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

Last modified: 2011-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: maine-et-loire | segre |
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[Flag of Segre]

Flag of Segré - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 10 April 2004

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Presentation of Segré

The town of Segré (7,155 inhabitants; 1,587 hectares) is located in the westernmost part of Anjou, therefore closed to Brittany. Segré was built around a schistose spur dominating the confluency of the rivers Oudon and Verzée. The region around the city is called Segréen, and is characterized by a bocage landscape (farmland crisscrossed by hedges and trees) dedicated to mixed farming and cattle breeding. The Segréen is also an industrial region, with iron mines and slate quarries.

The Latin name of Segré was Secretum, meaning isolated, secret. The village indeed seems to have remained isolated until the Xth century, when Foulques I le Roux, the founder of the first house of Anjou, built a fort on the schistose spur dominating the village. The fort was a simple wooden tower erected on a stand of earth. In the 11th century, the fiercy count Foulques III Nerra replaced the wooden tower by a big stone donjon. The fort was seized in 1066 by duke of Brittany Conan II. In 1191, the domain of Segré, belonging to Geoffroy de la Guerche, was confiscated by king of England and duke of Normandy Richard Lionheart, who offered it to his wife Berangere of Navarra.

The town of Segré was completely looted in 1490 by plunderers who scoured upper Anjou. In the 16th century, during the Religious Wars, the city took the party of the Ligue (also known as the Sainte Ligue or the Sainte Union), which was the union of the Catholic princes led by duke Henri I of Guise. King of France Henri III ordered Guise's assassination in Blois in 1588, causing an uprising that spread from Paris to the rest of France. In 1589, count of la Rochepot seized Segré in the name of Henri III, who was murdered the same year. The town was plundered and the fort and the city walls were suppressed, as well as all the fortified manors in the neighborhood. In 1635, cardinal of Richelieu made of Segré a barony for his protégé Guillaume II de Bautru, lord of Louvaines.

After the French Revolution, Segré was seized in 1795 by 2,000 Chouan counter-revolutionaries, who got rid of 200 Republican soldiers in four hours. The town was quickly seized back by the Republicans and remained a Republican stronghold in a mostly Royalist region. Accordingly, Segré became a sous-préfecture of the department of Maine-et-Loire in 1800, causing the wrath of the inhabitants of le Lion-d'Angers, then a bigger and less isolated town. Segré was indeed a fairly small city, with only 700 inhabitants in 1841. The incorporation of neighbouring municipalities and the industrial development caused a steady increase in the population: 2,894 in 1878; 3,551 in 1891; 4,874 in 1939; and 7,155 today.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004

Flag of Segré

The municipal flag of Segré, as shown on a photograph taken by Frédéric Prat, is white with the municipal arms outlined in black.

The coat of arms of Segré is Écartelé, au premier et au quatrième, d'argent à une bande d'azur; au second et au troisième, d'azur à un pal d'argent (Quarterly first and fourth argent a bend azure second and third azure a pale argent).

These arms were ascribed in the Armorial Général ordered by Louis XIV in 1696. Since the main goal of the Armorial was to get money, several towns and villages attempted to avoid paying the registration fee by claiming they had never had any coat of arms. In such cases, the local editors of the Armorial invented coats of arms, often based on a preconceived regional pattern. Brian Timms lists several villages located between Angers and Segré whose coat of arms were blatantly designed on a common template (quartered with bends and/or pales):
- Beaupréau: "Quarterly first and fourth or a bend azure second and third azure a bend sinister or";
- Candé: "Quarterly first and fourth argent a bend sinister gules second and third gules a pale argent";
- Chemillé: "Quarterly first and fourth or a bend gules second and third gules a bend or";
- Durtal: "Quarterly first and fourth gules a pale or second and third or a bend sinister gules";
- Le Lion d'Angers: "Quarterly first and four or a fess sable second and third sable a pale or";
- Les Ponts-de-Cé: "Quarterly first and four vert a pale argent second and third argent a fess vert";
- Pouancé: "Quarterly first and fourth or a pale vert second and third vert a bend"sinister or";
- Saint-Florent-le-Vieil: "Quarterly first and fourth sable a fess argent second and third argent a bend sinister sable".

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004