Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Avranches
AVRANCHES (ancient Abrincatce, or Ingena], a town of France, in the department of Manche. It was an important military station of the Romans, and has in more modern times sustained several sieges, the most noticeable of which was the result of its opposition to Henry IV. It stands on a wooded hill, commanding a fine view of the bay and rock of St Michel, about three miles distant. At the foot of the hill flows the river Sée, which at high tide is navigable from the sea. The principal trade is in corn, cider, and salt ; and candles, lace, nails, parchment, leather, &c., are manufactured. Avranches was formerly a bishop s see ; and its cathedral, destroyed as insecure in the time of the first French Revolution, was the finest in Normandy. Its site is now occupied by an open place, called after the celebrated Huet, bishop of Avranches ; and one stone remains with an inscription marking it out as the spot where Henry II. received absolution for the murder of A Becket. Saint-Saturnin's church dates from the 13th century, and has a remarkable gateway. The ancient episcopal palace is now used as a museum of antiquities ; and an extensive public library is kept in the “mairie.” A new cathedral is in course of erection. The agreeable situation and climate of this town make it a favourite residence of English families. Population in 1872, 8137.