1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Beaune

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BEAUNE, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Côte-d’Or, on the Bouzoise, 23 m. S.S.W. of Dijon on the main line of the Paris-Lyon railway. Pop. (1906) 11,668. Beaune lies at the foot of the hills of Côte-d’Or. Portions of its ancient fortifications are still to be seen, but they have been for the most part replaced by a shady promenade which separates the town from its suburbs. The most interesting feature of Beaune is the old hospital of St Esprit, founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy. Though it is built largely of wood, the fabric is in good preservation. The exterior is simple, but the buildings which surround the main courtyard have high-pitched roofs surmounted by numerous dormer windows with decorated gables, recalling the Flemish style of architecture. In the interior there are several interesting apartments; the chief of these is the ample council chamber with its fine tapestries, where an important wine sale is held annually. The hospital possesses many artistic treasures, among them the mural paintings of the 17th century in the Salle St Hugues and an altar-piece, the Last Judgment, attributed to Roger van der Weyden. The principal church of the town, Notre-Dame, dating mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries, has a fine central tower and a triple portal with handsome wooden doors. In the interior there is some valuable tapestry of the 15th century, and other works of art. Two round towers (15th century) are a survival of the castle of Beaune, dismantled by Henry IV. A belfry of 1403 and several houses of the Renaissance period, some of which are built over ancient wine-cellars, are architecturally notable. There is a statue to the mathematician, G. Monge, born in the town (1746), and a monument to Pierre Joigneaux the politician (d. 1892). Beaune has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a school of agriculture and viticulture and colleges for girls and boys. It carries on considerable trade in live-stock and cereals and in the vegetables of its market-gardens, and manufactures of casks, corks, white metal, oil, vinegar and machinery for the wine-trade are included among the industries; it is chiefly important for its vineyards and as the centre of the wine-trade of Burgundy.

Beaune was a fortified Roman camp and a stronghold during the middle ages. It was the capital of a separate county which in 1227 was united to the duchy of Burgundy; it then became the first seat of the Burgundian parlement or jours généraux and a ducal residence. On the death of Charles the Bold, it sided with his daughter, Mary of Burgundy, but was besieged and taken by the forces of Louis XI. in 1478. Its rank as commune, conceded to it in 1203, was confirmed by Francis I. in 1521. In the Wars of Religion it at first sided with the League, but afterwards opened its gates to the troops of Henry IV., from whom it received the confirmation of its communal privileges and permission to demolish its fortifications. The revocation of the edict of Nantes struck a severe blow at the cloth and iron industries, which had previously been a source of prosperity to the town. In the 18th century there were no fewer than seven monastic buildings in Beaune, besides a Bernardine abbey, a Carthusian convent and an ecclesiastical college.