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Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (Municipality, Vendée, France)

Last modified: 2020-01-29 by ivan sache
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Flag of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 3 January 2020

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Presentation of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire

The municipality of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (7,657 inhabitants in 2017; 9,048 ha) is located in coastal Vendée.

Talmont was first associated with Saint-Hilaire-de-Talmont in Ventôse of the Year III (winter 1795) but the two municipalites separated in Floréal of the Year IV (spring 1796). Under the July Monarchy, a new union of the two unicipalities, which took the name of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, was estalished by a Royal Decree issued on 11 1834. However, Saint-Hilaire and Talmont were restored by a Law issued on 24 October 1849.
Enclosed by Saint-Hilaire-de-Talmont, the town of Talmont obtained by a Law issued on 25 July 1860 the transfer of a portion of the town of Saint-Hilaire to its own.
On 27 December 1973 the third and final merger was pronounced between the two municipalities which, as of January 1, 1974, formed Talmont-Saint-Hilaire.

Talmont castle was the seat of the Principality of Talmont, located at the far west of the former province of Bas-Poitou. Built on a height, its defensive character was reinforced by the fact that the Atlantic Ocean bathed its moat twice a day.
The first fortifications date from 1025 under the decision of Guillaume le Chauve, lord of Talmont. He may have built a mound for the castle, which still exists in the form of a small hill invaded by trees, visible in a garden in Talmont. In 1050, he judged this mound too small and, at the site of a ruined church dedicated to St. Peter, located a little further south, he decided to build a fortified stone castle, probably one of the first in Vendée. He kept the bell tower and porch of the church, which forms a square tower, in order to make a dungeon and added a stone wall closing a small courtyard. He flanked the dungeon with a stair tower and added a building against the north wall.
Around 1170, Richard the Lionheart asked the Lord of Talmont, his friend Raoul III de Mauléon, to strengthen the fortress. Thus a new enclosure flanked by several round towers came to double that of the 11th century. It is also perhaps from this period that an urban wall was erected which fortified the town of Talmont established at the foot of the fortress. To enter the city, there were five gates.

The seigneury of Talmont belonged to the Talmont, during the 11th century, then it passed to the family of Lezay, whose last heiress brought the lordship to the family of Mauléon in dowry, in 1140.
Between the 11th century and the very end of the 12th century, from Guillaume le Chauve to Raoul III de Mauléon, the seigneury of Talmont was actually a joint lordship shared between the lord bearing the title of sire de Talmont, and the duke of Aquitaine who was also count of Poitou. During the Hundred Years' War, Louis de Thouars, loyal supporter of French king Jean le Bon, decided to pretend to be crazy after the Treaty of Brétigny, and took refuge in the castle of Talmont. His wife Ysabeau d'Avaugour, who on the contrary was on the side of the English, delivered the domain to the Black Prince. The latter wanted to check if the viscount was really mad, and sent an investigator to Talmont. The hoax was discovered, and the Black Prince confiscated the property of Louis de Thouars, to force him to take his oath, and thus recover his property. The viscount did the same, but he died in 1370.

King Charles V launched a reconquest of the fortresses lost because of the Treaty of Brétigny, leaving his constable Bertrand du Guesclin and his lieutenant Olivier V de Clisson to besiege them one by one to dislodge the English. In 1372, the king forced Ysabeau d'Avaugour to submit to the crown of France. The new count of Poitou was then Charles V's brother, Jean de Berry. The seigneury of Talmont was then disputed between the daughters of Louis de Thouars (Pernelle, Isabeau and Marguerite) and their stepmother Ysabeau d'Avaugour.
In the 15th century, king Louis XI donated it to his historiographer Philippe de Commynes.
The castle was besieged in the 16th century by Henri de Navarre and its keep was dismantled in the 17th century by Richelieu so that the English and their allies could not settle permanently in Poitou.
The last family with the title of Prince of Talmont was the La Trémoille family.

Olivier Touzeau, 3 January 2020

Flag of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire

The flag of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (photo, photo) is red with the municipal logo adpted in 2015. The former flag (photo) was white with the former municipal logo.
The flag is flown over the castle, which often flies a red banner with three lions passant-guardant (photo, photo), recalling the second Great Seal of Richard I.

Olivier Touzeau, 3 January 2020