Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.
Monstrelet[40], from whom I have transcribed this detail, adds, that “it was pitiful to hear and see the sorrow of these poor people, thus driven away from their homes; the priests and clergy were likewise dismissed; and, in regard to the wealth found there, it was not to be told, and appertained even to the King, who distributed it as he pleased.”  Other writers tell us that the number of those thus expelled was eight thousand, and that the conqueror, not satisfied with this act of vengeance, publicly burned the charters and archives of the town and the title-deeds of individuals, re-peopled Harfleur with English, and forbad the few inhabitants that remained to possess or inherit any landed property.  After a lapse, however, of twenty years, the peasants of the neighboring country, aided by one hundred and four of the inhabitants, retook the place by assault.  The exploit was gallant; and a custom continued to prevail in Harfleur, for above two centuries subsequently, intended to commemorate it; a bell was tolled one hundred and four times every morning at day-break, being the time when the attack was made.  In 1440, the citizens, undismayed by the sufferings of their predecessors, withstood a second siege from our countrymen, whom the town resisted four months, and in whose possession it remained ten years, when Charles VIIIth permanently united it to the crown of France.  Notwithstanding these calamities, it rose again to a state of prosperity, till the revocation of the edict of Nantes gave the death-blow to its commerce; and intolerance completed the desolation which war had begun.  At present, it is only remarkable for the elegant tower and spire of its church, connected by flying buttresses of great beauty, the whole of rich and elaborate workmanship.

[Illustration:  Tower and Spire of Harfleur Church]

At a short distance from Harfleur, the Seine comes in view, flowing into the sea through a fine rich valley; but the wide expanse of water has no picturesque beauty.  The hills around Havre are plentifully spotted with gentlemen’s houses, few only of which have been seen in other parts in the ride.  The town itself is strongly fortified; and, having conducted you hither, I shall leave you for the present, reserving for another letter any particulars respecting Havre, and the rest of the road to Rouen.


[25] Antiquites de Normandie, p. 53.

[26] Dumoulin, Geographie de la France, II p. 80.

[27] Description de la Haute Normandie, I. p. 109.

[28] Heylin notices the familiarity of the approach of the French servants, in his delineation of a Norman inn.  An extract may amuse those who are not familiar with the works of this quaint yet sensible writer.  “There stood in the chamber three beds, if at the least it be lawful so to call them; the foundation of them was straw, so infinitely thronged together, that the wool-packs which our judges sit on in the

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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