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Maîche (Municipality, Doubs, France)

Last modified: 2022-02-27 by ivan sache
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Flag of Maîche - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 2 June 2021

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Presentation of Maîche

The municipality of Maîche (4,266 inhabitants in 2019; 1,742 ha) is located 60 km east of Besançon, close to the border with Switzerland.

Maîche developed in the Middle Ages near a fortified castle, notably with the construction of a church at the beginning of the 12th century, while the first fairs were held in 1386. In November 1474, during the Burgundian Wars that opposed the Burgundian State to the Old Swiss Confederacy, the Swiss besieged the castle, which surrendered on 5 February 1477 to preserve the life of the hostages. Following this episode, the inhabitants of the region bought their freedom from the bishop of Basel for sixty thousand gold guilders, before paying hommage to Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg. In the 16th century, during the Habsburg rule, the town experienced an era of prosperity. Lord Jean de Guyot left the old castle for present-day's castle Montalembert built in 1524, while Nicolas Perrenot de Granvelle, Chancellor of Charles V, had a mansion built in the downtown.
During the Ten Years' War, the town was seized and plundered in 1637 by the Swedish mercenaries led by Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar. The governor of Maîche, Jean-François Guyot de Malseigne, succeeded in countering the Swedish attacks in front of the old castle in 1638; in January 1639, however, the plateau of Maîche was again sacked, so that many inhabitants found refuge in Switzerland or in the caves of the valley of the Dessoubre river valley.
In 1793 the "Petite Vendée" peasant insurrection broke out in reaction to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy decreed in July 1790. On 14 October, nineteen young people were guillotined by order of the revolutionary tribunal on the square in front of the church of Maîche. The location of the guillotine is recalled by a cross.
On 18 June 1940, the German invaders reached the Swiss border at Russey. On 18 and 19 June, intense fighting took place in Maîche in the Saint-Michel forest, but the 45th Army Corps withdrew to Switzerland. Maîche was liberated on 5 September 1944 by the 1st French Army. On 13 November 1944, Winston Churchill, General de Gaulle and Marshal de Lattre de Tassigny met at castle Montalembert in Maîche to prepare for the end of the war.

Olivier Touzeau, 2 June 2021

Flag of Maîche

The flag of Maîche (photo) is white with the municipal arms, which were adopted in 3 May 1960 by the Municipal Council as "Azure orled with eighteen bezants a chevron argent cantoned in chief dexter by a cogwheel in chief sinister by a horseshoe per bend sinister and in base by a rose all or."
The arms are based the arms of the Guyot-Malseigne de Maîche family; the cogwheel evokes watchmaking while the horseshoe symbolizes the famous Maîche horse breed.

The Guyot, originated from Besançon, were hereditary lords of Maîche and commanders of the castle of Malseigne, starting in 1460. Ferdinand-François Guyot, Baron of Malseigne, and his brother François-Joseph were chamberlains of Emperor Charles VII. The Marquisate of Malseigne was created in 1784.
The arms of Guyot de Malseigne were "Azure a chevron or cantonned by two roses in chief and a rose in base all or".
[André-François-Joseph Borel d'Hauterive (Ed.) 1866. Annuaire de la noblesse de France et des maisons souveraines de l'Europe]

The seal used in 1704 by the Guyot de Malseigne, kept in the Archives of the Bishopric of Basel in Porrentruy, feature the shield of arms surmounted by a marquess' coronet and supported by two lions.
[Robert Genevoy. 1972. Glanes héraldiques dans les archives de l'ancien Évêché de Bâle. Archivum heraldicum 86, 38-40]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 2 june 2021