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Saint-Marcel (Municipality, Eure, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Saint-Marcel - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 21 November 2011

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Presentation of Saint-Marcel

The municipality of Saint-Marcel (4,969 inhabitants in 2007; 993 ha; municipal website

) is located just west of Vernon.

Saint-Marcel formed in the 10th century, together with Saint-Just, Saint-Pierre d'Autils and Le Goulet, the domain of Longueville (from Latin, longa villa, "the big estate"). The domain subsequently split in individual parishes, once of them being named for a prior Marcel said to have lived there in the 10th century. The only mention of this Marcel, however, is a street named for him in Vernon. At the time, grapevine was grown on the hills surrounding the village, the vineyards being owned by the big Normand abbeys of Bernay, Fécamp and Jumièges.
In 1153, King Louis VII burned down the villages forming Longueville to isolate and seize Vernon, then a main English stronghold controlling access to Normandy, but the attack failed.

Saint-Marcel, then with 800 inhabitants, was industrialized in the late 19th century. Four water mills were recorded in the village in 1860, followed in 1870-1880 by the Steiner dye factory, the Gamder cloth mill and the Legras tannery. Worker's estates were built in 1910, while the Manuca shoe factory was set up in 1936. Population increased up to 1,500.

The main monument in Saint-Marcel is the obelisk known as "Obelisk of the Marshal of Belle-Isle" or "Pyramid of the White Cross" description, photo), built in 1759. The origin of the monument is uncertain.
The first name of the monument recalls that it might have been erected by Charles-Louis-Auguste de Fouquet (1684-1761), lord of Vernon, to commemorate his son, killed in the Battle of Krefeld (1758) during the Seven Years' War. The grandson of Superintendent Nicolas Fouquet, Charles-Louis-Auguste de Fouquet was Peer of France (1748), Governor of the Three-Bishoprics (1727-1761), Marshal of France (1740) and State Secretary of War (1758). He was also Duke of Belle-Isle, therefore its nickname of Marshal of Belle-Isle. A writer estimated by Voltaire, he was elected at the French Academy in 1749.
The second name of the monument alludes to a calvary once located on the same site. Originally erected in the middle of the road, the obelisk was moved to the roadside when the railway bridge was built.

Ivan Sache, 21 November 2011

Flag of Saint-Marcel

The flag of Saint-Marcel (photo) is white with the municipal arms in the center.

The arms of Saint-Marcel are "Per pale, 1. Gules two leopards or, 2a. Argent three cherries slipped proper a bunch of grapes or leaved proper, 2b. Argent a church or roofed sable on a terrace vert".
The leopards represent Normandy. The grapes recall the past vineyards and the church is a faithful representation of the Romanesque church built in the 15th century to replace an earlier wooden church.

Pascal Vagnat, 21 November 2011