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Guingamp (Municipality, Côtes-d'Armor, France)


Last modified: 2022-03-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of Guingamp, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 13 July 2020

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Presentation of Guingamp

The municipality of Guingamp (in Breton, Gwengamp; 7,477 inhabitants in 2008; 341 ha) is located in inland northern Brittany, 30 km west of Saint-Brieuc.

Guingamp was mentioned for the first time in a charter dated 1123, as Wincamp, from two old Breton words: win (today, gwenn), "white" or "sacred", and camp, from Latin campus, "an open field".
Guingamp emerged most probably in the 11th century as a group of houses built around the wooden tower erected on a rocky spur dominating river Trieux; the tower watched a strategic passage between the source and the estuary of the river. The first known lord of Guingamp is Stephen, the nephew of Duke of Brittany Alan III. In the 12th century, the lords of Penthièvre built a stone fortress and surrounded the town with a wooden fence; at the same time, the original chapel was replaced by a Romanesque church. The Rennes Gate, for century the main access to the town, was already known in 1190.

From the 11th to the 15th century, Guingamp was a town of local significance. A bull signed on 4 December 1120 by Pope Callistus II (1119-1124) lists three churches in Guingamp. The town had five boroughs located outside the walls (faubourgs), two of them with an abbey. A charter of the abbey of Marmoutier dated September 1151 presents Guingamp as the capital of a County. In the 14th century, Guingamp was the favoured residence of Charles of Blois (1319-1364) and Jeanne of Penthièvre (1319-1384), becoming the main center of the County of Penthièvre, challenging the power of the Duke of Brittany.
During the War of Succession of Brittany, Guingamp supported Charles of Blois. In 1421, Joan of France (1391-1433), Duchess of Brittany, besieged the town that had supported the rebellion against her husband John V (1389-1442; duke in 1399), which culminated in 1420 with the abduction of the Duke in Champtoceaux. Once liberated, John V took revenge by incorporating the possessions of the Count of Penthièvre to the Duchy of Brittany; he granted the County of Guingamp to his son Peter (1418-1457; duke as Peter II in 1450) as his apanage. Peter rebuilt the castle and increased the fortifications of the town.

The castle was besieged and seized for the last time in 1591, during the Wars of the Holy League, by the Prince of Dombes, on the behalf of the King of France.
Owned in the beginning of the 17th century by César of Vendôme (1594-1665), Governor of Brittany and Duke of Penthièvre (1609), the castle was eventually dismantled by King Louis XIII following the Chalais plot, organized in 1626 by César and Alexander of Vendôme and Gaston of Orléans against the Cardinal of Richelieu.
[Regard sur le patrimoine architectural de la ville de Guingamp]

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

Flag of Guingamp

The flag of Guingamp (photo is white with the municipal logo adopted in 2015.
The blue and green colors used on the previous logo were substituted by red and black, the colors of the emblematic En Avant de Guingamp football club. The stylized letter "G" was kept, while the black and white stripes were added to the background to represent the town's heritage; Guingamp is member of the network of Brittany's historical towns.
The logo was selected by the Municipal Council among 50 proposals submitted by Mélanie Plassart, Cultural Assistant at the Communication Department of the municipality, helped by the trainee Isabelle du Penhoat.
[Ouest France, 1 July 2015]

The former flag of Guingamp (photo, photo, photo, photo) was white with the former municipal logo.

Ivan Sache & Olivier Touzeau, 13 July 2020

Reported banner of arms of Guingamp

[Flag of Guingamp]         [Flag of Guingamp]

Reported banners of arms of Guingamp - Images by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

A banner of the municipal arms was also reported, although there is no photographical evidence or mention of when and where it was used. Since there is some doubt on the municipal arms, two versions of the flag have been indeed reported.

According to Brian Timms, the arms of Guingamp, as ascribed by the Armorial Général, are "Barry of four argent and azure". The arms are illustrated in GASO with the upper bar argent.
These belonged to the Frérie Blanche (lit., the White Brotherhood), a brotherhood founded in the 14th century by Charles of Blois, which included members of the three estates, poor or rich, and equally served the interests of all. Roger Frey (InfoBretagne website) states that the Frérie (or Frairie) Blanche or Frérie/Frairie de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie was founded around 1450 by Peter II, who was its first abbot, to replace an older brotherhood called Frérie des Disciples de Notre-Seigneur.
P. Rault (Les drapeaux bretons de 1188 à nos jours) [rau98] presents a flag matching these arms, horizontally divided white-blue-white-blue.

Brian Timms reports that R. de Saint-Jouan (Éléments d'histoire etd'archéologie. Communes de l'arrondissement de Guingamp - Bulletin d'information des Maires, No. 7, 1976) shows the arms with reversed colours, claiming that they date from 1447. However, the municipal administration confirmed Timms that the true arms are of the first design presented above.
D. Kervella and M. Bodlore-Penlaez (Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes) present a flag matching these arms, horizontally divided blue- white-blue-white. They refer to the arms shown in 1447 and "on the Town Hall" - although it is not clear whether flag or arms is actually meant there.

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

En Avant de Guingamp


EAG official flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

Guingamp is mostly known in France, and probably elsewhere, for the local football club, "En Avant de Guingamp" (EAG - official website).
The club originates in the Société d'Éducation Physique "En Avant" (SEPEA), founded in 1912 by Henri Deschamps, the director of the primary school. Originally dedicated to several outdoors sports, the SEPEA registered with the French Football Federation in 1918.
The national fame of EAG started in 1973, when the team, then playing in the 5th League, reached the last 16 of the French Cup. At the time, the town of Guingamp was hardly known outside Brittany. In 1977, EAG joined the Second League, losing in 1980 the access to the First League to its local rival, Stade Rennais.

EAG adopted the professional status in 1984 and has been playing since them for two periods in the First League, 1995-1998 and 2000-2004 (best rank, 7th in 2003). In 1996, EAG played against Inter Milan in the last 64 of the UEFA Cup (1-3; 1-1).
EAG was defeated in the final of the French Cup by OGC Nice, eventually winning the French Cup on 9 May 2009 against Stade Rennais in the "Breton final".

The most emblematic president of EAG is Noël Le Graet (b. 1941), President in 1972-1991 and 2002-2011, President of the Football National League (1991-2000) and President of the French Football Federation since 2011, also Mayor of Guingamp (Parti Socialiste) in 1995-2008.
The most successful coaches of EAG were Raymond Kéruzoré (1981-1986), Francis Smerecki (1993-1999) and Victor Zvunka (2007-2010). For the celebration of the centenary of the club in 2012, the readers of the regional newspaper Ouest-France voted for the EAG Team of the Century; coached by F. Smerecki, the team included, among others, Angelo Hugues, Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba and Stéphane Guivarc'h.
Laurent Koscielny was trained in the EAG academy in 2003.
The famous Roudourou Stadium has more than 18,000 seats, more than twice the population of the town! On 10 October 2009, the France-Feroe Islands (5-0) match in the qualifying round of the FIFA World Cup 2010 was played in Guingamp.

The official flag of EAG, sometimes used by the club's supporters (photo, 9 May 2009), is based on the Breton flag, made black and red, the colours of the club since its foundation. The red canton is charged with a white triskelion enclosed in a black disk. "EAG" is written in white over the four upper stripes of the flag. "EN AVANT DE GUINGAMP" is written in white on the lower black stripe, and "Côtes d'Armor" is written in white on the lower stripe.

The supporters of EAG use different flags horizontally divided, with the black, red and white colours:


EAG supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

- red-white-black-white-red (2:1:1:1:2), presented by D. Kervella and M. Bodlore-Penlaez (Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes) as the (main) supporter's flag (photo, 9 May 2006; photo, 22 April 2009);


EAG supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

- black-white-red-white-black (1:1:2:1:1) (photo, 7 January 2006);


EAG supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012

- white-red-black-red-white (2:2:3:2:2) (photo, 7 January 2006).


Ruz-ha-Du supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 6 January 1999

According to P. Rault (Les drapeaux bretons de 1188 à nos jours), the supporters of the EAG and Stade Rennais have designed the Ruz-ha-Du (Red and Black) by colouring in red the white parts of the Gwenn-ha-Du, using the colours shared by the two clubs.

Ivan Sache, 6 January 1999


Breton-Brazilian flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 May 2009

On 9 May 2009, the players of EAG celebrated on the official stand their victory in the final of the French Cup with a Breton-Brazilian flag (photo), vertically divided half Brittany half Brazil. EAG had indeed two Brazilian players, the attacker Eduardo, who scored twice in the final, and the defender Felipe.

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2012