Falaise - Encyclopedia




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FALAISE, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Calvados, on the right bank of the Ante, 19 m. S. by E. of Caen by road. Pop. (1906) 6215. The principal object of interest is the castle, now partly in ruins, but formerly the seat of the dukes of Normandy and the birthplace of William the Conqueror. It is situated on a lofty crag overlooking the town, and consists of a square mass defended by towers and flanked by a small donjon and a lofty tower added by the English in the 15th century; the rest of the castle dates chiefly from the 12th century. Near the castle, in the Place de la Trinite, is an equestrian statue in bronze of William the Conqueror, to whom the town owed its prosperity. The churches of La Trinite and St Gervais combine the Gothic and Renaissance styles of architecture, and St Gervais also includes Romanesque workmanship. A street passes by way of a tunnel beneath the choir of La Trinite. Falaise has populous suburbs, one of which, Guibray, is celebrated for its annual fair for horses, cattle and wool, which has been held in August since the 11th century. The town is the seat of a subprefecture and has tribunals of first instance and commerce, a chamber of arts and manufacture, a board of trade-arbitrators and a communal college. Tanning and important manufactures of hosiery are carried on.

From 1417, when after a siege of forty-seven days it succumbed to Henry V., king of England, till 1450, when it was retaken by the French, Falaise was in the hands of the English.

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