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Sorbiers (Municipality, Loire, France)

Last modified: 2017-08-11 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Sorbiers

The municipality of Sorbiers (7,717 inhabitants in 2010 - Sorberans; 1,219 ha; municipal website) is located in Forez, some 10 km north-east of Saint-Étienne. The town was named after the sorb, in French, sorbier.

Sorbiers is located on a small river named Onzon, from an ancient Gallic word meaning "river".
Until the middle of the 19th century, the name of the village was written Sorbier, without the final "s". Around 1860, the two written forms Sorbier and Sorbiers appeared on the same marriage certificate. The addition of the final "s" was most probably a flourish. In 1908, the death certificate of Mayor Claudius Remilleux included three times Sorbiers in its modern written form; the certificate can be considered as the officialization of the current name of the town.

In 984, a record of the possessions of the church of Lyon included ecclesia de sorber, the church of Sorbiers. At the end of the 18th century, Sorbier(s) was a village et paroisse en Forez, rattaché à l'archiprêtré de Saint-Étienne (a village and parish in Forez, depending on the Archipriestry of Saint-E´tienne). Short before the French Revolution, the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Sorbier(s) belonged to Saint-Romain-en-Jarez, along with the other small parishes of Cellieu, Chagnon, Fontanes et Saint-Christo-en-Jarez.
The municipality of La Talaudière was created in 1872 with territories taken from the municipalities of Sorbiers, Saint-Jean-Bonnefonds and La Tour-en-Jarez.

Sorbiers was originally a rural village. Lime (in French, chaux) was excavated and burned in a place named La Choltière. There were still several lime kilns in Sorbiers in the 18th century. There were also family workshops for sikl unwinding and nail production.
Metallurgy, intiated in the area in the Middle Ages, thrived in the Renaissance. Later, the production of nails in Sorbiers was favoured by the proximity of coal mines, of the shipyards of Saint-Rambert-sur-Loire and by the pre-industrial development of the town of Saint-Étienne. In 1789, there were nine nail makers out of 61 workers in Sorbiers; their number increased to 23 in 1807. The industrial revolution suppressed the local nail production in the middle of the 19th century.
The industrial development of Sorbiers started with the opening of a coal mine in the 19th century. Five years later, the population had increased by one quarter.
The industrial park of La Vaure was opened in 1961, which compensated for the closing of the coal mine in 1968.

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2005

Former flag of Sorbiers


Former flag of Sorbiers - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 10 March 2005

The former flag of Sorbiers, flown in the municipal park, along with the flags of France and European Union, was white with the former municipal logo in the middle, made of the name of the town with the "O" filled in yellow and a red "I".

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2005