Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It is also known as the first major town secured by the Allies during Operation Overlord. Charles de Gaulle made two famous speeches in this town.
Location of Bayeux
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Patrick Gomont|
|7.11 km2 (2.75 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||32–67 m (105–220 ft)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Bayeux is located 7 kilometres (4 miles) from the coast of the English Channel and 30 km (19 mi) north-west of Caen. The city, with elevations varying from 32 to 67 metres (105 to 220 feet) above sea level – with an average of 46 metres (151 feet) – is bisected by the River Aure. Bayeux is located at the crossroads of RN 13 and the train route Paris-Caen-Cherbourg. The city is the capital of the Bessin, which extends north-west of Calvados.
The city was known as Augustodurum in the Roman Empire. It means the durum (Celtic word duro- 'door', 'gate', Welsh dor, Breton dor 'door', 'gate') dedicated to Augustus, Roman Emperor. The Celtic word duron, Latinised as durum, was probably used to translate the Latin word forum (Compare Fréjus Forum Julii, dedicated to Julius (Caesar)).
In the Late Empire it took the name of the Celtic tribe who lived here: the Bodiocassi, Latinized in Bajocassi, Bajocasses, and this word explains the place-names Bayeux and Bessin. Bodiocassi has been compared with Old Irish Buidechass 'with blond locks'.
Founded as a Gallo-Roman settlement in the 1st century BC under the name Augustodurum, Bayeux is the capital of the former territory of the Baiocasses people of Gaul, whose name appears in Pliny's Natural History (iv.107). Evidence of earlier human occupation of the territory comes from fortified Celtic camps, but there is no evidence of any major pre-existing Celtic town before the organization of Gaul in Roman civitates. Any settlement was more likely confined to scattered Druid huts along the banks of the Aure and Drome rivers or on Mount Phaunus where they worshiped. Cemeteries have been found on the nearby Mount Phaunus indicating the area as a Druid centre. Titus Sabinus, a lieutenant of Julius Caesar, subjected the Bessin region to Roman domination. The 5th-century Notitia provinciarum et civitatum Galliae mentions Suevi that had been officially settled here (laeti).
The town is mentioned by Ptolemy, writing in the reign of Antoninus Pius, under the name Noemagus Biducassium (for *Noviomagus Badiocassium 'New market of the Badiocassi') and remained so until the time of the Roman Empire. The main street was already the heart of the city. Two baths, under the Church of St. Lawrence and the post office in rue Laitière, and a sculpted head of the goddess Minerva have been found, attesting to the adoption of Roman culture. In 1990 a closer examination of huge blocks discovered in the cathedral in the 19th century indicated the presence of an old Roman building. Bayeux was built on a crossroads between Lisieux and Valognes, developing first on the west bank of the river. By the end of the 3rd century a walled enclosure surrounded the city and remained until it was removed in the 18th century. Its layout is still visible and can be followed today. The citadel of the city was located in the southwest corner and the cathedral the southeast. An important city in Normandy, Bayeux was part of the coastal defence of the Roman Empire against the pirates of the region, and a Roman legion was stationed there.
The city was largely destroyed during the Viking raids of the late 9th century but was rebuilt in the early 10th century under the reign of Bothon. In the middle of the 10th century Bayeux was controlled by Hagrold, a pagan Viking who defended the city against the Franks. The 12th-century poet Benoît de Saint-Maure, in his verse history of the dukes of Normandy, remarked on the "Danish" commonly spoken at Bayeux.
The 11th century saw the creation of five villages beyond the walls to the north east evidence of its growth during Ducal Normandy. William the Conqueror's half brother Odo, Earl of Kent completed the cathedral in the city and it was dedicated in 1077. However the city began to lose prominence when William placed his capital at Caen. When King Henry I of England defeated his brother Robert Curthose for the rule of Normandy, the city was burned to set an example to the rest of the duchy. Under Richard the Lionheart, Bayeux was wealthy enough to purchase a municipal charter. From the end of Richard's reign to the end of the Hundred Years' War, Bayeux was repeatedly pillaged until Henry V of England captured the city in 1417. After the Battle of Formigny, Charles VII of France recaptured the city and granted a general amnesty to its populace in 1450. The capture of Bayeux heralded a return to prosperity as new families replaced those decimated by war and these built some 60 mansions scattered throughout the city, with stone supplanting wood.
The area around Bayeux is called the Bessin, which was the bailiwick of the province Normandy until the French Revolution. During the Second World War, Bayeux was the first city of the Battle of Normandy to be liberated, and on 16 June 1944 General Charles de Gaulle made the first of two major speeches in Bayeux in which he made clear that France sided with the Allies. The buildings in Bayeux were virtually untouched during the Battle of Normandy, the German forces being fully involved in defending Caen from the Allies.
The Bayeux War Cemetery with its memorial includes the largest British cemetery dating from the Second World War in France. There are 4,648 graves, including 3,935 British and 466 Germans. Most of those buried there were killed in the invasion of Normandy.
Royal British Legion National, every 5 June at 1530 hrs, attends the 3rd Division Cean Memorial Service and beating retreat ceremony. On the 6th of June, it holds a remembrance service in Bayeux Cathedral starting at 1015 hrs, and later at 1200 hrs, the Royal British Legion National holds a service of remembrance at the Bayeux Cemetery. All services are open to the public, all Standards RBL, NVA, RN, ARMY, and RAF service and Regimental Associations are welcome to attend and parade. Details can be found at www.rblsomme.org
The French town of Bayeux is also the home of a memorial to all of the journalists who have lost their lives while reporting. The memorial was designed by Samuel Craquelin, who is a French architect. The memorial lists the names of 1,889 journalists killed between 1944 and 2007. The memorial was established in Bayeux because of its historic liberation on 7 June 1944.
The river Aure flows through Bayeux, offering panoramic views from a number of locations. The Aure has a relatively high level of turbidity and the speed of its brownish water is moderate because of the slight slope of the watercourse, although where it is narrow in places like the centre of Bayeux, higher surface speeds are generated. In the centre of Bayeux near the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, pH levels were measured at 8.35 and the electrical conductivity of water was tested at 37 microsiemens per centimetre. Turbidity was measured at 13 centimetres by the Secchi disk method. At this point of reference, flows are generally of the order of 50 cubic feet per second (1.4 m3/s).
The inhabitants of Bayeux are called Bayeusains [bajøzɛ̃] or Bajocasses [baʒokas].
Bayeux is a major tourist attraction, best known to British and French visitors for the Bayeux tapestry, made to commemorate events in the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. According to the legend, the tapestry was made by Reine Mathilde, wife of William the Conqueror. In fact, it may have been designed and woven in England. It is displayed in a museum in the town centre. The large Norman-Romanesque and Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux, consecrated in 1077, was arguably the original home of the tapestry where William's half-brother Odo of Bayeux (represented on the tapestry with a wooden club at the Battle of Hastings), would have had it displayed.
Agy is a French commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region of north-western France.Arrondissement of Bayeux
The Arrondissement of Bayeux an arrondissement of France in the Calvados department in the Normandy region. Since the January 2017 reorganization of the arrondissements of Calvados, it has 123 communes.Arrondissements of the Calvados department
The 4 arrondissements of the Calvados department are, since the January 2017 reform:
Arrondissement of Bayeux, (subprefecture: Bayeux) with 123 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 68,130 in 2013.
Arrondissement of Caen, (prefecture of the Calvados department: Caen) with 208 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 417,015 in 2013.
Arrondissement of Lisieux, (subprefecture: Lisieux) with 162 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 147,277 in 2013.
Arrondissement of Vire, (subprefecture: Vire-Normandie) with 44 communes. The population of the arrondissement was 57,523 in 2013.Asnelles
Asnelles is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region of north-western France.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Asnellois or Asnelloises.Bayeux Cathedral
Bayeux Cathedral, also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of Bayeux (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux), is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of Bayeux in Normandy, France. A national monument, it is the seat of the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux and was the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry. The cathedral is in the Norman-Romanesque architectural tradition.
The site is an ancient one and was once occupied by Roman sanctuaries. The present cathedral was consecrated on 14 July 1077 in the presence of William, Duke of Normandy and King of England. It was here that William forced Harold Godwinson to take the oath, the breaking of which led to the Norman conquest of England.Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry (UK: , US: ; French: Tapisserie de Bayeux [tapisʁi də bajø] or La telle du conquest; Latin: Tapete Baiocense) is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long and 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings. It is thought to date to the 11th century, within a few years after the battle. It tells the story from the point of view of the conquering Normans, but is now agreed to have been made in England.
According to Sylvette Lemagnen, conservator of the tapestry, in her 2005 book La Tapisserie de Bayeux:
The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque .... Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous ... Its exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colours, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating.
The cloth consists of some fifty scenes with Latin tituli, embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns. It is likely that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo, William's half-brother, and made in England—not Bayeux—in the 1070s. In 1729 the hanging was rediscovered by scholars at a time when it was being displayed annually in Bayeux Cathedral. The tapestry is now exhibited at the Musée ( mu-say)de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, Normandy, France (49.2744°N 0.7003°W / 49.2744; -0.7003).
The designs on the Bayeux Tapestry are embroidered rather than woven, so that it is not technically a tapestry. Nevertheless, it has always been referred to as a tapestry until recent years when the name "Bayeux Embroidery" has gained ground among certain art historians. It can be seen as a rare example of secular Romanesque art. Tapestries adorned both churches and wealthy houses in Medieval Western Europe, though at 0.5 by 68.38 metres (1.6 by 224.3 ft, and apparently incomplete) the Bayeux Tapestry is exceptionally large. Only the figures and decoration are embroidered, on a background left plain, which shows the subject very clearly and was necessary to cover large areas.
On 18 January 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the Bayeux Tapestry would be loaned to Britain for public display. It is expected to be exhibited at the British Museum in London, but not before 2020. It will be the first time that it has left France in 950 years.Bayeux lace
Bayeux lace was bobbin lace that was made at Bayeux in Normandy, France.
Caen was one of the major centres of the Bayeux lacemaking area. Three types of lace were produced there from the early 19th century under the management of Auguste Lefebure:
the original blonde de Caen, with its sprinkling of point d'esprit in the cobwebby ground, and the suggestion of curved petals of shiny white silk along the border
blonde mate (as in matt, a smooth close texture) in the Spanish style, made from 1829
the grillé blanc (French meaning a mesh or grill, half stitch), a form of white Chantilly lace, fashionable 1800-1820, with a fond simple ground, with floral sprays worked in half stitch, using silk or flax.From 1850s, mainly black lace was produced.Bayeux war cemetery
The Bayeux War Cemetery is the largest Second World War cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France, located in Bayeux, Normandy. The cemetery contains 4,648 burials, mostly of the Invasion of Normandy. Opposite this cemetery stands the Bayeux Memorial which commemorates more than 1,800 casualties of the Commonwealth forces who died in Normandy and have no known grave.The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by France in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of France during the war. In addition to the Commonwealth burials, there are 466 graves of German soldiers.
The cemetery contains the Cross of Sacrifice or War Cross, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).
Queen Elizabeth II and President of France Jacques Chirac attended ceremonies at the cemetery on 6 June 2004, marking the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.Queen Elizabeth II and President of France François Hollande attended ceremonies at the cemetery on 6 June 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.Calvados's 5th constituency
The 5th constituency of Calvados is a French legislative constituency in the Calvados département.
It includes Bayeux, famous for its tapestry.Canton of Bayeux
The canton of Bayeux is an administrative division of the Calvados department, northwestern France. Its borders were modified at the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015. Its seat is in Bayeux.Eustace II, Count of Boulogne
Eustace II, (c. 1015 – c. 1087), also known as Eustace aux Gernons (with moustaches) was Count of Boulogne from 1049–1087. He fought on the Norman side at the Battle of Hastings, and afterwards received large grants of land forming an honour in England. He is one of the few proven companions of William the Conqueror. It has been suggested that Eustace was the patron of the Bayeux Tapestry.Franck Dumas
Franck Dumas (born 9 January 1968 in Bayeux, Calvados) is a French former professional football player who played as a defender and current football coach. He is currently the head coach of JS Kabylie.Harold Godwinson
Harold Godwinson (c. 1022 – 14 October 1066), often called Harold II, was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England. Harold reigned from 6 January 1066 until his death at the Battle of Hastings, fighting the Norman invaders led by William the Conqueror during the Norman conquest of England. His death marked the end of Anglo-Saxon rule over England.
Harold was a powerful earl and member of a prominent Anglo-Saxon family with ties to Cnut the Great. Upon the death of his brother-in-law King Edward the Confessor on 5 January 1066, the Witenagemot convened and chose Harold to succeed; he was crowned in Westminster Abbey. In late September, he successfully repelled an invasion by rival claimant Harald Hardrada of Norway before marching his army back south to meet William the Conqueror at Hastings two weeks later.Odo of Bayeux
Odo of Bayeux (died 1097), Earl of Kent and Bishop of Bayeux, was the half-brother of William the Conqueror, and was, for a time, second in power after the King of England.Philip de Harcourt
Philip de Harcourt was a medieval Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of Bayeux. He was unsuccessfully elected as the Bishop of Salisbury.Poppa of Bayeux
Poppa of Bayeux (born circa 880), was the Christian wife or mistress (perhaps more danico) of the Viking conqueror Rollo. She was the mother of William I Longsword, Gerloc and grandmother of Richard the Fearless, who forged the Duchy of Normandy into a great fief of medieval France. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, in his panegyric of the Norman dukes, describes her as the daughter of a "Count Berengar", the dominant prince of that region, who was captured at Bayeux by Rollo in 885 or 889, shortly after the siege of Paris. This has led to speculation that she was the daughter of Berengar II of Neustria.There are different opinions among medieval genealogy experts about Poppa's family. Christian Settipani says her parents were Guy de Senlis and Cunegundis, the daughter of Pepin, Count of Vermandois, and sister of Herbert I, Count of Vermandois. Katherine Keats-Rohan states she was the daughter of Berengar II of Neustria by Adelind, whose father was Henry, Margrave of the Franks, or Adela of Vermandois. Despite the uncertainty of her parentage, she undoubtedly was a member of the Frankish aristocracy. A statue of Poppa stands at the Place de Gaulle in Bayeux.Quaker Tapestry
The Quaker Tapestry consists of 77 panels illustrating the history of Quakerism from the 17th century to the present day. The idea of Quaker Anne Wynn-Wilson, the tapestry has a permanent home at the Friends Meeting House at Kendal, Cumbria, England.
The design was heavily influenced by the Bayeux Tapestry, and includes similar design choices, including three horizontal divisions within panels, embroidered outlines for faces and hands, and solid infilling of clothing, which is embroidered in the Bayeux technique. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery using woollen yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to using four historic and well-known stitches (split stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and Peking knot), Wynn-Wilson invented a new corded stitch, known as Quaker stitch, to allow for tight curves on the lettering.
Each panel measures 25 inches (64 cm) wide by 21 inches (53 cm) tall.
4,000 men, women and children from 15 countries worked on the panels between 1981 and 1989.
Panels have been toured in traveling exhibitions including a North American tour in 1993/1994. An exhibition of 39 panels in Ely Cathedral in 2012 attracted 11,273 visitors during its 27-day stay.Roman Catholic Diocese of Bayeux
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bayeux and Lisieux (Latin: Dioecesis Baiocensis et Lexoviensis; French: Diocèse de Bayeux et Lisieux) is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese is coextensive with the Department of Calvados and is a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Rouen, which is also in Normandy.
At the time of the Concordat of 1802, the ancient Diocese of Lisieux was united to that of Bayeux. A pontifical Brief, in 1854, authorized the Bishop of Bayeux to call himself Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux.Thomas of Bayeux
Thomas of Bayeux (died 18 November 1100) was Archbishop of York from 1070 until 1100. He was educated at Liège and became a royal chaplain to Duke William of Normandy, who later became King William I of England. After the Norman Conquest, the king nominated Thomas to succeed Ealdred as Archbishop of York. After Thomas' election, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, demanded an oath from Thomas to obey him and any future Archbishops of Canterbury; this was part of Lanfranc's claim that Canterbury was the primary bishopric, and its holder the head of the English Church. Thomas countered that York had never made such an oath. As a result, Lanfranc refused to consecrate him. The King eventually persuaded Thomas to submit, but Thomas and Lanfranc continued to clash over ecclesiastical issues, including the primacy of Canterbury, which dioceses belonged to the province of York, and the question of how York's obedience to Canterbury would be expressed.
After King William I's death Thomas served his successor, William II, and helped to put down a rebellion led by Thomas' old mentor Odo of Bayeux. Thomas also attended the trial for rebellion of the Bishop of Durham, William de St-Calais, Thomas' sole suffragan, or bishop subordinate to York. During William II's reign Thomas once more became involved in the dispute with Canterbury over the primacy when he refused to consecrate the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, if Anselm was named the Primate of England in the consecration service. After William II's sudden death in 1100, Thomas arrived too late to crown King Henry I, and died soon after the coronation.