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Noyon (Municipality, Oise, France)

Last modified: 2021-02-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Noyon, two versions - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 23 July 2020

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Presentation of Noyon

The municipality of Noyon (13,235 inhabitants in 2018; 1,800 ha) is located 30 km north of Compiègne.

npyon was founded by the Gallo-Romans as Noviomagus. By the Middle Ages, the town's Latin name had mutated to Noviomum. Around year 531, bishop Medardus moved the see of his diocese from Vermand to Noyon. The bishop of Noyon was also bishop of Tournai from the 7th century until Tournai was raised to a separate diocese in 1146.
Charlemagne was crowned as co-King of the Franks in 768 in the cathedral at Noyon, as was the first Capetian king, Hugh Capet in 987. In 859 the town was attacked by the Vikings who captured and killed bishop, Immo. The town was granted a communal charter in 1108, which was later confirmed by Philip I Augustus in 1223. In the 12th century, the diocese of Noyon was raised to an ecclesiastical duchy in the peerage of France. Destroyed by fire in 1131, the Romanesque cathedral was soon replaced by the present cathedral, Notre-Dame de Noyon, built between 1145 and 1235 as one of the earliest achievements of Gothic architecture in France.

By the Treaty of Noyon, signed on the 13 August 1516 between Francis I of France and emperor Charles V, France abandoned its claims to the Kingdom of Naples and received the Duchy of Milan in recompense. The treaty ended the War of the League of Cambrai — one stage of the Italian Wars. During Henry II's Italian War, most of Noyon would be burned in 1557, in the midst of the invasion of Picardy by Philip II of Spain. The town fell under Habsburg control at the end of the 16th century, but Henry IV recaptured it. The Concordat of 1801 suppressed its bishopric.

Olivier Touzeau, 23 July 2020

Flag of Noyon

The flag of Noyon (photo) is horizontally divided red-white-red. The town used in 2012 a white flag with the municipal logo (A HREF=",2.9999127,3a,46.1y,144.19h,96.2t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sEFDMkqcrmzPcOyd7Fy9dvQ!2e0!5s20120901T000000!7i13312!8i6656">photo).

The red-white-red flag is a banner of the municipal arms, "Argent, a fess gules", which are shown in the Armorial Général.
In the modern, greater arms of the town, the shield is surmounted by a nine-pearled coronet representing a Count, symbolizing the power of the Count-Bishop on the town. In 1920, the town was awarded the War Cross and the Légion d'Honneur; accordingly, branches of oak (dexter) and laurels (sinister) vert fructed proper were added around the shield, tied by a ribbon argent. The War Cross, the Légion d'Honneur and the second Cross of War awarded after the Second World War hang from the ribbon.
The whole design associates republican and monarchic symbols.
[Municipal website, 4 August 2016]

Noyon was first occupied by the Germans from 1914 to 1917, with little damage. Threatened by the German counter-attack of March 1918, the town was evacuated during the night of 24 to 25 March. To stop the enemy's progress, the French army set up fire to food stores, to the recently built railway station and to a big car park. On 26 March, the command ordered to bomb the town allegedly seized by the enemy. The blaze lasted three days, destroying the cathedral on 1 April, Easter Monday. Five months later, German bombings suppressed the last remains of the town, which was reconquered on 29 August. Out of 1,800 houses, 855 were fully destroyed. One of the first journalists allowed to enter the town stated "Noyon is a dead town". On 8 September, Georges Clémenceau, President of the Council of the Ministers, visited the ruins.
The first refugees came back to the town in early 1919. The rebuilding of Noyon was a matter of debate in the first post-war meeting of the Municipal Council held on 7 June 1919. Mayor Ernest Noël convinced the council to decide on 19 August to re-create the old urban structure rather than build a new town from scratch. The cornerstone of the first rebuilt house was set up on 2 September 1919. The rebuilding of the cathedral, managed by architect André Collin, was completed only in 1952.
The rebuilding of Noyon was "patronized" by the town of Béziers, a southern town that had been spared by the war.
[Images de Picardie]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 3 September 2020