History of Sérigny
Two century ago the Foussais region was completely covered by forests and lands. The Roman colonizers transformed the country by clearing the forests. In the third century, the first luxurious mansions came out of the ground, the dwellers started to see the fruit of their efforts of deforestation and vineyards, orchards, farms, crops were harvested…
Attracted by this success, a new settler tied his chance. It was known as Serenus and settled on a site which is where the Château de Serigny stands. At the centre of the field, the presence of an inexhaustible spring made this place particularly suitable for settling. The estate, Sereniacum, stretched from the spring of Maigre Souris to the fields of Vux. In the first century the property of Serenus is established.
In the 7th century, the Merovingian kings being short of money, Fusciacum (Foussais domain) which belonged to the State, is responsible for managing taxes of three contiguous areas (Payré, Sérigny, Breuil). and to transmit them to the account of the King. Which allowed Foussais, the younger area to become the administrative center.
Subsequently, in the 8th century, the fields become the property of the count of Poitiers, under the high patronage of the Abbey of Canon de Saint Hilaire le Grand (Poitiers).
The territory of the bishop and the parish priest of Foussais was still four areas but many pieces of land had been the subject of lengthy leases that made their tenants as real owners. Hence the “owners” held the rank of Chief, for all those who lived and worked on these lands. As early as the 9th century large areas became known as “Lordships”.
During an invasion, most likely that of November 4, 852 when the Normans found themselves anmaster of the country for a while, the field of Serigne was destroyed, the castle left in ruins and most of the land were abandoned. When the Normans left, the castle was restored to provide work to the refugees who havefled areas too close to the Norman positions. On the cleared lands, the Bishop of Poitiers Ebroin, who assumes the responsibilities of count, establishes for his use a Maxiora (shepherd) which is called “the farm of aliens”, extinct today.
In 993, Guillaume Fièrebrace, count of Poitiers, whose wife Emma of Blois is the daughter of Thibault the cheater, count of Angers, Tours and Blois give the Foussais Parish to the Abbey of Bourgueil.
By this donation, the Abbey of St Hilaire le Grand that was deprived of land, gets the County the Serigne Maxoria, which is the village and its immediate surroundings.
In the 13th century, Foussais had rich families with several with titles of their fields.
The trade of the droguets (material and fabrics…) which began and which, a few years later would grow prodigiously, brought little by little the wealth of some families.
From this time on, the houses grow and spread. Sérigny, always dependent of the bishop of Saint-Hilaire de Poitiers, take advantage of this prosperous period to transform itself into a more spacious domain.
The bishops willing to sell the field of Sérigny in the middle of the 16th century, the family of Encreve family bought the domain. The House is transformed over time and known as manor when the Lords and wealthy merchants arrive. Today, the Castle is divided in two historical parts, one is dated 1601 where improvements are visible, and the other part in in the style of “Viollet-le-Duc”, designed by the architect ‘Libaudière’ in 1896.
Where does come the name “Sérigny? In the 3rd century, under Roman rule, the Roman Serinus will leave his name that will evolve over time (Serigne, Sairigné, Fairigne, Ferigne…) to this small place which today bears the name of Serigny.
Sérigny and the war of Vendée
In the outskirts of the “Vendée Militaire» Sérigny and Foussais have been relatively little affected by the three wars of the Vendée. Sérigny yet lived within these walls a cruel tragedy: her owner was shot in the back yard.
The city of Fontenay le Comte was the scene of one of the firsts battles but will be quickly ignored by the conflict and will be totally spared by the wars from 1799 to 1800, 1815 and 1832. As in most rural areas, cruel isolated acts, often very barbaric, were common and have not spared the Foussais region.
As in many cities, Fontenay saw many heads cut by the guillotine. In 1793, after the capture of Thouars, the vendéen officers Council decides to walk towards the South and attacks Fontenay le Comte. Three days after the capture of “La Chataigneraie” on May 13, 1793, the vendéen army arrives in front of Fontenay, renamed by the Republicans:f Fontenay-le-peuple. The battle was lost by the Vendéens, 700 soldiers died and all their artillery, including their famous canon the “Marie-Jeanne” was captured by the Catholique and royale army in Coron was lost. However the vendéen army did not give up and deployed a new attack on 25 may 1793 to successfully seize Fontenay and retrieve the ‘Marie-Jeanne ‘. Then they abandoned Fontenay few days later.
Read the French version of the history of Sérigny!