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Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay (Municipality, Deux-Sèvres, France)

Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: deux-sevres | saint-martin-de-sanzay | lion (red) | cross: maltese (white) |
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[Flag of St Martin de Sanzay]

Flag of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay - Image by Hervé Rochard, 11 May 2003

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Presentation of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay

The municipality of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay (921 inhabitants in 2007; 2,469 ha) is located 15 km north of Thouars. The village is named for its patron saint and the neighbouring village of Sanzay, a former municipality merged in 2006 with Boësse and Argenton-Château to form the new municipality of Argenton-les-Vallées.

Ivan Sache, 6 June 2010

Flag of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay

The flag and arms of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay, designed by the Société Héraldique Pictave, have been officially adopted by the Municipal Council (date unknown).
The flag is in proportions 1:2, yellow with a red lion charged with a white Maltese cross. It is banner of the municipal arms - supporters and scroll excluded -, D'or au lion de gueules chargé d'une croix de Malte d'argent. Supports: Deux griffons. Devise : Saint Martin de Sanzay ("Or a lion gules charged with a Maltese cross argent. The shield supported by two griffins [or]. Motto: Saint Martin de Sanzay").

Gold represents the agricultural resources of the plain of Thouars. The red lion comes from the arms of the Aviau family, owners of the manor of Bois-de-Sanzay from 1643 to the French Revolution. Sold as a "national good", the castle was purchased back in 1837 by Charles- François-Marie d'Aviau. Another member of the family, Charles-François d'Aviau (1736-1826), Archbishop of Bordeaux (1802-1826), was made Peer of France and Count by Napoléon I in 1809.
The Maltese cross recalls the Commandery of Prailles, located near the ford on river Thouet used by the old Roman way Angers-Poitiers; already known in 1200 as the "Prailles Hostel" or "Prailles House", the commandery belonged to the Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Farmers using the bridge of Taizon, built in the 13th century to replace the ford, had to pay a toll - usually as rye grains - to the commandery. In 1482, the Commander of Prailles was granted the right to exercize justice by King Louis XI. Wealthy in the 15th-16th centuries, the commandery then declined and the buildings were rented in the 17th century to a farmer.

Hervé Rochard & Ivan Sache, 6 June 2010