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Merdrignac (Municipality, Côtes-d'Armor, France)


Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: cotes-d'armor | merdrignac | merdrigneg | lion: red (crowned) |
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[Flag of Merdrignac]

Flag of Merdrignac - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 1 October 2005

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Presentation of Merdrignac

The municipality of Merdrignac (in Breton, Medrigneg; 3,092 inhabitants) is located in central Brittany, 50 km west of Rennes and 30 km east of Loudéac.
Merdrignac was most probably named after its founder, the Gallo-Roman Maternus. The final ac comes from the Gaulish suffix -acos. In the Gallo-Roman times, the early parish of Merdrignac included the villages of Merdrignac, Illifaut and Trémorel. Merdrignac was located on the main Roman way linking Condate (Rennes) to Vorgium (Carhaix), as shown by the milestone found there.

A lord of Merdrignac was already present in the XIth century: this lord, named Guy and also lord of la Harsouinaie, ceded the St. Brigitte of Kildare priory in Merdrignac to the canons from the St. Geneviève abbey in Paris, which had a settlement in Paimpont, provided they would praise the lord for the rest of his soul in perpetuity. The name of the family and of the domain was then written Merdrinniaco (1118) and Merdrenniaco (1164). The current written form, Merdrignac, appeared as soon as 1255, but several variants were used until the XVth century (Medrignac, Medreignac, Merdreigniac, etc.).
In the beginning of the XIIIth century, Robert, Viscount of Merdrignac, married Denise Goyon de Matignon; they made settlement to the abbey of Saint-Aubin-des-Bois in 1252, 1257 and 1259. Denise was recognized by the monks as the patron of the abbey. In 1294, the heir of Merdrignac married Jean of Beaumanoir and the domain was transferred to this family.
In 1463, the Duke of Retz founded a market hall in Merdrignac, which boosted the development of the city. On 22 February 1724, Prince Joseph Stuart, first cousin of the last Stuart pretender to the throne of England, died aged 60 in the village of Kerilvala.

During the French Revolution, Merdrignac was attacked three times by the Chouans (31 May and 4 June 1795, 24 October 1799). The Chouans were farmers revolted against the French Republic, active from 1793 to 1800; they were named after their first leader Jean Cottereau, aka Jean Chouan. The insurrection started in Lower Maine and spread to the neighbouring areas, including Brittany.

Source: InfoBretagne website

Ivan Sache, 1 October 2005

Flag of Merdrignac

The flag of Merdrignac, as reported by Hervé Prat, is yellow with a red crowned lion in canton.
The flag is derived from the municipal arms (Brian Timms): D'or à un lion couronné de gueules (Or a lion rampant crowned gules).
Timms says these are the arms of the family of Goyon, which can be seen on a seal dated 1219. However, GASO gives the arms of Goyon as De gueules au lion d'or (Gules a lion or) - but gives for Merdrignac the same arms as Timms.

The Goyon-Matignon family - most probably related to the Goyon de Matignon family mentioned above - played an important role in the history of the Principality of Monaco. In 1715 the Grimaldi heiress married Jacques-François de Goyon-Matignon, from an old Breton family. He assumed the name and arms of Grimaldi.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 1 October 2005