Dol - Encyclopedia

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DOL, a town of north-western France, in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine, 36 m. N. of Rennes on the Western railway. Pop. (1906) 3543Dol is situated to the south-west of the rich agricultural district known as the marsh of Dol, where marketgardening is especially flourishing. The streets are still rendered picturesque by houses of the 14th and 15th centuries, which form deep arcades by the projection of their upper storeys: and, high above all, rises the grey granite of the cathedral, mainly of the 13th century, which in the middle ages ranked as the metropolitan church of all Brittany, and still keeps fresh the name of Bishop St Samson, who, having fled, as the legend tells, from the Saxon invaders of England, selected this spot as the site of his monastery. To the architect it is interesting for the English character of its design, and to the antiquarian, for its stained-glass windows of the 13th century, and for the finely sculptured tomb of Bishop Thomas James (d. 1504). About i 2 m. from the town is the pierce de Champ Dolent, a menhir some 30 ft. in height; not far off stands the great granite rock of Mont Dol, over 200 ft. in height, surmounted by the statue and chapel of Notre-Dame de l'Esperance. Dol has trade in grain, vegetables and fruit, tobacco is cultivated in the neighbourhood and there are saltmarshes. Tanning and leather-currying are carried on in the town. The town was unsuccessfully besieged by William the Conqueror, taken by Henry II. in 1164 and by Guy de Thouars in 1204. In 1793 it witnessed the defeat of the republican forces by the Vendeans who had taken refuge within its walls. The bishopric established in the 6th century was suppressed in 1790.

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