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Saint-Florentin (Municipality, Yonne, France)

Last modified: 2022-02-27 by ivan sache
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Flag of Saint-Florentin - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 July 2005

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Presentation of Saint-Florentin

The municipality of Saint-Florentin (4,376 inhabitants in 2018; 2,860 ha) is located on the border of Burgundy and Champagne, on the road from Auxerre (Burgundy) to Troyes (Champagne) and on rivers Armance and Armançon and the Canal of Burgundy.
The town is named after saint Florentin, martyred with his disciple HiHilarylaire by Crocus, King of the Vandals, in 406. Godelaine, sister of the local lord, is said to have kept the saint's relics and founded a Benedictine abbey to honor them, around which the town developed. In 587, Queen of Austrasia Brunehaut was besieged in Saint-Florentin by Landericus, sent by her rival Fredegund, Queen of Neustria.

Saint-Florentin, erected a viscounty in the 12th century, was incorporated to the royal domain in the 14th century. Under Louis XV, it became a county, whose most famous lord was Louis Phélypeaux (1705-1777), who succeeded his father, Marquis de la Vrillière, as the Minister of the General Affairs of the Reformed Religion of Louis XV in 1725. In 1761, he was appointed State Minister, Secretary of the King's House and Minister of the Interior, which made of him Louis XV's Prime Minister. He was made Duke de la Vrillière in 1770. Malesherbes replaced him in 1775, and he still helds the record of the longest ministerial office in France (50 years).
In the past, Saint-Florentin was a fortified town, often besieged, seized and sacked. The fortifications were suppressed in the 18th century; parts of ramparts and the Bells' Tower are their only remains. During the French Revolution, Saint-Florentin was renamed to Mont-Armance.

The domain of Crécy, today located on the municipal territory of Saint-Florentin, is one of the oldest possessions of the abbey of Pontigny, the second daughter abbey of Cîteaux, founded in 1114. A text dated 12 June 1138 states that the barn, indeed a big domain, of Crécy formerly belonged to the canons of Saint-Florentin. The domain of Crécy was progressively increased; in the early 1300s, he spread on several hundred hectares. In 1598, the area of the domain was 300 ha, as it is today. From 1614 onwards, the estate was ruled by rich farmers on behalf of the monks of Pontigny. Crécy was sold as a national good in 1791 and purchased in 1834 by Baron Louis Jacques Thénard (1777-1757), a famous chemist who worked with Gay Lussac. Thénard discovered boron (B) in 1808, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in 1818; he also studied esterification reactions and proposed a classification of metals.

In 1970, the village of Avrolles, located a few kilometers west of Saint-Florentin, was incorporated into the municipality of Saint-Florentin. Avrolles was located in the Roman times on the junction of via Agrippa (Lyon-Boulogne) and of the road linking Sens to Alise-Sainte-Reine (Alésia). The junction was watched by a fortified camp locally known as Barcena Camp and located on Mount Avrollot (194 m asl). AShown as Eburobriga on the Peutinger's map (IIIrd century), Avrolles was later an important fortified town. During the Wars of Religions, Avrolles was completely destroyed and rebuilt only as a village. In 1804, 112 houses of Avrolles were destroyed by a blaze. The current cemetery, built on the former site of the St. Beata church, is said to be the place were St. Beata was martyrized c. 275.

Ivan Sache, 11 July 2005

Flag of Saint-Florentin

The flag of Saint-Florentin, as seen there, is yellow-orange with the municipal logo, which is based on the municipal arms, and the writing VILLE DE SAINT FLORENTIN in black Arial letters.

The coat of arms of Saint-Florentin is "Per pale azure a bend argent double cotised potent counter potent or and gules chains in cross in saltire and in orle or", that is, per pale Champagne and Navarre.
In 1234, the king of Navarra named his nephew, Count Theobald IV of Champagne, as his successor, uniting Champagne and Navarre. At that time, the County of Champagne was very powerful and Theobald was a famous trouvère. He granted a charter to Saint-Florentin in 1231, at which time the arms of Champagne impaled with the arms of Navarre were adopted. The municipality refused to register its arms with the Armorial Général; the arms were reconfirmed in 1855.

The shield on the flag has a white "chief" with three thin black stripes. This "chief" is everything but heraldic, therefore the quotation marks: it comes indeed from the municipal logotype! Moreover, the bend in the arms of Champagne is grey and there is no hyphen in the name of the city, whereas it should be (Saint Florentin, instead of Saint-Florentin).
The flag is also hoisted in the neighboring municipality of Vergigny, which is odd. The only reason for that hoisting is probably the railway station shared by the two town (station of Saint-Florentin-Vergigny, on the Paris-Dijon snail line).

Olivier Touzeau, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 12 July 2005