NOYON, a city of N. France, in the department of Oise, 67 m. N.N.E. of Paris by the railway to Brussels. Pop. (1906) 59 68. Noyon is built at the foot and on the slopes of a hill, and traversed by a small stream, the Verse, which joins the Oise 1 m. farther down. The old cathedral of Notre-Dame, constructed on the site of a church burned in 11 3 1, is a fine example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. In plan it is a Latin cross, with a total length from E. to W. of about 340 ft.; the height of the nave vaulting is 75 ft. The west front has a porch, added in the 14th century, and two unfinished towers, their upper portions dating from the 13th century; its decorations have been greatly mutilated. The nave consists of eleven bays, including those of the W. front, which, in the interior, forms a kind of transept. In the windows of the aisles, the arches of the triforium, and the windows of the clerestory the round type is maintained; but double pointed arches appear in the lower gallery; and the vaults of the roof, originally six-ribbed, were rebuilt after a fire in 1293 in the prevailing Pointed style. The transepts have apsidal terminations. Side chapels were added in the N. aisle in the 14th century and in the S. aisle in the 15th and the 16th, one of the latter (15th) is especially rich in decorations. The flying buttresses of the building were restored in the 19th century in the style of the 12th century. From the N.W. corner of the nave runs the western gallery of a fine cloister erected in 1230; and next to the cloister is the chapter-house of the same date, with its entrance adorned with statues of the bishops and other sculpture. The bishops' tombs within the cathedral were destroyed during the Revolution. The chapel of the bishops' palace is an example of the Early Pointed style; the canons' library was built of wood early in the 16th century; and the town-hall (Gothic and Renaissance) dates from 1485-1523. Among the town manuscripts is the Red Book or communal charter of Noyon. Remains of the Roman walls may be traced. There is a statue to Jacques Sarrazin, the painter (1592-1660), a native of the town. Noyon has good trade in grain and live-stock, and contains chemical and artificial manure works, tanneries and ironfoundries and carries on sawmilling and sugar manufacture.
Noyon, the ancient Noviomagus Veromanduorum, was christianized by St Quentin at the close of the 3rd century; and about 530 St Medard, bishop of the district of Vermandois, transferred his see thither from St Quentin. The episcopate of St Eligius towards the middle of the 7th century, the burial of Chilperic I., the coronation of Pippin the Short in 752, and on the same occasion the coronation of his infant son Carloman with the title of king of Noyon, the coronation of Charlemagne in 768 and the election of Hugh Capet in 987, the plunder of the town by the Normans in 859 are the chief events in the history of Noyon down to the 10th century. Till the Revolution the bishopric was one of the ecclesiastical peerages of the kingdom. At the beginning of the 12th century Noyon easily obtained a communal charter through the favour of its bishops. The extent of the bishopric was considerably curtailed towards the middle of the 12th century by the breaking off of the diocese of Tournai. Noyon was ravaged by the English and the Burgundians during the Hundred Years' War. In 1516 a truce was signed there by Francis I. and Charles V. The city was captured by the Spaniards in 1552, and afterwards by the Leaguers, who were expelled in 1594 by Henry IV. John Calvin was born at Noyon in 1509.
See A. Lefranc, Histoire de Noyon jusqu'a la fin du XIII e siecle (Paris, 1887).
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