Before 1896, Sauveterre-de-Guyenne was better known as Sauveterre-de Bazadais. This Bastide was built in a small village called "Athala" and was first named Salva-Terra (Salvation of the land), which later became Saubeterre and then Sauveterre.
Sauveterre-de-Guyenne was founded as an English Bastide in 1281 by King Edward I of England, in the name of ending rivalries among the lords. He signed the "Charte des Coutumes de la Cité" in 1283, which protected the inhabitants and set the rules of life in the village community.
Sauveterre-de-Guyenne is a very well maintained Bastide, having the typical Bastide 'grid' layout. The entry points into the city were through four stone tower gates. The central market square is surrounded by stone houses and the typical arcades on the ground floor, full of shops. The Church of Notre Dame is located at the top of the square.