. On Monday, the Royal Flying Corps officers organized the annual Sports Day. There were games of all kinds and the day was a success in spite of the rain which kept falling except at rare intervals. At night, the concert in the cinema-house was very much appreciated, and ended with the British national anthem.” Beyond the sporting relationship, the presence of British troops allowed them to forge links to the locals. L’Elbeuvien on the 7th February 1917 wrote this article: “The meadows, after being flooded by the rising of the Seine lately, are now frozen and many people have taken to skating on them. One soldier of the RFC was recently the victim of an accident. After an unfortunate fall, ha was picked up in such a state that he had to be taken to a hospital in Rouen straight away.” The article on the 1st June 1918 tells of a tragic but nevertheless beautiful moment: “In our issue of May 11th, we wrote that a young lady from Pont-de-l’Arche had fallen into a deep well. Her desperate father immediately called out for help to a few British soldiers who were having a walk nearly, and they, without hesitation, tried to find ways to rescue her. Considering that old derelict well was badly in need of repair, the rescue was operated in very difficult, dangerous conditions. A special mention to soldier P. Carnwall’s courage, for he offered to go down the well, with rudimentary emergency tools and, without caring for his life, after a rather long stay the bottom of the well in icy-cold water, after a few attempts, finally managed to bring back the drowned girl’s body. He could be brought out then, with much difficulty. He risked being crushed by the ramshackle curbstone of the well, and drowned if the rope broke, which in fact did at one time. Indeed, this brave man would deserve an honorary medal from the British military authorities.” Other articles, still are very instructive, such as the one on the 12th of September 1917, witch tells us that “the people in Pont-del’Arche and the surrounding villages, who had no doctor, were looked after by an English Major, who devoted himself to his patients any time 22

and often for nothing. That Major is the holder of several decorations he won in his long military career.” One can’t help admiring the mutual aid between the British soldiers and the locals whose doctors had been called. So, without idealizing what the relationships were at that time, we can assert that the links uniting the Normans and the British were indeed rich in their diversity. It seems that the Tommies were very helpful to our ancestors – many of our men being on the battle front – and they gave them a noticeable welcome, all the more so as their presence was a source of additional profit. Then, if the English camp was never strategically important, nevertheless it developed links such as a few Englishmen staying at Pont-de-l’Arche and Les Damps, after the camp closed. So there were new inhabitants, with unusual trades and names which didn’t sound French (or did they?): Delauney William, Warren Sidney, Turvey Alfred, camp-supervisors…

William Turner (1775-1851) and Dawson Turner (1775-1858) in Pont-de-l’Arche. During a journey he made from Rouen to Paris, William Turner, the famous painter, happened to come to Pont-de-l’Arche. A few kilometres before he arrived in our city, he stopped on the heights of Igoville (see the picture) and wanted to paint the road to Paris across the Seine, then across Pont-de-l’Arche, before cutting through the forest of Bord (you can see the cutting drawn by the road on the distant hill). The artist deliberately decided not to paint the three mills on the bridge, which he had known since 1829 though (when he draw a sketch then), giving that nevertheless picturesque painting a somewhat commonplace looks. Its theme is indeed the journey, during a halt, near the stagecoach. As for Dawson Turner, a historian, botanist and banker, he made a few comments on the town: “Though deprived of its citadel, Pont-de-l’Arche retains to the present day its walls, flanked by circular towers; and its bridge, which is the lowest stone bridge down the Seine, is a noble one of twenty-two arches, through which the river at a considerable depth below, rolls with extraordinary rapidity. In the length of this bridge are some mills, which are turned by the stream; and the current is moderated under one of the arches, by a lock placed on the down-stream side, into which barges pass, and so proceed with security; The bridge, with its mills, forms a very picturesque object”. Sources. - cf. http://www.galerieneffegravurehonfleur.com - Turner Dawson, Account of a Tour in Normandy, vol. II, part 4 out of 5, letter XXX, August 1818.



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