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Parçay-Meslay (Municipality, Indre-et-Loire, France)

Last modified: 2012-05-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: indre-et-loire | parçay-meslay | crown: wheat (yellow) | tree (green) | head (yellow) |
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[Flag of Parcay-Meslay]

Flag of Parçay-Meslay - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 24 November 2011

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Presentation of Parçay-Meslay

The municipality of Parçay-Meslay (2,340 inhabitants in 2007; 1,407 ha) is located 10 km north of Tours.

Parçay was originally known as Villa Partiacus, that is "Parcus' estate". Partiacus, mentioned on a chart signed in 852 by Charles the Bald, evolved to Parciacum (993), Parcayum (1277), Parceyum (1293) and Parçay (1338).
Meslay was originally known as Campaniacus (1061), meaning "a fertile land". The village was subsequently renamed Moelleim, from Latin "mespilus", "a medlar", once grown locally.
The village was eventually renamed Parçay-Meslay in 1814.

Both Parçay and Meslay belonged to the Marmoutier abbey, founded in Tours in 372 by St. Martin. Parçay was mentioned in the 9th century, as a dependency of the abbey, although justice was exerted until the 12th century by a bailiff, whose house is today the Town Hall of Parçay-Meslay. Meslay was transferred to the Marmoutier abbey in 1061 by Renaud de Hodet, who founded a priory, surrounded by a big agricultural domain (227 ha).
Around 1220, Abbot Hugh de Rochecorbon (Abbot, 1210-1227) ordered the building of a barn, a porch, a pigeon house and a manor, which are the only remains of the priory kept until now. The Meslay barn, used to store the local products and the tithe, is the last big monument of that kind preserved in France; built like a church (60 m x 25 m), the barn is divided into five naves by pillars made of oak trunks.
The barn was burned down on 13 September 1422 by the unpaid Scottish soldiers in the service of Dauphin Charles (later, King Charles VII). The monument was rebuilt ten years later, with a new wooden roof structure. During the French Revolution, the barn was sold to the architect Derouët, from Tours. In the beginning of the 20th century, the descenders of the architect were able to reunite the whole domain and to preserve the barn from destruction.
In 1963, the Russian pianist Svatoslav Richter (1915-1997) founded in Meslay one of the first music festivals in France not organized in a dedicated concert hall. The Meslay Barn Festival (website) was inaugurated in 1964 and has been organized every summer since then, therefore perpetuating the memory of his founder. Most famous pianists and many other musicians have performed in Meslay; none of them ever complained about the frogs and bats that often enjoy the music without entrance ticket.

The Tours airfield is partially located on the municipal territory of Parçay-Meslay. On 13 June 1940, Winston Churchill landed there to join the Interallied War Council held in Tours, where the French government had withdrawn from Paris on 10 June.

Source: Municipal website (former version)

Ivan Sache, 24 November 2011

Flag of Parçay-Meslay

The flag of Parçay-Meslay (photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The arms of Parçay-Meslay (description) are "Barry of eight argent and gules overall a medlar tree vert fructed proper a chief azure a man's head in profile or between two bunches of grapes argent".
The shield is surmounted by a crown of wheat spikes, the symbol of the Good Towns under the Empire, recalling the significance of the agricultural production for the municipality. Below the shield is a scroll argent charged with "VILLE DE MESLAY PARÇAY".
The bars argent and gules are taken from the arms of the Marmoutier abbey, recalling the origin of the village.
The medlar with ten fruits recalls the etymology of Meslay.
The head in the chief represents lord Parcus, recalling the etymology of Parçay. The grapes recall that Vouvray wine is produced on the municipal territory.

The arms, designed by the heraldic artist Dominique Morche, were adopted on 17 December 1986 by the Municipal Council.

Pascal Vagnat, 24 November 2011