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Nort-sur-Erdre (Municipality, Loire-Atlantique, France)


Last modified: 2021-06-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Nort-sur-Erdre - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 20 September 2005

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Presentation of Nort-sur-Erdre

The municipality of Nort-sur-Erdre (in Breton, Enorzh; 8,925 inhabitants in 2018; 6,656 ha; municipal website) is located on the river Erdre, 30 km north of Nantes and 40 km south of Châteaubriant.

The name of Nort, written in the past Henord and Honort, might come from the old French onor, "a fief".
In the 6th century, St. Félix, Bishop of Nantes, built a embankment in order to enlarge the Erdre by flooding the neighbouring marshy areas. Accordingly, navigation on the river was made possible from Nantes to Nort. The canal linking Nantes to Brest also crosses the territory of Nort, with the six locks of Quiheix, La Tindière, La Rabinière, La Haie Pacoret, Cramezeul and Le Pas d'Héric. Nort was an important commerce port until the end of the 19th century.

In the Middle Ages, Guihénoc of Ancenis, suzereign of Nort, ceded a "castle" to the powerful abbey of Marmoutiers, near Tours. This castle was most probably the Aron tower, located near the Erdre and depending on the feudal castle of Nort. The monks founded a priory in 1073, which was later dedicated to St. George by Quiriac, Bishop of Nantes. The parish priest of Nort did not enjoy the competition exerted by the monks: he wanted to be allowed to celebrate the mass in the priory chapel and, most important, to perceive church taxes. In 1277, the Bishop of Nantes and the Prior of Marmoutiers came to an agreement: the monks were no longer allowed to confess and christen but the priest ceded them some of the church taxes.
In the 14th century, the village was divided into two domains, Grand-Nort (Great Nort), owned by the familiy of La Lucinière, also owner of the Barony of Châteaubriand, and Bas-Nort (Low Nort), owned by the family of Pont-Hus. The castle of Nort was purchased by Pierre Landais, treasurer of Duke of Brittany Francis II and transferred at the end of the 16th century to the Cornulier family. In 1651, King Louis XIV granted by Letters Patented the set up of fairs and a Friday market. Nort was already a big village since it was divided into two parishes, separated by the Erdre which had to be crossed on a ford. There were 106 feux (households) in the 16th century, 3,200 inhabitants in the 17th century, 3,800 in 1801 and 5,560 in 1830.

The bridge on the Erdre was built in 1753-1775 by the architects Felix and Garbay de Dambois.
On 27 June 1793, 400-500 Republican volunteers commanded by the tinsmith Meuris waited the 4,000 men of the Royalist Vendean corps commanded by Cathelineau and d'Elbée. The Republicans hold the bridge all the night long and forced the Royalists to withdraw. The Royalists crossed the Erdre the next day at the L'Onglée ford. It is believed that the episode of Nort delayed the attack of Nantes by the Royalists and gave more time to prepare the town's defense, contributing to the victory of the Republicans on 29 June 1793.

There were in the past coal mines in Languin, in the west of the municipal territory. The first mine was dug in 1738 by Jary, who was allowed to exploit coal by Letters Patented in 1746. Coal extraction ceased in 1820 and resumed a few years later; the Anglo-French consortium which operated the mine disappeared in 1842. The mines, acquired in 1850 by the Compagnie de Mouzeil, were eventually closed in 1863.

The cedar of Nort, whose trunk circumference is 6 m, was planted in 1723; it is said to be one of the oldest cedars still alive in France.

Ivan Sache, 20 September 2005

Flag of Nort-sur-Erdre

The flag of Nort-sur-Erdre, as seen there, is diagonally divided, per bend, white on red. The white triangle is charged with 16 black ermine spots placed 4 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1; the red triangle is charged with a barge.

The flag is derived from the municipal arms, designed by Georges Buisson and adopted by the Municipal Council on 27 April 1970 as "Gules a barge contourned proper on a base azur a chief hermine".
The charges recall that Nort-sur-Erdre was an important river port in Brittany. The barge is called in French a chaland. This word appeared as caland in the Chanson de Roland (1080), derived from Greek khelandion. A chaland is a light barge mostly used on rivers for the transportation of goods. Transportation with a chaland is called chalandage.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 20 September 2005