What is the history of your house

Most old houses have a story to tell.We found some fairly ancient wine

bottles hidden in the old bakery attached to the pigionier.

Just looking around at the buildings I can imagine the historic events which

took place and the detail of the various duties which people had to make their

wine enterprise work.

Have you found out about your house and the musteries which surround it?

Who has lived there in the past?

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My house was built in 1890. The two maiden ladies who lived in it from the time of its construction had a mother and a grandmother who worked as maids in the village 'Chateau de XYZ'. The owner of the chateau was killed in the Franco-Prussian war around 1870 so his sister, a countess, inherited it. She was not well and also had mental health issues.

In those days there were no banks and the currency was Louis d'Or. She used to keep them in a pile on the floor in the corner of her bedroom and it seems that the staff when passing used to pocket one or two at a time.

After she died of tuberculosis my house was built funded by the Louis d'Or and at the time of its completion was known as 'Le Petit XYZ'. It definitely has a resemblance to a chateau style with a double fronted exterior staircase, dormer windows and decorative roof trimmings.

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What a great question. Our house was a stable for one half. No-one lived here apart from horses - in what is now our kitchen. We kept the byres. But the other half of the house was reserved for a big copper vat to make eau du vie. The farmer - whose family owned the place - is one of the few left with the proper recipe and the rights to make it. We found quite a stash of it too! Dusty old bottles full of moonshine... didn't dare drink it after the neighbours told us after one sip they couldn't walk straight.

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Many thanks Brian... :)

Just as a parting shot for today. I just spoke to my OH about it. She simply opened the geoportail cadastrials plans and then I realised there are several maps, including Cassini, that overlay each other as you select them including the newest cadastre. Have a look and see what help that offers.

Well, Brian - it's all absolutely fascinating, and it's always interesting when people have a story to tell about where they are and maybe a story about what kind of a house they live in...we pinch ourselves sooo lucky! Today I had yet another villager talking to me today of what a beautiful and interesting house we have, so as I said I hope that one day we might just know a little more, so watch this space as they say... :) PS! Sounds like I'm bragging a bit here, but honestly it has taken us sooo many years and sooo many immobilier emails (that was my job, and I was close to going stir crazy as I got sooo many sent every day for a very long time) and sooo many many visits, and at a point last September, where we nearly gave up it all instantly changed the minute we stepped inside this wonderful house and returning a week later with friends, who just confirmed what we had seen and felt the week before...so here we are in wet, but beautiful Provence, which has its problems, but that's another story altogether... :)

Lis, there are maps that have the ancient cadastrale detail on them. I was shown examples but for the life of me cannot find them myself. I don't know the person who had them and cannot remember where exactly we were when we saw them. Périgueux probably. Anyway, we found the land where we are and the main house was then the ruin opposite us that is due to be demolished any time now but ours was there. We know it was owned by a branch of the Delors family who left the Corrèze to farm here, so not directly related to his nibs Jacques. They left many years ago, our predecessors came to this farm in 1948, the son is a neighbour down the road now. The house opposite has all but fallen down and will be removed now. It has a not especially nice story to it. The local history 'expert' told us this house was built a bit before 1750 but one tiny bit is older, so who knows exactly when. It was a local family who owned much of the valley and forest, had a vineyard, the place is still called les vielle vignes, which suffered from the serious blights early in the 20th century so that instead of planting the Californian descendants of regional vines, the Delors family let it go and cleared the land. It is still open meadowland today. in its prime the entire place must have been a large wealthy estate. However, the strange thing is there is no really big house of the kind one would expect, not the ruins and was never anywhere else. So, the story is intriguing generally and we constantly try to chip away at the history bit by bit.

Thanks Brian - yes, I had a look at the same map earlier today, but cannot really get to see any roads...when you click on your area (13) then 'the system' clicks you away...grrr... :(

Nearly her 'anniversary', secret is Thursday this week (no, I am not asking for a pressie) is also my b'day. I know a bit of the revolutionary history and once one has 1789 drummed in, the rest is easy in terms of dates.

Try: http://cartanciennes.free.fr/cassini/

It is a bit of toughie to find where you are but it is in black and white.

Brian - many thanks I shall persevere...and yes Marie-Antoinette lost her head on the 16th October 1793...Louis his in January the same year...

Ricky, the surveys were done from 1756 to 1789, 181 of them all told. All were published between 1756 and 1815. The 1815 publication is a list of all. You need to find the map that relates to your area and look at the legend where you will find the date. You can buy reproductions of them as well. They are not cheap but well worth having just to show where you are.

Lis, that is the year the royals lost their heads. Literally. But the Cassini map surveys were all completed so no 1793 version. If you find the edition of the area where you are, you can trace your village by using roads. They are fantastic since most of them correspond to modern surveys and when I went to a seminar on them the speaker did an overlay of a satellite shot over a section that showed just how accurate they are. Anyway, the roads will guide you to the location of your village then you will see the fields laid out that match cadastrial plans that we all have (hope you do) except for divisions since of course. You should, with a magnifying glass, be able to pick out where you are.

I found that is you click on the icons at the bottom (under the map) there is one for information if you click this (it will go grey) and then click where you want on the map it will give you all the details of that sheet including the dates. It looks like ours was modified a few times from 1757 to 1764. On this I can see a symbol for the village but cant be sure if it is our house or one of the others, but it seems to definately show the village

Brian - I have sort of found my way round the Cassini maps, thought I could not find our village, but then went to look under departments, and there it was. It looks like 'The Cassinis' started in 1793, with the first maps, which is sort of OK, as our house should be 'well' on the map! However, I cannot find a map over our village, so have sent them an email. The famous Silvacane Abbey, which is on the edge of our village, was built in the 12th & 13th centuries. The chateau de Florans was built in the 16th & 17th century...so the village has been here for a few years... :)

A small question that might be obvious but I cant find the answer:-

How do you find the age of the cassini map that relates to you area/village/house?


Lis, go to http://cassini.ehess.fr/cassini/fr/html/7_cassini.htm

If a house appears on a Cassini map it usually cannot be demolished because it is classified, historical build or something like that. We are near three UNESCO Heritage villages that are so protected that even wrong colour curtains (which only UK people appear to up) have been ordered down! There is still talk of when somebody painted a front door dark red some years ago which led to a visit from the maire and delegation, upon which they found it was the wrong style! Although it had been there for years it had been the right colour so nobody really noticed. There are apocryphal stories galore about things people have tried. The houses are in many cases far older, medieval usually, but if it is on Cassini just don't touch it.

I would hesitate about using a metal detector in our garden as RAF bombs fell all around in July 44 and killed more people in the village (and none of them Germans) than the Germans ever did. A small house adjoining our garden suffered a direct hit and a family of seven refugees was killed. I met a member of the family this year when I was present at a 70 year memorial event. She spoke movingly in favour of peace and had no grudge against the English. A few people round here are still very sensitive about Mers El Kebir though, as many Bretons perished at the hands of the British fleet.

We have been thinking about getting a metal detector... I'm sure though that once I got into bleeping around our plot - and wherever else it might lead me - I would never get any work done! Actually you've made me think... Our bread oven (churchy feel) barn has an earth floor... The renovation could be on the cards sooner rather than later!

Wow Chris, Id love to get someone like that to our house but Im sure my wife would be worried about disturbing "something" which I can understand. We have found some strange things in and around the house, well not strange just there location a little strange. Even our chickens have dug up childrens toys and things like this while they have been scratching around on the hill side. I found some old coins lodged in the floor and we found an old pendant between 2 floor boards in a bedroom, this was kind of strange becasue there was no reason for it not to have fallen right through to the room below.

Im looking forward to digging the floor which was the "ecurie" to see if there is anything exciting there. Next summer when we have cleared the felled trees we will see if we can find anything with a metal detector too while we try to find an old valve.

The newest, two storey part of our house in Brittany, was built in 1765 as an addition to what we believe was an earlier farmstead building for housing animals and grain storage, maybe a hundred years or so earlier. The Corps de Ferme took off around that time supplying the neighbouring Linen Merchant (posh house with carvings on the soffit boards) and his family with foodstuff (we are one of just two properties in our hamlet). At the end of our courtyard is a ruin which we know to have been the local school, taking in children from the nearest four or five hamlets. This was run by nuns who presumably also ran the farm.

The large bread oven, which sits at the back of our smallest barn, I think, provided not only bread for the nuns and the merchant's family, but would also have been a facility for the families whose offspring were taught at the school each day… I can just picture a gaggle of mums (and nuns) gossiping by the bread oven after the children have been brought into the courtyard and whilst the ladies waited for the oven to bake their daily bread! Quite a tight little community!

A medium (an Immobilier we worked with) who has visited our house, began getting all manner of twitches of 'inspiration' as we sat around the dining room table for a meeting… and has confirmed that spirits of the nuns still move around the house… all very warm and all very friendly thus far. The mother superior has already spared us from a few accidents around the place and seems to approve of our restoration of 'her' house in Brittany! I am investigating the possibility of religious persecution having gone on there as we have been told that there is also some 'treasure' buried on the land. Our visiting medium even doused for it… ("It may not have had much monetary value but it was precious to the person who buried it here, wishing to hide it from those who would do her harm"). My guess is that the nuns used our small barn (it does haven something of an ecclesiastical feel to it) for their devotions and that the treasure may have been their altar furniture which they wished to hide from the Huguenots.

This may all seem to be fanciful on my part… but there is sufficient hard evidence around (as well as anecdotes handed down through several generations of our neighbour's family) for me 'to join the dots' and patch together a fascinating history… I can feel a blog coming on!

Interesting Brian - the rooms downstairs have got big arches...I shall investigate, next year, as too much to do, and as I said, I hope to have a story to tell...our neighbour opposite has one of the biggest and grandest houses (an amazing house inside and outside) in our village and that's from the 18th century too...must ask an American who has a very big old lovely house on our village square, just around the corner from us, what year his house is from... :)