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Maulévrier (Municipality, Maine-et-Loire, France)

Last modified: 2021-07-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Maulévrier - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 25 April 2021

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Presentation of Maulévrier

The municipality of Maulévrier (3,190 inhabitants in 2018; 3,363 ha) is located 10 km south-east of Cholet.

Maulévrier emerged around a church and a priory established at an unknown date and a fortress erected by Fulk the Black, Count of Anjou after the incorporation of the Mauges region into the County of Anjou,before 1027. The first known lords of Maulévrier are Aimery of Maloleporario and his wife Milsend. The conflict that broke out between the lords of Maulévrier and of Chemillé was settled in 1110. The lords of Maulévrier, Renaud and Baudouin, take the English during the conflict that opposed King John LAckland to the Duke of Brittany, Arthur I, and the King of France, Philip II Augustus. At the beginning of the 13th century, Renaud of Maulévrier supported the Viscount of Thouars in a conflict with the King of France, Louis VIII.
During the Hundred Years' War, Wikkiam, son of the lord of Maulévrier, probably died at the battle of Poitiers in 1356. In 1360, following the Treaty of Brétigny, Renaud of Maulévrier was one of the hostages handed over to the English to obtain the release of the King of France John II. In 1386 or 1388, his daughter, Marie of Maulévrier, the last of the name, married Jacques of Montbron.

In 1505, the grounds and the castle of Maulévrier held by the family of Montbron were confiscated at the request of the creditors of Christophe of Montbron. In 1513 the domain was acquired by Arthus Gouffier, lord of Oiron, Grand Master of France under Louis XII and Francis I, who ceded it to his son Claude, Grand Squire of Francis I and Henry II; the domain was established as a county in August 1542.
Maulévrier declined during the Wars of Religion. In 1664, Charles Gouffier sold the county to Édouard-Fran├žois Colbert, younger brother of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV's Grand Minister of Finance; from 1679 to 1683 the castle rebuilt with Jules Hardouin-Mansart as main architect.

Jean-Nicolas Stofflet, a former soldier who became a gamekeeper for the Marquis of Maulévrier, was one of the main leaders of the royalist party during the War in the Vendé. On 11 March 1793, he rallied 11 blacksmiths from the Maulévrier region and joined Jacques Cathelineau's troops during the capture of Cholet, one of the rebels' first successes. On 21 January 1794, the sixth infernal column led by Brigadier General Jean Alexandre Caffin arrived in Maulévrier. On 23 January, the Republicans plundered the villages around Maulévrier and Yzernay; fourteen women and girls were shot. On 31 January, the town and the castle were completely burnt down; only the church escaped destruction. Emigratd during the Revolution, Édouard-Charles-Victurnien Colbert, Lord of Maulévrier returned around 1802 and revamped the castle from 1817.

In 1895, Eugène Bergère, son-in-law of the wealthy Cholet-based industrialist Pellaumail, bought the castle from Mr. Guerry de Beauregard, widower of Marguerite of Colbert-Maulévrier and had it renovated luxuriously in the "Versailles style" by the Orientalist architect Alexandre Marcel who, in 1899, married his daughter Madeleine. From 1902 to 1910, he created there an Japanese garden inspired by the parks of the Edo period, which is the largest Japanese park in Europe (29 ha); restored in the 1980s by the town and the Association du parc oriental de Maulévrier, it was classified a "Remarkable Garden" in 2004.

Olivier Touzeau, 25 April 2021

Flag of Maulévrier

The flag of Maulévrier (photo) is white with the municipal logo, which features a greyhound on a red background.
The logo is based on a spurious etymology related to "greyhound" (lévrier). Most probably, Maulévrier come from Latin "malum leporarium" / "malus levrium" / "malus leporium" / "malus levrarius". The combination of "mau" ("bad") and "leporarium" ("hare park / warren") would result in "bad hare park" or "bad warren".

Olivier Touzeau, 25 April 2021