|• Mayor (2008–2014)||François Weller|
|• Land1||33.35 km2 (12.88 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||15/km2 (39/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||16001 / 16500|
|Elevation||122–232 m (400–761 ft)
(avg. 200 m or 660 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Abzacois or Abzacoises but can also be alternatively known as Abzacais or Abzacaises
- 1 Geography
- 2 Toponymy
- 3 History
- 4 Administration
- 5 Demography
- 6 Economy
- 7 Facilities
- 8 Life in Abzac
- 9 Sites and Monuments
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes and references
Abzac is located in the extreme north-east of the department of Charente and borders the communes of Availles-Limouzine, Lessac, Saint-Germain-de-Confolens, Brillac, and Oradour-Fanais. The northern border of the commune is also the border between Charente and Vienne departments.
Abzac village is at the crossroads of two roads: the D729 from Confolens in the south and continuing north to Adriers - the former route Bis from Paris to Spain and the D99 (Route de Brillac) which branches from the D951 in the south-east then continues through the village north-west to Availles-Limouzine. The D951 road passes along the southern border of the commune from Lessac in the south-west to Mezieres-sur-Issoire in the east. Other departmental minor roads pass through the commune such as the D98 from Oradour-Fanais in the east to join the D729 in the north of the commune and the D324 which branches off the D951 in the south and passes through the commune to join the D99 south of the village.
Hamlets and Localities
To the northeast of the village, the hamlet of Chardat is nicknamed the Village of Clay. This village is home to many tile and brick makers.
Other smaller hamlets are:
Geology and terrain
As with the whole north-east of the department of Charente which is called Charente Limousine, the commune is located on the plateau of Limousin in the western part of the Massif Central which is composed of crystalline and metamorphic rocks - relics of the Hercynian orogeny.
A large central part of the commune of Abzac is granite. The west of the commune is composed of paragneiss and diorites. The plateau in the east of the commune is covered with alterite and degraded granite. Small areas in the north of the commune are composed of flinty clay and quartz shingle.
The commune is situated on a plateau inclined towards the west descending to the valley of the Vienne with increasingly steep slopes.
The territory is composed of 81% agricultural land and 17% forest and semi-natural environments. The remaining 2% is shared between artificial territories and areas of water.
Many ponds dot the commune and streams connect them to the Vienne such as the Ruisseau de l'Etang de Serail in the north and the Ruisseau de l'Etang de Monette in the centre. In the south there is also the Ruisseau du Moulin de la Toueille, the Ruisseau de la Vergne, and La Curre which is the border of the commune in the south. The Ruisseau de Marcillac is the only stream to flow eastwards. It is a tributary of the Blourde which itself is a tributary of the Vienne.
The climate is degraded oceanic. This is the same as Charente Limousine but more humid and cooler than the rest of the department.
The name Abzac has been attested in the forms Absacum in the 14th century and Azat in the 17th century.
The name Abzac is derived from the low Latin Apiciacum which is based on the Latin anthroponym Apicius with a suffix -acum of Gallic origin signifying property. Ernest Negre preferred the Latin personal name of Avitius (without mentioning the older form) followed by the same suffix.
The name of the place called le Quéroy comes from the Latin quadrivium meaning "crossroads" which probably indicated two old roads.
In 1311 Audemar of Archiac, one of a family from Saintonge, was Lord of Saint-Germain, Availles-Limouzine and Abzac. He was also attested as lord of Abzac Aimar and Archiac in 1410 then it was Odet of Archiac in 1478 who would have built the castle. The blazon for their coat of arms was: "Gules two pales of vair, in chief of Or".
Abzac then passed to the Béraudière family whose blazon for their coat of arms was "Quarterly of Or a double-headed eagle in gules and azure, a cross of argent couped and fourchee" then the Rochechouart family which explains how it was that Françoise Athénaïs Rochechouart of Mortenart Marquise de Montespan stayed there with her brother. Their blazon was "barry wavy in Argent and gules of six" emblem is found in hearths.
The commune of Abzac was founded in the Canton of Saint-Germain then became Abjac in the Canton of Confolens. In 1801 the commune returned to the name Abzac in the Canton of Confolens-Sud.
List of Successive Mayors of Abzac
|1995||2008||Noël de l'Hermite|
(Not all data is known)
In 2010, the commune had 496 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]
Distribution of Age Groups
Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Abzac and Charente Department in 2009
|0 to 14 Years||11.4||9.1||17.3||15.5|
|15 to 29 Years||14.4||10.8||16.4||14.4|
|30 to 44 Years||12.9||16.2||19.2||18.5|
|45 to 59 Years||31.9||28.2||22.2||21.5|
|60 to 74 Years||18.3||20.7||15.8||16.2|
|75 to 89 Years||10.6||14.5||8.6||12.3|
- Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE.
- Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE.
The Delage tile factory and Bonnaud & son brick factory, built in the early 20th century, ceased operation in 1970 and 1987 respectively.
The Malmanche tile and brick factory was built at Chardat in the 1920s and 1930s with a Hoffman kiln which was replaced in the 1970s by a tunnel kiln. Another Malmanche tile factory was built in 1979 with a gas-powered tunnel furnace, a dryer, and a continuous Unicerar press. It employed 16 people in 1989.
The Chardat Brick factory completes the industrial activity.
In trades there are two masons, one electrician, an agricultural contractor, a horticulturist, a landscaper, a mechanic, and a body shop.
The public elementary school is located in the village with has two classrooms. It is part of an inter-communal teaching group (RPI) which includes other schools in the communes of Brillac and Oradour-Fanais for kindergarten, and Abzac, Lesterps, and Lessac for elementary. The RPI is called Boreall. The nearest college is at Confolens.
Life in Abzac
There are several sports clubs and associations:
- the US football club of Abzac
- the Sports Union
- the Gardon Abzaçais
- the Hunting Society
These include the Friends of the Teching Grouping, Veterans Affairs, and the Old Peoples Club.
The association of Etang du Serail is an association with environmental objectives which aims to protect the Serail natural pond site.
The Brotherhood of Saints Lucius and Emeritus of Abzac was created in 2006 to bring together in a fraternal association the inhabitants of the town of Abzac and participate in the organization of the Ostensions septennial and ceremonies attached to it.
On the 1st Sunday in August there is the employer and communal festival.
According to limousine tradition the Ostensions septennial take place in Abzac where the relics of Saints Lucius and Emeritus are venerated and conserved by the parish. The Ostensions start on Easter Monday (13 April in 2009 until 3pm).
The church of Saint-Sulpice, from the 13th century is in the early Gothic style.
At the end of the choir, the communion table is an oak sculpture from the early 17th century. The table consists of four members including two doors. The balustrades are decorated with leaves and topped with Ionic capitals, pilasters with a foliated stand, a console, and a sculpted head. Two elements of this table are reused as a pulpit. This collection, unique in Charente, has been classified as historical objects since 7 January 2003.
The relics of the saints Lucius and Emerite are preserved at Abzac. In 1670 Pope Clement IX offered to Louis Victor de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Duke of Vivonne (1636-1688), then ambassador of the King of France in Rome, the relics of Saint Lucius and Saint Emeritus, two martyrs of the primitive church. However the Duke of Vivonne, marshal of France, brother of Madame de Montespan, was the Squire of Serre at Abzac which he inherited from his mother, Diane de Grandsaigne, and it was in the chapel of Serre that the relics were of first placed where they were venerated by the people.
The relics were sent to Paris in 1758 in order to manufacture new shrines and they were divided into three parts:
Two small shrines sent to Manneville Castle in the Diocese of Rouen were returned to Abzac in September 1865.
"Two other large shrines of ebony thirteen to fourteen pouces (inches) long and about nine wide and ten deep which was also covered in ebony with a pyramid supporting a silver cross - also with glass framed by a silver blade - divided by a shelf covered with crimson satin" contained most of the bones of the two martyrs and were offered to the parish of Abzac in 1762 by Jean-Victor, Duke of Mortemarts (1712-1771).
On 16 July 1762 the relics were verified by Philippe Rabilhac, pastor of Oradour-Fanais, and on 26 July 1762 Monseigneur du Plessis of Argentré, Bishop of Limoges, gave Abzac parish permission to display and worship them. Since then they have been in the custody of the priest and the people of Abzac and are used, in the limousine custom, in the Ostensions septennial.
- The Church of Chardat was built in 1930 in an old house.
- The Castle of Serre dating from the late 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century was rebuilt in the 17th century. It has been registered as an historical monument since 26 July 1988. The interior has an antechamber before the room of the Duke of Vivonne with a painted alcove and a room on the second floor decorated with murals that were classified at the same time.
The plaque in the fireplace in the room on the first floor shows the arms of Rochechouart-Mortemart.
- The Castle of Fayolle has a dungeon dating to the 13th century, a round tower with stairs, a polygonal tower, and lodgings from the 18th century with a mansard roof.
- The Lodgings of Monette belonged to the family of Tisseuil and Garnier de la Boissiere. It was rebuilt in the 19th century.
- The Lodgings of Tuffas has a main building and a round tower at the gatehouse from the 17th century.
- The rectory farm could date from the 17th century. It belonged to the family of Tisseuil and was bequeathed by Marie-Philippe-Gaston Rousiers on his death in 1920 to be used as a rectory. Above a door is the inscription "19.4.1921" and "DON.G. de ROUSIERS". Today it is the rectory for the parish.
- The Public laundry and the fountain of Saint Sulpice the village who probably had virtues and was where processions were held.
- The Pond of Serail
- The Font Radareu which was used to supply the military is located on the old imperial road D951 near the hamlet of Chaumont.
- The Valley of Vienne and streams for fishing.
- The waters of Availles or Salted Fountains are located in the communes of Availles-Limouzine and Abzac on the D99 near the right bank of the Vienne. This locality has natural sources of salt water. Many wells have been drilled to do research on potential benefits of these natural waters. Revived many times in recent decades, a project for a spa complex has apparently been dropped.
- The forest of Monette is spread across the communes of Abzac, Oradour-Fanais, and Brillac and has a small population of deer and forest birds rare in the region. It has the status of a Site of Community Importance with flora and fauna of type I.
- Dujardin V., Moinot É., Ourry Y. (2007) - Le Confolentais, entre Poitou, Charente et Limousin, Images du patrimoine, No. 243, Geste éditions, 2007. (French)
- Communes of the Charente department
- Abzac on the National Geographic Institute website (French)
- Page on Abzac on the Community of Communes of Confolentais website (French)
- INSEE (French)
Notes and references
- At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 , the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" which allow, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For municipalities with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these municipalities is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force in 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.
- Inhabitants of Charente (French)
- Google Maps
- Chardat (French)
- Infoterre Visualiser, BRGM website
- BRGM Map on Géoportail
- Notice on Bellac, BRGM, 1993, ISBN 2-7159-1639-6, Infoterre, consulted on 3 November 2011 (French)
- IGN Map on Géoportail (French)
- Source : EU – SOeS, CORINE Land Cover, 2006
- Jean-Marie Cassagne and Stéphane Seguin, Origin of the names of the towns and villages of Charente, Ed. Jean-Michel Bordessoules, 1998, 311 pages, pp. 7 and 72, ISBN 2-913471-06-4 (French)
- Ernest Nègre, General Toponymy of France Read online (French)
- Stéphane Gendron, 'The Toponymy of Roman and Medieval Roads, Ed. Errance, 2006, 196 pages, p. 61, ISBN 2-87772-332-1, Read online (French)
- French Ministry of Culture Notice IA00066104 Malmanche Tile Factory (French)
- Directory of Schools, Academic Inspection Unit of Charente, consulted on 1 July 2012 (French)
- RPI Boreall, 2010, consulted on 1 July 2012 (French)
- Page on Abzac on the Community of Communes of Confolentais (French)
- French Ministry of Culture Notice PM16000326 Communion Table (French)
- Father Jagueneau, Abzac, its Ostensions, simple notes, Ruffec, 1925, Father Jagueneau and Jacques Perot (French)
- Church of Chardat (French)
- French Ministry of Culture Notice PA00104195 Castle of Serre (French)
- Castle of Fayolle on the charente.free website (French)
- Castles, Manors, and Lodgings: Charente, Ed. Patrimoine et Médias, 1993, 499 p. (ISBN 2-910137-05-8), p. 243 (French)
- Rectory Farm of Abzac (French)
- Forest of Monette, Ed. National Museum of Natural History, Jean-Pierre Sardin (French)
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