Beaumont-du-Périgord

Written by Mélina Landas

"Beaumont" derives its name from the French Occitan "bèl mont" - the hill on which the village was built (altitude: 144 m). Many believe that Beaumont was designed in the shape of an « H », in honor of Edward I’s father, Henry III of England, though this is incorrect. The bastide follows a rectangular building plan with the heart of the village measuring 338 meters by 137 meters, the streets are all straight and cross at right angles - a method used in all bastides.

Beaumont has been the main village within the canton from 1790 to 2015, and changed its name in 2001 to become Beaumont-du-Périgord. In 2016, the commune grew to include Labouquerie, Nojals-et-Clotte and Sainte-Sabine-de-Born, and Beaumont-du-Périgord then became Beaumontois en Périgord. The commune now covers and area of 72.71 km² compared to 24.18 km² previously.

 

The bastide has managed to preserve its wonderful heritage dating back to the Middle Ages. The market square, arcades and many of the houses were constructed in the XIV, XV and XVI centuries, and most are listed. Next to the square lies the magnificent fortified church of Saints Laurent and Front, and is an excellent example of military Périgord architecture. It’s also possible to see the remains of the fortified wall and the recently restored grand medieval gate – the Porte de Luzier - the only remaining medieval gateway of the original sixteen entrances to the village. The current covered hall on the square is a copy of the original, this having been removed in 1864 as it was deemed unsafe.

Over the years...
This "new city" was founded in 1272 for the King of England - Edward I - by Lucas de Thaney who was the Seneschal of Guyenne. Its foundation is the result of a contract between the Abbey of Saint-Avit-Sénieur, the Abbot of Cadouin and the Lord of Biron in order to defend the border from the County of Toulouse (then French territory) - though people were already living in the village before it officially became a bastide.

Five years later in 1277, Edward I encouraged people to move to the bastide with the promise of a charter that would give them more freedom. They could have a house and grow crops - and wouldn’t have to answer to their lord, so achieving more control of their lives. Additionally they’d be protected from the baliffs and court, as neither body could arrest them or seize their belongings.

During the Hundred Years War, the English occupied the bastide for the majority of the time up to 1442. In that year, Pierre de Beaufort and the Vicount of Turenne fought for and won the control of the bastide, thus giving the power to the French.

In the eighteenth century the city lost its fortified aspect, and parts of the wall were sold to local residents who built their houses against it.

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