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Château-du-Loir is a former French commune, located in the Sarthe department in the Pays de la Loire region, populated by 4,614 Castelorians. It is part of the new town of Montval-sur-Loir.
On the borders of historic Anjou, and Maine, Château-du-Loir is located on the edge of Maine Angevin, near Touraine. The privileged geographical situation of the canton attracted many envies throughout history. The kings of France and England fought over this stronghold, the capital of a senechaussee of 78 parishes (deanery attached to the diocese of Le Mans), until 1789.
This importance was due above all to its geographical location, which made it a victim of the rivalry between the crowns of France and England.
- The first known lord is Aimon / Ha (i) mon le Barbu (c. 980-c. 1030), also known as de La Roche-Guyon, husband of Hildeburge de Bellême, sister of bishop Avesgaud. Their children were: Gervais (Ier) said of Bellême, of Château-du-Loir or of La Roche-Guyon (around 1007-1067), bishop of Mans then archbishop of Reims and regent of France for the young Philippe I; and Robert Brochard, sire of Château-du-Loir, born around 1010, father himself of Gervais (II), also lord of Mayet and La Cour-Aimon (Cohémon in Vouvray-sur-Loir), † around 1095. When Gervais II, lord of Château-du-Loir, died without male descendants around 1095 (in fact, he had had a son, Gervais, ecclesiastic, dean of the chapter of Le Mans), the châtellenie of Château-du-Loir passed to his daughter Mathilde, † around 1110, countess of Maine by her marriage to Hélie de La Flèche below. Then it was successively possessed by Geoffrey V le Bel dit Plantagenêt count of Anjou and of Maine (he was descended from the former lords of Château-du-Loir by his maternal grandparents: Hélie du Maine and Mathilde de Château-du-Loir who 'we have just met; he died in 1151), and by the kings of England of whom Geoffrey was the stock, from his son Henry II to John without Land.
- The city was taken over by Philippe Auguste around 1199 and was given to Guillaume des Roches, Seneschal of Anjou, Lord of Longué-Jumelles, Sablé-sur-Sarthe and La Suze, who in 1219 founded the Abbey of Bonlieu. Queen Bérangère, widow of Richard the Lionheart, to whom Philippe Auguste had ceded the county of Maine in exchange for possessions located in Normandy and which constituted her dower, ceded to the Seneschal of Anjou Guillaume des Roches, all her rights as dowager countess du Maine, both in Château-du-Loir and in the forest of Bercé.
- While her older sister Jeanne des Roches passes Sablé to her husband Amaury I of Craon, Clémence des Roches, daughter of Seneschal Guillaume, transmits Château-du-Loir, Mayet, Louplande and La Suze to her husband Geoffroy VI of Châteaudun. Their daughter Jeanne de Châteaudun married Jean de Montfort-l'Amaury, hence Béatrice de Montfort x Robert IV de Dreux and de Braine, parents of:. Jean II de Dreux, hence the following of the counts of Dreux lords of Château-du-Loir, the third son of Jean II being the count Pierre de Dreux below; . and Jeanne de Dreux, countess of Braine and lady of La Suze, wife of Jean IV de Roucy, from where: .. the following of the counts of Roucy and of Braine; .. and Béatrice de Roucy Dame de La Suze, who married Amaury III de Craon, great-grandson of Jeanne des Roches Dame de Sablé and Amaury Ier de Craon above.
- Precisely, the branch resulting from Jeanne des Roches had kept a sixth of Château-du-Loir, and the heir in the first half of the fourteenth century was a younger son of Amaury III, William I the Great of Craon, viscount of Chateaudun. He exchanged his share of Château-du-Loir with his distant cousin Pierre Ier de Dreux, son of Count Jean II above, for Domart-en-Ponthieu - another stronghold of the Dreux which came from the marriage in 1210 of Robert III de Dreux with Aénor of St-Valery-sur-Somme - so that the count of Dreux can completely unite the barony of Château and sell it advantageously.
From succession to succession, Château-du-Loir went several times to the Crown: in May 1337 to Philippe de Valois, who bought it 31,000 livres from Pierre Ier comte de Dreux above, and declared it a barony "of also good condition than Maine County ”. Given in prerogative to Louis I, Duke of Anjou and grandson of Philippe VI, it is reunited with the Crown for the second time by Louis XI.
The Hundred Years War will not spare the fortified city which was pillaged and destroyed by the English. In the 16th century, Château-du-Loir would take off again and become an important center, for the time, for the manufacture of fabrics, spinning mills and tanneries.
When the generality of Tours was created in the sixteenth
century, Château-du-Loir, due to its geographical and historical
location closely linked to Anjou and Maine, became the seat of a
particular government with a governor and a lieutenant of the king,
Château-du-Loir was before 1789 the capital of a senechaussee which
extended its jurisdiction over 78 parishes, an election on which 83
parishes depended, a water control, salt loft, recipe for pruning ,
tobacco warehouse which made it one of the most important border
towns between the provinces of Maine and Anjou.
In 1790, when the French departments were created, the commune of Château-du-Loir, like other towns in northern Anjou, such as Le Lude and La Flèche, was attached to the new department of Sarthe. It was the district capital from 1790 to 1795.
At the time of the Revolution, Château-du-Loir lost more than 50% of its population.
With the Revolution, Château-du-Loir marked time. Even a certain decline set in, which did not end until the 19th century with the appearance of the railway and the creation of a railway depot, giving Château-du-Loir and its surroundings new economic vigor. The new activity will then allow small industries and artisans to develop their trade.
We cannot speak of the history of Château-du-Loir without recalling that during the brilliant Renaissance period, men of letters from the Pléiade met there: Ronsard de Couture, who was prior of Saint-Guingalois (l church) from 1569 to 1585, Racan de Bueil, the Lazarre brothers, Antoine de Baïf de Mangé, Joachim du Bellay and even sometimes Jacques Peletier du Mans.
We must also cite, for the sake of memory, certain glorious or sadly famous figures originating from Château-du-Loir or having marked this place, such as:
Siméon-François Berneux, born May 14, 1814 in Château-du-Loir and died March 7, 1866 in Seoul, Korea. Priest of the Foreign Missions of Paris, ordained bishop in 1854. He is one of the martyrs of Korea, beatified on October 6, 1968 in Rome by Paul VI. He was canonized on May 6, 1984 by John Paul II.
Pierre Le Monnier, born September 6, 1814 in Le Lude and died January 11, 1895. This committed man, doctor of the poor, republican at heart, persecuted by the regime of Napoleon III, was deported as an enemy of the Second Empire and imprisoned in Mostaganem ( Algerian city then part of the colonies). Returning to Château-du-Loir in 1870, after the release of political prisoners of the Second Empire by the Third Republic, he became representative of the canton at the General Council and then in 1871 vice-president of this assembly, and in 1872 he was elected mayor of Château-du-Loir. Twice elected deputy for Sarthe (constituency of Saint-Calais; from 1876 to 1882), he was elected senator in January 18825. During his various mandates he worked hard to revitalize the canton and the region.
Pierre Loutrel, born March 5, 1916 in Château-du-Loir and better known under the name of “Pierrot le Fou”. First French public enemy and one of the leaders of the Tractions Avant gang. An opportunist murderer, he was successively a member of the French Gestapo during the German Occupation from 1941 to 1944, executor of dirty works for the Germans, while at the same time he settled his accounts with the underworld of the time for the benefit of his own network. Having become cumbersome for the German Gestapo, and feeling the wind turning, he decided to join the French Resistance by integrating the Morhange network. He was then talked about during the execution of a German officer on the terrace of a Toulouse café. At the Liberation, he joined organized crime and forged a reputation as a “caïd”. He formed the “Front Traction gang” aboard which he led his robberies. He died in 1946 in a robbery.