THE MIDDLE AGES

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In the beginning, there was Blavet

Situated in the estuary of the river Blavet, it is under the name of Port-Blavet or even "Blavet", that Port-Louis appears in the texts, for example in Redon cartulary in 871. It is also this name that we find on the portulan charts of Catalonia, in the beginning of the XIVth century.

HIGH MIDDLE AGES

In that time of wars of siege, cities were built up on high ground or at the far end of estuaries. That was the situation of the two powerful neighbours of Blavet : Hennebont and Pont-Scorff.

Hennebont (Hen pont : the Old Bridge)
Situated at the bottom of the Blavet river estuary, it was a very early crossroads between the two banks of the river and between the sea and its back-country.
From the VIth to the XIth century a fortified castle controled this passage.
After the dismantling of the castle in 1250, Jean I, Duke of Brittany, had ramparts built to enclose the city on the left bank of the river. Hennebont then became one of the main fortified towns in Brittany and remained the seat of a seneschalsy until the Revolution.

Pont-Scorff
Situated at the far end of the estuary of the river Scorff, it is a "ville-pont" a bridge-town, according to the expression of Claude Nières (Lorient History). It mainly lived out of regional trades.
This city was also the seat of a Knights Templars commandery and later on, of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. Whereas the royal Justice sat in Hennebont, the seignorial Justice (high and low) was in Pont-Scorff.

Blavet, as the maritime outpost of these two cities, shared its population between two parishes placed on both sides of its isthmus :

  • Locpéran, in the North, opening on the natural harbour of the Blavet river
  • Locmalo, in the South, opening on the small Mer de Gâvres.

MIDDLE AGES

zoom sur image jpg 32 KoLocpéran
spelt as well LOCPEZRAN or LOPERAN, probably got his name from a bishop of Cornwall, St Péran who also gave his name to a village in Ille-et-Vilaine.

A romanesque chapel (XIth or the XIIth century, dedicated to saint Péran, (then to saint Pierre since the XIIth century), used to sit on what is now St-Pierre church. A calvary crowned the highest part of the square, where as a fountain and a washing-place could be used in the lowest part. That square was very busy with fairs and markets, shopkeepers and craftsmen.
Below Saint-Pierre square, the Driasker district (en diaz ker : the lower village) was the place where carpenters and caulkers used to build small boats right in front of their houses.


Locmalo
also had its romanesque chapel, first dedicated to saint Malo then to Sainte Marguerite, which later on became Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, until the Revolution, when it was razed to the ground.

Locmalo was a fishermen's village, with thatch-covered houses. It was plundered by Jerome d'Arradon, governor of Hennebont for the League in 1589.

Blavet port was a fishing port, relatively modest, but it was also a trading port, a stopping place for the boats coming from the other ports on the Atlantic Ocean and the Channel, for the Dutch, English or Spanish vessels loaded with wine, grain or fish.It was also a ducal port in which Duke Jean II maintained a "float of galleys" at the end of the XIIIth century.
It was too the den of some adventurous sailors who plundered merchant ships "by force and violence" as can be read in a harsh letter of protest of King Charles VII to the Duke of Brittany

So Blavet was a witness (and sometimes an actor or a victim) of many adventures.

In 890, it was plundered by the Normans who devastated the whole coast from the Vilaine River estuary to Blavet.

B. Duguesclin
Bertrand Duguesclin
M.Dupuy, France-Loisirs 77
In 1342, the people of Blavet saw Amaury de Clisson and Gautier de Manny passing by, commanding a fleet of "120 sails bringing 2000 soldiers belonging to king Edouard of England" " to the help of Jeanne de Montfort (said Jeanne la Flamme), besieged by Charles de Blois in Hennebont.

In 1351, it is from Blavet that Duguesclin embarked for England.

In 1486, Duke François II planned to improve Blavet port and especially its defence by the setting up of a fort hold with cannons. But death did not allow him to fulfill this project.





THE XVTH CENTURY

Brittany became part of the French kingdom.

anne de bretagneIn 1488, at the death of her father François II, Anne, twelve years old, became Duchess of Brittany. It was too good an opportunity for the kingdom of France to take over Brittany.
After the defeat of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, Anne de Bretagne could not but marry Charles VIII in 1491, although she was already married by proxy to Maximilian of Austria.

They had three sons and a daughter, none of them survived.

After becoming a widow, she had to marry Louis XII. They had two daughters, one of them, Claude, was married to François d'Angoulème who was to become King François I.

Anne was very efficient in the management of her duchy. She was an intelligent, educated woman, who knew how to follow policies of conciliation and stabilization which greatly bettered a country ruined by its "depopulations" and the lootings of the previous century.

Anne died in 1514 at the age of thirty eight, but Blavet had become one of the ports of the French kingdom since her marriage with Charles VIII .


The discovery of America

This discovery, by Christopher Columbus in 1492, was followed by many other explorations and increased maritime exchanges with the Baltic sea, the Mediterranean sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. Some fishermen from Port-Louis became bolder and went cod fishing to Newfoundland.

The XVth century ended with these two important events, the real economical and political consequences of which, were to be felt later.


  • sénéchaussée : territory of juridiction of the seneschal, a royal officer in charge with Justice, with the management of Finance, and representing Nobility.

last modification : 05 27 2005