Last modified: 2004-10-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: maine-et-loire | segre |
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by Arnaud Leroy
The city of Segré (7,155 inhabitants; 1,587 hectares) is located in the westernmost part of Anjou, therefore closed to Brittany. Segré was built around a schistose spur dominating the confluency of the rivers Oudon and Verzée. The region around the city is called Segréen, and is characterized by a bocage landscape (farmland crisscrossed by hedges and trees) dedicated to mixed farming and cattle breeding. The Segréen is also an industrial region, with iron mines and slate quarries.
The Latin name of Segré was Secretum, meaning isolated, secret. The village indeed seems to have remained isolated until the Xth century, when Foulques I le Roux, the founder of the first house of Anjou, built a fort on the schistose spur dominating the village. The fort was a simple wooden tower erected on a stand of earth. In the XIth century, the fiercy count Foulques III Nerra replaced the wooden tower by a big stone donjon. The fort was seized in 1066 by duke of Brittany Conan II. In 1191, the domain of Segré, belonging to Geoffroy de la Guerche, was confiscated by king of England and duke of Normandy Richard Lionheart, who offered it to his wife Berangere of Navarra.
The city of Segré was completely trashed in 1490 by plunderers who scoured upper Anjou. In the XVIth century, during the Religious Wars, the city took the party of the Ligue (also known as the Sainte Ligue or the Sainte Union), which was the union of the Catholic princes led by duke Henri I of Guise. King of France Henri III ordered Guise's assassination in Blois in 1588, causing an uprising that spread from Paris to the rest of France. In 1589, count of la Rochepot seized Segré in the name of Henri III, who was murdered the same year. The city was trashed and the fort and the city walls were suppressed, as well as all the fortified manors in the neighborhood. In 1635, cardinal of Richelieu made of Segré a barony for his protégé Guillaume II de Bautru, lord of Louvaines.
After the French Revolution, Segré was seized in 1795 by 2,000 Chouan counter-revolutionaries, who got rid of 200 Republican soldiers in four hours. The city was quickly seized back by the Republicans and remained a Republican stronghold in a mostly Royalist region. Accordingly, Segré became a sous-préfecture of the department of Maine-et-Loire in 1800, causing the wrath of the inhabitants of le Lion-d'Angers, then a bigger and less isolated city. Segré was indeed a fairly small city, with only 700 inhabitants in 1841. The incorporation of neighbouring municipalities and the industrial development caused a steady increase in the population: 2,894 in 1878; 3,551 in 1891; 4,874 in 1939; and 7,155 today.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004
The municipal flag of Segré, as shown on a photography by Frédéric Prat, is white with the municipal arms of Segre outlined in black.
Pascal Vagnat, 10 April 2004
The coat of arms of Segré is:
Ecartelé, au premier et au quatrième, d'argent à une bande d'azur; au second et au troisième, d'azur à un pal d'argent. (blazon by Pascal Vagnat).
Brian Timms gives the English blazon as:
Quarterly first and fourth argent a bend azure second and third azure a pale argent.
These arms were ascribed in the Armorial Général ordered by Louis XIV in 1696. Since the main goal of the Armorial was to get money, several cities and villages attempted to avoid paying the registration fee by claiming they had never had any coat of arms. In such cases, the local editors of the Armorial invented coats of arms, often based on a preconceived regional pattern. Timms lists several villages located between Angers and Segré whose coat of arms were blatantly designed on a common template (quartered with bends and/or pales):
Ivan Sache, 10 April 2004