Tonnerre - Encyclopedia




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TONNERRE, a town of north-central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Yonne, 52 m. S.E. of Sens on the Paris-Lyon railway. Pop. (1906), 3974It is situated on a slope of the vineclad hills on the left bank of the Armancon. At the foot of the hill rises the spring of Fosse-Dionne, enclosed in a circular basin 49 ft. in diameter. The town has two interesting churches. That of St Pierre, which crowns the hill, possesses a fine lateral portal of the Renaissance period to which the church, with the exception of the choir (1351), belongs. The .church of Notre-Dame is mainly Gothic, but the facade is a fine specimen of Renaissance architecture. The Salle des Malades, a large timber-roofed apartment in the hospital, dates from the end of the 13th century and is used as a chapel. It is 330 ft. long and contains the tombs of Margaret of Burgundy, wife of Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily, and foundress of the hospital, and of Francois-Michel Le Tellier, marquis of Louvois, war minister of Louis XIV. The hospital itself was rebuilt in the 10th century. The Renaissance Hotel d'Uzes was built in the 16th century. Tonnerre is the seat of a sub-prefect and has a tribunal of first instance. The vineyards of the vicinity produce wellknown wines. The trade of the town is chiefly in wine, in the good building-stone found in the neighbourhood and in Portland cement. Cooperage is carried on.

Its ancient name of Tornodorum points to a Gallic or GalloRoman origin for Tonnerre. In the 6th century it became the capital of the region of Tonnerrois and in the 10th century of a countship. After passing into the possession of several noble families, it was bought from a count of Clermont-Tonnerre by Louvois, by whose descendants it was held up to the time of the Revolution.

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