The 16th century
|Blavet, like most other cities in the duchy, profited from the change of the social structure. Small landowners became more and more numerous and craftsmen and small shopkeepers populated the suburbs of the town.
In 1553, a new chapel dedicated to St Pierre, took the place of the romanesque chapel nearly in ruins. It was a small, sober and elegant building.
This chapel was pulled down in 1859 to be replaced by the present St Pierre 's, which keeps some of the old statues, particularly a Christ-with-bonds, and a St Pierre.
The port installations of Blavet remained very rudimentary in spite of the noticeable increase in the traffic. A dry - stone causeway called "the great causeway", a few meters long, jutted into the sea .
Low tonnage boats ran aground on the beach while the bigger ones anchored and unloaded their cargoes into launches plying between them and the coast .
The Driasker bay that offered a well sheltered stretch of water next to the carpenters and caulkers, was inexorably silting up with the mud brought by the Blavet River and mostly with the ballast left by the trading-boats riding at anchor to get their cargoes on board.
The religious wars (1562-1598)
In Lower Brittany, because of the osmosis between the congregations and the numerous low-clergy sharing the same socio-cultural values, Protestantism could hardly settle in. The language spoken there was an additional obstacle to the search of God in the Holy Scriptures. Paradoxically it is from the League that Blavet is going to suffer.
The League in Brittany.
The people of Blavet, devoted to the King, declined the Leaguers' solicitations, particularly those coming from Jerome d'Arradon, the commander of Hennebont fortress, and in their town they welcomed the Seigneur de Coëtcourson, a partisan of Henri IV. The Duke of Mercoeur, came personally to attack Blavet. His troops got exhausted vainly on the retrenchment closing the isthmus, for the whole population was heroically taking part in the defence of the town.
The "guerze" (lament in breton) of Locperan has kept the remembrance of this slaughter. Mercoeur had what was left of the town set on fire (only the new church escaped the flames) then he offered the destroyed city to the Spanish with whom he was hand in glove. Conscious of the exceptional strategic position of Blavet, the Spanish brought an army of six thousand soldiers under the authority of Don Juan del Aguila. The old walls of the land-front were rapidly restored, doubled and completed with a fortress, (el fuerte del Aguila, (the Fort of the Eagle), right where the present citadel is For the people of Blavet, the Spanish occupation, which lasted from 1590 up to 1598, was a very gloomy period of acts of piracy, plunder and fires set to farms and cruelty towards the inhabitants. In the meantime Henri IV was trying to reconquer his kingdom. His military successes and his recent conversion rallied a certain number of leaguers to his party, among them the Arradon family. He was considering the attack of the Spanish entrenched in Blavet and had committed this task to the Marshall de Brissac when fortunately, on May 2nd 1598, the Vervins Treaty putting an end to the hostilities between France and Spain, relieved the people of Blavet from a siege to be and allowed Henri IV to receive a fortress without fighting.
Mercoeur submitted at last to the King who sealed this gesture by the wedding of his legitimised son, César de Vendôme, to the Duke of Mercoeur's daughter. The Duke handed over the government of Brittany to the King, in favour of César.
A peace era seemed to begin, King Henri IV ordered the dismantling of the Fort of the Eagle…
|last modification : 05 26 2005|