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Carentan-les-Marais (Municipality, Manche, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-30 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Carentan-les-Marais

The municipality of Carentan-les-Marais (10,084 inhabitants in 2018; 13,329 ha; municipal website) was established on 1 January 2016 as the merger of the former municipalities of Carentan (seat), Angoville-au-Plain, Houesville, and Saint-Côme-du-Mont. The municipality was joined on 1 January 2017 by Brévands, Les Veys, and Saint-Pellerin, and on 1 January 2019 by Brucheville, Catz, Montmartin-en-Graignes, Saint-Hilaire-Petitville, and Vierville.

Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021

Former municipalities



Flag of Carentan - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 6 March 2021

Carentan was in the 10th century the capital of Cingate, a territory composed of 30 feudal domains, which was part of the donation made in 1008 by Duke Richard II of Normandy to his wife, Judith of Brittany. Carentan remained part of the ducal domain until the incorporation of Normandy to France in 1204.
In 1106, the king of England, Henry I Beauclerc, third son of William the Conqueror, attended the Paschal celebrations in Carentan. Serlon, Bishop of Sées, encouraged the king to overthrow his brother, Robert Courteheuse, who had succeeded William as the Duke of Normandy and plunged the duchy into anarchy. On 28 September 1106, Henry defeated Robert in Tinchebray and restored peace in Normandy.
in 1142, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and husband of Mathilda the Empress, the daughter of Henry Beauclerc, seized Carentan and was paid homage by the barons of Cotentin.
On 16 August 1199, John Lackland was announced in the church of Carentan the death of his brother, Richard Lionheart; he lived immediately to claim the throne of England. John would stay in the castle of Karenten on 30, 31 January and 30 September 1200, in June 1201, and eventually in 1203. That year, like most towns of Cotentin, Carentan opened its gates to Philip II Augustus, king of France.
In 1240, Louis IX visited Carentan and ordered the building of walls, which were subsequently consolidated. Peace resumed in Carentan for nearly 150 years.

On 1 July 1346, Edward III, king of England, who claimed the throne of France, landed in La Hougue with 30,000 men and 6,000 horses. Besieged on 20 July, the garrison of Carentan resisted until betrayed by Roland de Verdun and Nicolas de Grouchy. Soon after Edward's departure, the French reconquered the castle and captured the felons, who were brought to Paris and beheaded in December 1346 by order of Philip VI. Another three French lords who had taken the English party were executed in Saint-Lô; as a retaliation, the English sacked Carentan and burned down the town, the church excepted. In May 1364, Du Guesclin seized Carentan; the chronicles report that the English garrison surrendered without fighting after having heard the cry "Du Guesclin".
In 1417, following Henry V's landing in Touques, Carentan surrendered to the English to prevent another destruction of the town, which was returned to France on 26 September 1449.
After another landing in Cherbourg in April 1450, the English passed by Carentan but preferred not to attack the highly fortified town. The troop was harassed by the inhabitants of Carentan and of the neighboring villages, helped by 400 riders sent on 14 April by the Count of Clermont. The next day, the count left Carentan and chased the English, defeating them in Formigny.

The Battle of Carentan was an fought in World War II between airborne forces of the US Army and the German Wehrmacht during the Battle of Normandy. The battle took place between 6 and 13 June 1944, on the approaches to and within the town of Carentan.
The objective of the attacking American forces was consolidation of the US beachheads (Utah Beach and Omaha Beach) and establishment of a continuous defensive line against expected German counterattacks. The defending German force attempted to hold the town long enough to allow reinforcements en route from the south to arrive, prevent or delay the merging of the lodgments, and keep the US First Army from launching an attack towards Lessay-Périers that would cut off the Cotentin Peninsula.

The flag of Carentan was a banner of the municipal arms, "Argent an eagle gules orled by nine billets of the same a chief azure three fleurs-de-lis or".
Completely different arms, "Azure a nave without mast or on waves argent a star or in chief", were ascribed in theArmorial Général (image), and, most probably never used.
During the First Empire, the arms of Carentan were "Ermine a roaster gules a chief azure three stars argent a canton sinister gules a letter 'N' argent surmounted by a star of the same."
[La Manche héraldique]

Olivier Touzeau, Michel Hersent & Ivan Sache, 29 June 2021


Flag of Carentan used in Waldfischbach-Burgalben - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021

Waldfischbach-Burgalben, Carentan's twin city, uses a white vertical banner with the municipal arms (photo).

Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021


[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Houesville, two versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021, and Arnaud Leroy, 25 January 2002, respectively

Houesville (blog) was first mentioned around 1080 as Hoivilla, subsequently Huivilla and Huesville. This would have meant Hofi's estate, referring to a lord of Scandinavian origin. A local tradition refers to "ouée", the local form of "oie", "a goose", Houesville would have been Geese' Town, recalling the birds that seasonally settle the marshes.
Marshes cover 265 ha of marshes; 199 ha were rented while the remaining 66 ha were used as commons. In 1960, each inhabitant of the village was allowed to use the commons for three cows and two calves, or one horse and two calves. Unused right could be sold to someone else. In fall and winter seasons, the marshes are flooded by river Douve and turn "white", allowing fish reproduction and waterfowl hunting.

The flag of Houesville (photo) is white with a golden fringe, charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms, "Azure three apples or a chief gules two leopards or", supported by two horses, surmounted by a mural crown argent and surmounting a scroll gules inscribed with the Latin motto "Ad vitam aeternam" or, crown). THe municipality also uses, reportedly, a banner of the arms.

The arms of Houesville, designed by Michel Hersent, were adopted on 4 November 1997 by the Municipal Council. They are based on the arms of the Le Sauvage, last lords of Houesville.
The oldest known member of the Le Sauvage lineage is André Le Sauvage, mentioned in 1392. His son, Jean Le Sauvage, Herald of Arms of the king, was nicknamed "Pomme d'Or" (Golden Apple"), after his personal arms.
The last lord of Houesville was Pierre Bon Antoine Le Sauvage (1752-1799), officer in the Regiment of Auvergne and Colonel of the National Militia in Sainte-Mère-Église in 1790.
[Houesville blog]

Olivier Touzeau, Michel Hersent & Ivan Sache, 28 April 2021

Port of Carentan


Flag of the Port of Carentan - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021

The flag of the port of Carentan (photo, photo, photo) is white with the name of the port in Arial Black (narrowed with Wordart), cliparts (a sailing boat, a compass rose, a propeller), the URL and the logo of the Communauté de communes de la Baie du Cotentin, the logo of the Regional Council of Normandie and the e-mail address of the port. Another version of the flag (photo) is white with the words "Port de Carentan", the logo of the Communauté de communes, some drawings in green and other inscriptions.

Olivier Touzeau, 6 March 2021