Beaugency - Encyclopedia


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BEAUGENCY, a town of central France, in the department of Loiret, 16 m. S.W. of Orleans on the Orleans railway, between that city and Blois. Pop. (1906) 2993. It is situated at the foot of vine-clad hills on the right bank of the Loire, to the left bank of which it is united by a bridge of twenty-six arches, many of them dating from the 13th century. The chief buildings are the chateau, mainly of the 15th century, of which the massive donjon of the 11th century known as the Tour de Cesar is the oldest portion; and the abbey-church of Notre-Dame, a building in the Romanesque style of architecture, frequently restored. Some of the buildings of the Benedictine abbey, to which this church belonged, remain. The hotel de ville, the facade of which is decorated with armorial bearings of Renaissance carving, and the church of St Etienne, an unblemished example of Romanesque architecture, are of interest. Several old houses, some remains of the medieval ramparts and the Tour de l'Horloge, an ancient gateway, are also preserved. The town carries on trade in grain, and has flour mills.

The lords of Beaugency attained considerable importance in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries; at the end of the 13th century the fief was sold to the crown, and afterwards passed to the house of Orleans, then to those of Dunois and Longueville and ultimately again to that of Orleans. Joan of Arc defeated the English here in 1429. In 1567 the town was sacked and burned by the Protestants. On the 8th, 9th and 10th of December 1870 the German army, commanded by the grand-duke of Mecklenburg, defeated the French army of the Loire, under General Chanzy, in the battle of Beaugency (or Villorceau-Josnes), which was fought on the left bank of the Loire to the N.W. of Beaugency.

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