In the extreme south-east of the Creuse department, the municipality of Saint-Merd-la-Breuille extends over 40.19 km2. Bordering the departments of Corrèze and Puy-de-Dôme, its territory is crossed by the Méouzette and very briefly by the Ramade. It is bordered to the south by the Feyt stream for nearly five kilometres.
The minimum altitude of 717 metres is located at the extreme south-east, near the place called Les Allys, where the Méouzette leaves the commune and enters on the commune of Laroche-près-Feyt. The maximum altitude of 846 metres is located at the extreme southwest, on the edge of the commune of Eygurande, near the place called Travers.
The municipal territory is also served by the departmental roads 18A4 and 79.
Saint Merd is the deformation of Saint Medard de Noyon (Médardus).
In the Middle Ages, the Château de Hautefeuille was located on the current territory of the municipality. It is possible to find traces of its existence in 16th century documents. Indeed, this land was sold by Jean de Rochefort to Antoine de la Fayette in 1539. It then remained in the hands of the de La Fayette family, according to what is said by Guillaume-Michel Chabrol, in Volume IV of his book on the General and Local Customs of the Province of Auvergne (1784):
"The land of Hautefeuille, parish of Flayat, belonged to Louis de la Fayette. Jean Motier de la Fayette, killed in the day of Cognac in 1568, was lord of it, as well as of Nades. Claude de la Fayette, his son, lord of the same lands, married Marie d'Allègre, daughter of Gaspard, lord of Viverols and Beauvoir, on 22 November 1579. She passed to François de la Fayette, who married Magdeleine Pioche de la Vergne, famous in the Republic of Letters, in 1655. This branch of the Maison de la Fayette has been extinguished in the Maison de la Trimouille."
The castle was destroyed by Protestants during the Wars of Religion, in retaliation for the battle of Cognac in 1568, where its lord was killed. It was erected on the hill north of the villages of Gourseix and Vaudeix (at the point quoted at 766 metres above sea level on the IGN map) but on site, there is no record of its existence. However, in the surrounding villages, stones from its ruins have been reused for the construction of houses. A stone with a coat of arms was found on the wall of a house. This coat of arms has been taken over as the municipality’s coat of arms.
Politics and administration
Guy Faugeron is the current mayor since March 2011.
The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses carried out in the municipality since 1793. Since 2006, the legal populations of the municipalities have been published annually by INSEE. The census is now based on an annual collection of information, successively covering all municipal territories over a five-year period. For municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants, a census survey covering the entire population is carried out every five years, while the legal populations of the intermediate years are estimated by interpolation or extrapolation. For the municipality, the first comprehensive census under the new system was carried out in 2008.
Local culture and heritage
Places and monuments
- Saint-Médard Church rebuilt in the 16th century and refurbished in the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Dupeyrix-Lavetizon Castle, in the village, at the west of the church.
- Besth Chapel.
- Fountain of devotion Saint-Jean-Baptiste, in Besth.