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Cornillon (Municipality, Gard, France)

Last modified: 2017-05-31 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Cornillon]

Flag of Cornillon - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 June 2010

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Presentation of Cornillon

The municipality of Cornillon (689 inhabitants in 1999; 1,558 ha) is located in the valley of Cèze, 20 km west of Pont-Saint-Esprit. The municipality of Cornillon is made of the village of Cornillon proper, built on the top of a small hill 80 m over the Cèze, and of seven hamlets watered by the Cèze.

Cornillon was most probably named for the Cornelli family, mentioned in the 1st century AD as a patrician family living in the neighbouring town of Uzès and owning of a rural estate in the hamlet of La Vérune.
However, the oldest written mention of Cornillon, as "Castrum Cornilione" (Castle Cornillon) dates back to 1121, according to the Gallia Christiana encyclopedia (17th century). The place name indicates that the village developed around a fortress built on the site of a former Celtic oppidum (fortified camp).

In the early feudal times, Cornillon depended on the Counts of Toulouse and of the Bishops of Uzès, until purchased in 1376 by William III Rogier (1332-1395), Viscount of Turenne, Viscount de Lamothe, Count of Beaufort and Count of Alès; mostly known as William of Beaufort, he was the nephew of Clement VI and the brother of Gregor XI, two Avignon popes. William made of the castle of Cornillon a significant fortress.
In 1575, John of Beaufort swapped Cornillon for another domain with the Montmorency family. After the execution in 1632 of Henry of Montmorency, who had revolted against the royal power, King Louis XIII ordered to suppress the Montmorency fortresses, including Cornillon. The Prince of Condé, a brother-in-law of Henry of Montmorency and a cousin of the king, protested against the destruction of the castle; in a letter dated 15 March 1633, Louis XIII ordered to stop the destruction of the castles of Bagnols and Cornillon, but slightly too late: the crenels of the wall of Cornillon had already been demolished.
In 1679, the domain of Cornillon was purchased by Hector of Sibert for 25,000 francs. A Protestant family that had converted to Catholicism after the cancellation of the Edict of Tolerance, the Sibert played a key role in the local history. Hector's son, Charles of Sibert, was appointed in 1694 Permanent Mayor of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Great Viguier and Royal Councillor. The Sibert abandoned Cornillon at the end of the 18th century but the family remained active in the area until the middle of the 19th century.

Beside wine-growing - Cornillon is located in the Côtes-du-Rhône wine production area -, silkworm rearing was the main activity in the region. In 1850-1870, most silkworms were killed by pebrine, a parasitic disease. In 1867, Mr. Rafin, from Cornillon, and two other locals travelled to Japan to purchase disease-free silkworms. Back to Cornillon, Rafin built the Yokohama Cross to commemorate his successfull travel.

Source: History of Cornillon by Jean-Claude Pigot (Municipal website)

Ivan Sache, 19 June 2010

Flag of Cornillon

On 9 May 2010, Joris Philip reports on his blog that the Sibert flag - white with the Sibert coat of arms - has been rehoisted over the ruins of the castle of Cornillon.
The flag was designed some 10 years ago by the GVA (Groupement de Vulgarisation Agricole) association, that had been taking care of the environment and heritage of Cornillon for 47 years. The flag was designed as a tribute to the Sibert family, who has alwys been supporting the association in his efforts to restore the castle. The use of the family arms was formally authorized by the Sibert heir, Frédéric C. de Sibert, now living in California (USA). Hoisted for the first time in the 2000s, the flag, spoiled by inclement weather, was recently restored by Jeannette Castor.

The arms of Sibert are presented by Joris Philip on his blog, 8 April 2010. The arms are:
Écartelé au 1 et 4 de gueules à un lion d'argent ; au 2 et 3 d'or à un bélier de sable rampant, et sur le tout d'azur à deux bandes d'or et une rose d'argent, tigée et feuillée de même, posée entre les deux bandes ("Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules a lion argent, 2. and 3. Or a ram sable rampant, an escutcheon azure two bends or a rose argent slipped and leaved of the same placed between the bends").
These arms are described for the Sibert, Barons of Cornillon, in the Dictionnaire universel de la noblesse de France, published in 1820 by J.B.P.J. de Courcelles. More specifically, they are described for Charles-Louis-Adolphe de Sibert, Baron of Cornillon (1800-1864) in the Notices biographiques du Gard (Canton de Bagnols), published in 1882 by Léon Alègre.
On the photos of the flag and the images of the coat of arms available in the aforementioned sources, the ram does not appear black ("sable") but pinkish. I assume this is an erroneous rendition of "sable", which means "sand" in usual French.

Ivan Sache, 19 June 2010