1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Évreux

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ÉVREUX, a town of north-western France, capital of the department of Eure, 67 m. W.N.W. of Paris on the Western railway to Cherbourg. Pop. (1906) town, 13,773; commune, 18,971. Situated in the pleasant valley of the Iton, arms of which traverse it, the town, on the south, slopes up toward the public gardens and the railway station. It is the seat of a bishop, and its cathedral is one of the largest and finest in France. Part of the lower portion of the nave dates from the 11th century; the west façade with its two ungainly towers is, for the most part, the work of the late Renaissance, and various styles of the intervening period are represented in the rest of the church. A thorough restoration was completed in 1896. The elaborate north transept and portal are in the flamboyant Gothic; the choir, the finest part of the interior, is in an earlier Gothic style. Cardinal de la Balue, bishop of Évreux in the latter half of the 15th century, constructed the octagonal central tower, with its elegant spire; to him is also due the Lady chapel, which is remarkable for some finely preserved stained glass. Two rose windows in the transepts and the carved wooden screens of the side chapels are masterpieces of 16th-century workmanship. The episcopal palace, a building of the 15th century, adjoins the south side of the cathedral. An interesting belfry, facing the handsome modern town hall, dates from the 15th century. The church of St Taurin, in part Romanesque, has a choir of the 14th century and other portions of later date; it contains the shrine of St Taurin, a work of the 13th century. At Vieil Évreux, 31/2 m. south-east of the town, the remains of a Roman theatre, a palace, baths and an aqueduct have been discovered, as well as various relics which are now deposited in the museum of Évreux. Évreux is the seat of a prefect, a court of assizes, of tribunals of first instance and commerce, a chamber of commerce and a board of trade arbitrators, and has a branch of the Bank of France, a lycée and training colleges for teachers. The making of ticking, boots and shoes, agricultural implements and gas motors, and metal-founding and bleaching are carried on.

Vieil-Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum) was the capital of the Gallic tribe of the Aulerci Eburovices and a flourishing city during the Gallo-Roman period. Its bishopric dates from the 4th century.

The first family of the counts of Évreux which is known was descended from an illegitimate son of Richard I., duke of Normandy, and became extinct in the male line with the death of Count William in 1118. The countship passed in right of Agnes, William’s sister, wife of Simon de Montfort-l’Amaury (d. 1087) to the house of the lords of Montfort-l’Amaury. Amaury III. of Montfort ceded it in 1200 to King Philip Augustus. Philip the Fair presented it (1307) to his brother Louis, for whose benefit Philip the Long raised the countship of Évreux into a peerage of France (1317). Philip of Évreux, son of Louis, became king of Navarre by his marriage with Jeanne, daughter of Louis the Headstrong (Hutin), and their son Charles the Bad and their grandson Charles the Noble were also kings of Navarre. The latter ceded his countships of Évreux, Champagne and Brie to King Charles VI. (1404). In 1427 the countship of Évreux was bestowed by King Charles VII. on Sir John Stuart of Darnley (c. 1365–1429), the commander of his Scottish bodyguard, who in 1423 had received the seigniory of Aubigny and in February 1427/8 was granted the right to quarter the royal arms of France for his victories over the English (see Lady Elizabeth Cust, Account of the Stuarts of Aubigny in France, 1422–1672, 1891). On Stuart’s death (before Orleans during an attack on an English convoy) the countship reverted to the crown. It was again temporarily alienated (1569–1584) as an appanage for Francis, duke of Anjou, and in 1651 was finally made over to Frédéric Maurice de la Tour d’Auvergne, duke of Bouillon, in exchange for the principality of Sedan.