Dinan - Encyclopedia

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DINAN, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Cotes-du-Nord, 37 m. E. of St Brieuc on the Western railway. Pop. (1906) 8588. Dinan is situated on a height on the left bank of the Rance (here canalized), some 17 m. above its mouth at St Malo, with which it communicates by means of small steamers. It is united to the village of Lanvallay on the right bank of the river by a granite viaduct 130 ft. in height. The town is almost entirely encircled by the ramparts of the middle ages, strengthened at intervals by towers and defended on the south by a castle of the late 14th century, which now serves as prison. Three old gateways are also preserved. Dinan has two interesting churches; that of St Malo, of late Gothic architecture, and St Sauveur, in which the Romanesque and Gothic styles are intermingled. In the latter church a granite monument contains the heart of Bertrand Du Guesclin, whose connexion with the town is also commemorated by an equestrian statue. The quaint winding streets of Dinan are often bordered by medieval houses. Its picturesqueness attracts large numbers of visitors and there are many English residents in the town and its vicinity. About three-quarters of a mile from the town are the ruins of the château and the Benedictine abbey at Lehon; near the neighbouring village of St Esprit stands the large lunatic asylum of Les Bas Foins, founded in 1836; and at no great distance is the now dismantled château of La Garaye, which was rendered famous in the r8th century by the philanthropic devotion of the count and countess whose story is told in Mrs Norton's Lady of La Garaye. Dinan is the seat of a subprefect and has a tribunal of first instance, and a communal college. There is trade in grain, cider, wax, butter and other agricultural products. The industries include the manufacture of leather, farm-implements and canvas.

The principal event in the history of Dinan, which was a stronghold of the dukes of Brittany, is the siege by the English under the duke of Lancaster in 1359, during which Du Guesclin and an English knight called Thomas of Canterbury engaged in single combat.

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