1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/St Claude
ST CLAUDE, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Jura, 42 m. S.S.E. of Lons-le-Saunier by rail. Pop. (1906) 9558. The town is beautifully situated 1300 ft. above sea-level at the western base of Mont Bayard, among the heights of the eastern Jura at the confluence of the Bienne and the Tacon. The latter river is crossed by a fine suspension bridge. The cathedral of St Pierre, once the abbey church, a building of the 14th to the 18th centuries, contains fine 15th-century stalls and a reredos of the Renaissance period. The town is the seat of a bishop, suffragan of Lyons, and of a sub-prefect. St Claude has been noted since the close of the middle ages for its fancy articles in horn, tortoise-shell, hardwood, ivory, &c., and there are manufactures of briar-root pipes. Diamond-cutting and lapidary work and the manufacture of measures are also prosperous industries.
The town derives its name from that of an archbishop of Besançon who died in the 7th century in the monastery founded here in the 5th century. This monastery subsequently acquired almost independent sovereignty in the locality, and held its retainers in a state of serfdom till the Revolution. Voltaire pleaded the cause of the serfs, though unsuccessfully, before the parlement of Besançon, and in memory of his services a statue was erected to him in 1887. St Claude was constituted a bishopric in 1762. The abbey-buildings and most of the town were destroyed by fire in 1799.