Quincampoix Quincampoix


Thanks to jane TETAERT for transcription

1. Origins: the first occupants of the land

Apart from a raised stone in the woods, there are no other traces of ancient inhabitants in Quincampoix. However some remains found in neighbouring villages suggest that the plateau between Cailly and Robec was quite densely populated in Roman times

2. Life and organisation of a country community; community structures

Until the Revolution, the church was the only public monument. Its role was not limited to religious services. After mass or evensong, meetings were held where decisions regarding community life were taken.

A place of worship and meetings, the church was the property of the church council, more commonly known as the treasury. As well as the church, there was the cemetery and the priest's house. The presbytery had special status. The priest and the church council agreed upon separate responsibilities in 1774. The council dealt with church repairs, maintenance of the priest's house and covered the costs of services.

Daily financial management was given to a treasurer. One year in advance a parish assembly designated his successor : the Treasurer for the deceased. As his name indicates, he collected money to pay for mass for the deceased. The treasurers duties ended at Pentecost.

In each parish, taxes were collected by an occasional tax collector, the main tax collector. This was not a voluntary job, but carried out on a rota basis. .

The priest and parish were closely supervised by the religious authorities. The treasurer's records show frequent visits by the archdeacon or, in his absence, the Dean of Cailly.

In November 1688, a ruling from Louvois had created a provincial militia. It established the principle of compulsory military service for unmarried men from the country between the ages of 20 and 40. Their equipment and maintenance was paid for by their town of origin.

Service in the militia was always considered a disaster in the countryside. Many rushed into marriage in order to avoid it. The priest intervened as a go-between for the government and the local population. This situation was not surprising in a country where Catholicism was the state religion. Overlapping of the two systems was normal. In 1695, Louis XIV ordered the building of crosses at all crossroads. Quincampoix had two wooden crosses which were maintained until the Revolution.

Just as the lord had his own pew in the church, important families in the parish also obtained their owned reserved places in the last quarter of the XVII th century.

The " Charit " was an association which existed in most parishes whose mission was to organise the funerals of the faithful. It was attached both to the company of undertakers and to the brotherhood which was supposed to contribute to the morale improvement of its members. It was placed under the protection of the patron saint of the parish church as well as other saints. The status of each Charit was given the approval of the diocesan authorities much like our modern associations.

3. From the Constitutional Monarchy (1789-1792) to the Convention

Administrative reorganisation of the Old Regime led to the creation of new divisions: sub-divisions (dpartements), districts, cantons and parishes.

The district of Rouen was composed of 9 cantons including Quincampoix, Saint-Jacques-sur-Darnetal, Cailly and Montville.

The dividing up of the dpartement was changed in 1800 under the Consul and the districts disappeared. They were replaced by 5 sub-divisions: Rouen, Neufchtel, Dieppe, Yvetot and Le Havre.

The cantons were also rearranged, Quincampoix was attached to the new canton of Clres. This was not surprising since Clres was one of 7 market towns in the district of Rouen, inherited from the Old Regime.

The abolition of the canton of Quincampoix had already been envisaged at the end of the "Directoire" to the alarm of the councillors. In order to avoid this, they had proposed enlargement, to the detriment of surrounding villages.

4. From Joan of Arc to Henry IV

After freeing Orleans in 1429 and seeing Charles VII crowned at Reims, Joan of Arc failed at Compiegne in 1430.

Captured, she was taken to Rouen to be tried. Escorted to Bosc-le-Hard, then Cailly, she must have passed through Quincampoix on December 24 th 1430. But which road did she take?

At that time, there were two possible routes to the Rouen stronghold via Bois Guillaume and the Bouvreuil gate: the present Rue de Cailly or, through Fontaine-le-Bourg, a road that has since been replaced by the Route de Dieppe. We are inclined to think it was the present Rue de Cailly which passed through inhabited places including Quincampoix. The other route followed and even crossed the forest. Times were difficult, partisan groups haunted the woods and the possibility of freeing Joan of Arc at the very least to demand a ransom, would have attracted followers of the King and even mischief makers.

During the 100 Years War, our region had to put up with the passing through of warmongers: English, French, " Ecorcheurs", " Grandes Companies "...

Then came the religious wars. Henry IV operated in our region : 1589, Arques; 1590, Ivry; 1591-1592 the siege of Rouen.

From 1580 to 1592, the country was again ravaged. This time Philippe II of Spain's troops, under the command of Prince Farnese, made camp in our region and caused heavy damages. Our Chateau de la Bucaille was burnt down.

The conversion of Henry IV (1591), his arrival in Paris followed by the Vervins peace (1598) brought the troubled period to an end and Quincampoix could live again.

4.1 Our Civil Status

In 1539 Francois I signed the order of Villers-Cauterets which, among other instructions, made it compulsory for priests and vicars to keep a register of baptisms celebrated and written in French.

In 1579, a new order making it compulsory to record marriages and deaths was added to these arrangements. A copy was to be sent at the end of each year to the baillif (royal administration)

These documents obviously only concerned practising Catholics and were therefore called registers of Catholicism. They were the ancestors of our civil registers started by the Revolution, with certain additions such as the profession of the person concerned which was until now facultative and often left out.

The setting up of these registers took several years. In Quincampoix, the first register dates from 1604.

If the Quincampoix s civil status archives are well preserved, the municipal archives (town council deliberations and Mayoral correspondence) suffered during the war. The Town Hall was occupied by the German army, transferred for a time to the school on the Route de Neufchtel.

Even though the minutes from the time of the Revolution are safely filed in the departmental archives, we have no administrative documents between this period and 1840.

The construction of the Royal road from Rouen to Saint Omer dates from 1754. It then became an Imperial then National road but, for us, it will always be the Route de Neufchtel.

5. Day after day... From 1840 to the Great War

In 1853: creation of a local mounted police force and construction of a barrack block : a two storey brick building on the corner of the village square and the Route de Neufchtel. In 1887 the police station was suspended and the present barrack block was built in 1908.

January 1 st 1863, construction of the post office. It obtained telegraph communication in 1907.

1863 15 horse chestnut and lime trees were planted, well spaced so as not to disturb the inhabitants.

July 1 st 1863, estimate to build a church and, October 7 th , the decision was taken to build a church which would replace the existing one, which was in a state of disrepair.

The first stone was laid on June 12 th 1865 and the inauguration took place July 13 th 1868.

The cemetery which surrounded the church was recorded in 1695 as being " remarkably spacious ": 1.5 acres , between 80 and 85 ares. In 1868 a survey recorded 30 ares and 85 centiares not including the Church.

The cross in the cemetery was erected sometime between 1560 and 1580.

1870: construction of the girls ' school, today ' s chemist.

5.1 The route de Neufchtel

In 1900, the route de Neufchtel teamed with numerous carriages and carts: farmers selling their produce in Rouen, wood merchants, cider apple deliveries and transport of various other merchandise. When they arrived very early at the Nouveau Monde, the carriers cracked their whips to wake up the caf owners who lit their fires and heated the coffee.

Quincampoix was the traditional resting village with its cafs, its blacksmith who was woken up if a horse lost its shoe. The horses also enjoyed the break: a bucket of water and a bag of barley. Then, refreshed, they continued towards the town.

In 1910, Quincampoix boasted an active cultural and festive live. The Lyrical Circle, the Philharmonic Union, the Dance Circle, the " Berline ", annual meetings, as well as the traditional St Margaret ' s festival, all took place in the neighbourhood, the " Haut Poiriers ", the " Val Normand ", the Hamlets. Monsieur Choquet, with his violin, played for the local dances, standing on a barrel, which, on one occasion, practical jokers encircled, bring the violinist to the ground. The difficulties of daily life were forgotten during these hearty get togethers which the whole family attended.

In 1913, Constitution of sports societies : the "Joyeuse Pdale" (the Merry Pedal) and the Shooting Society

6. Between the two wars

In 1920, one subject divided the village: the 1914-18 War Memorial. The veterans, who should have been " united on all fronts ", separated into two associations. Some wanted the memorial in the cemetery with a religious service, others wanted it in the village square. Following the dissolution of the committee, a referendum and reimbursement of membership fees, the memorial was finally erected in the cemetery. However the two associations persisted until the end of the Second World War, when they were at last reunited.

In 1923, lime trees were planted in the square. Only those opposite the church are still standing.

In 1930, Henri Mnage, saddler in Quincampoix and local historian, witnessed the discovery at Houssaye Farm, of some ancient tombs which might have been merovingian. Since they risked disturbing his ploughing, Farmer Clavel threw them into a makeshift tip. Will they ever come to light again?

6.1 The " Maisons Neuves "

The Loucheur law of 1922 created cheap housing known as HBM (habitations bon march) later known as HLM (habitations loyer modr).

In 1924, the municipality of Quincampoix decided to contribute 15% of the cost of building 12 houses for 144000 francs destined for farm labourers: they were the "Maisons Neuves " (the New Houses) in the Rue de Cailly which have now been bought by their tenants.

6.2 The " Maison du Crime " (The House of the Crime)

On May 10 th 1926 at the " Loge aux Pauvres " now the " Grillade " restaurant, the owner Mme Leroy was cooking an omelette when a man named Tiennot came in through the window looking for money. He attacked her from behind with an iron bar and killed her. He then emptied the till and ran off into the countryside. Emotions ran high and, despite organised search parties, the murderer was not found. Only later, while playing the accordion in the cafs of the Cailly valley, was Tiennot recognised and arrested. After this tragic event, the restaurant was known by our grandparents as the " Maison du Crime ".

6.3 The Football Club

1940: creation of the Quincampoix Football Club. It didn't last long - with the war, the call-up and hiding of conscientious objectors, recruitment of new players quickly dried up. This club played in red and blue striped shirts. In 1968 a new club was formed.

7. The Second World War

In 1937-38 international unrest was making itself felt: soldiers on alert, reservists called up.

On September 2 nd 1939 war was declared on Germany and general mobilisation started. 48 of our co-citizens were called up. Horses and cars were requisitioned. A unit of pioneers was billeted in Quincampoix. Soldiers from a regional regiment were stationed here. The army waited.

On May 10 th 1940, a thunder clap: the German army, the Wermacht, attacked, penetrated the French army and headed west.: on May 16 th it was at the gates of Abbeville 100 km from our village. We had no news of our soldiers. An avalanche of refugees hurried along the route de Neufchtel. The inhabitants of Quincampoix left for Rouen. Ridiculous blockades made of carts and other objects were erected on the Route de Neufchtel.

That 8 th June at about 3pm, the column of invading soldiers arrived at Quincampoix. It left the main road, crossed the Saint-Aubin Farm and spilled onto the village square, crushing the butcher's gate and his car which was loaded ready to leave. The German soldiers broke down all the closed doors and looted the shops. The French soldiers' weapons were destroyed by the tanks. Then, gradually, a few civilians came out of hiding and risked a few steps outside. In the square, Lengagne's grocer/shoemaker shop was looted, everyone taking what they thought would be useful in the general muddle.

In the fields, the tanks crushed all the fences causing the livestock to stray. The Feldgendarmerie organised the German troops, the French prisoners and the civilians into groups. As early as June 9 th , a column of French prisoners left on foot for captivity.

And the refugees came back, our fellow citizens as well. They all took stock, told tales of their adventures on foot, by bicycle, by car. Several of our men and women did not return, victims of the war.

In July 1940, a company of mobile artillery from the Wermacht arrived in Quincampoix. These soldiers were waiting to land in England - they seemed confident of victory. Indeed, Hitler, having " offered " peace to England on 19 th July, decided to land on 19 September - operation Otarie. In Quincampoix and the surrounding towns, Germans units were preparing every last detail.

On 12 th October, Hitler abandoned his landing project but the Germen artillery stayed in Quincampoix and spent the winter there.

7.1 Achtung Lieutenant !

At the end of 1940, beginning of 1941, with an artillery company stationed in Quincampoix, more room was needed. The horses, in the meadows for the summer, were divided amongst the farms; the cows shared the stables with the horses.

The German presence did not mean persecution. There were a few drunken fights, a few chickens disappeared...but there were practical problems: occupation of the Town Hall and municipal buildings, the village hall converted into a workshop and garage for canons, the parish rooms became a canteen and the schools had less room.

The soldiers were billeted with inhabitants considered too well-off or in empty buildings near the centre : they did not spread out! The local craftsmen's facilities were also made use of: the saddler, the carpenter, the blacksmith all received visits from their German counterparts.

Life in Quincampoix was marked by the comings and goings of the soldiers - between the billets, the stables, exercises. Often they marched, singing in perfect tune. Our occupiers, not in the prime of youth, were not very bellicose. Their superiors tried to keep them busy as best they could. The horses were combed and brushed several times a day, the canons and ammunition cases were dirtied and then polished.

At each farm gate, the soldiers carefully plaited patterns out of straw to frame the signs indicating their manpower - Pferde 10. There was also shooting practice, signalling with flags, horse grooming and guard duty. The stables were guarded night and day.

A young lieutenant attracted some attention during guard duty changes. Thin, of medium height and with rigid features, he could often be seen hanging about the square and all the places that the Wehrmacht soldiers pretended to be occupying. Any soldier deemed to be idle or not busy enough was immediately given jobs to do which were, to all appearances, completely useless: idleness is the mother of all vices. So the German soldiers were on the look out and sometimes this whispered warning could be heard: " Achtung Leutnant !". Everyone became busy and passers-by quickened their pace with a busy air. But " Leutenant " punished recalcitrant soldiers energetically.

Within the school walls (Route de Neufchtel) he presided over an exercise known to all armies and called in France " la pelote " : the punished soldier, fully equipped with weapons, knapsack, helmet, overcoat...had to march briskly without stopping. For the German soldiers, the ordeal was made worse by their boots and the goose-step. When they started to slow, the Leutenant would beat the rhythm with a whistle and his voice: eins-zwei, eins-zwei, eins-zwei... the exercise ended when the Leutenant decided that the soldier, dripping in sweat, had no breath left.

The Germans left Quincampoix during the first few months of 1941. They did not know where they were going but thought that they were heading east, to rest some said naively...

7.2 The occupation

Many years after the war, one of these soldiers wrote to the town hall. This Berliner was searching for souvenirs of the past. Thanks to the details he gave, he was identified and put in touch with our co-citizens who had been his reluctant hosts.

Our co-citizens bowed to the occupation. The Canadian air raid on Dieppe in 1942 raised hopes momentarily then moroseness returned. This became heavier and heavier; requisitioning of food, urgent calls to go to Germany to work followed by an order. In Quincampoix, everyone used their gardens to make up for the insufficient food rations, rabbit breeding flourished. On June 6 th 1944, important news " they've landed ". Our Route de Neufchtel and the road between Rouen and Amiens became vital thoroughfares for the German frontline in Lower Normandy. Troops and material passed through in large number, chased by the allied aviation. As soon as the weather was clear the Germans hid in the bushes and only came out at night or when the sky was overcast.

Some of our co-citizens died in the bombarding of the V1 runways. Still no allies. The V1 left for England and apprehension increased: how was it all going to end? Everyone dug a trench, a shelter, a cellar. During the night the muffled sound of navy canons firing on Caen could be heard in Quincampoix. The allied armies finally managed to turn towards the south, the German front collapsed and once again they passed through in retreat.

On the afternoon of August 30 th , we heard coming from the south the sound of tanks and other vehicles. " The Americans are here! Rouen's been freed " they said. The bells of all the freed towns and villages could be heard ringing. But Quincampoix was still occupied by the Germans who wandered about exhausted. What would happen that night? Would they come? They would not come, they stopped at Isneauvillle and Praux...but they did bomb. During the night Canadian artillery stationed at St Jacques sur Darnetal showered the village and the roads. Everyone took shelter in the trenches or their homemade shelters.

One of our own was killed. At about 7am on August 31 st , a rumbling sound was heard coming from the south.: the sound of an army on the move, tanks, engines, sirens and the first allied soldiers arrived. To the general surprise of all they were not American nor English but soldiers who spoke French with a country accent similar to the Normandy accent: Canadians. The Mont Royal, Maisonneuve, Chaudiere regiments were there followed by the Scottish, English speaking Canadians, British, Belgians, even Polish. In the victorious rush, the different units jostled each other, thinking that the end of the war and victory were close. We too thought that the end of the war was imminent with the return of the prisoners. The allied units marched past along the Route de Neufchtel: they had chocolate, cigarettes, petrol, they were welcomed warmly and offered drinks. The bells were rung.

Genuine and false resisters wore FFI armbands. The Canadian army printed and handed out French newspapers. The soldiers, fed up with tinned food craved fresh food.

In October, the American army moved into the port at Rouen and we could at last see these Americans so much talked about with their equipment and material in plenty. Life returned to normal in Quincampoix. The war was not yet over, the prisoners were still not freed and all correspondence with them was suspended. We got used to the new currency, new administration and a justice system set up to purge. We had to wait until the German army was completed defeated before our prisoners came home in the second half of 1945. Some never saw Quincampoix again. The return of these young men and calmer conditions saw a wave of weddings.

Quincampoix organised itself and returned to its old ways with its veterans associations, village fte, small farms, war damage. In 1946, stained glass windows designed by the little known Max Ingrand, were installed in the church. From 1954 drinking water was installed, that was yesterday. In 1964 Mr Digard sold some land for a housing estate; the new Quincampoix was born.

7.3 Maurice Callewaert's foal

August 1944 : the German collapse came quickly and the soldiers of the wehrmaht started to fall back in lorries, by bicycle, on horseback or by car: any means of transport were commandeered by the retreating army especially the draught horses often taken with their cart and driver until the exhausted horses lost their shoes.

One day four soldiers arrived at Maurice Callewaert's farm at La Muette with weapons and packs looking for horses and vehicles. On the farm there was only a young foal left, which had never been harnessed, and a market cart. Despite Maurice Callewaert's remonstrances, one of the Germans, claiming to be knowledgeable about horses, managed with his companions to corner the foal in an outbuilding, forcefully harness it and attach it to the cart.

Two of the soldiers held the animal steady while the others loaded guns, eating bowls, and packs. The foal left in a whirlwind of clashing tins, the last German jumping into the cart at a run. Some minutes later Maurice Callewaert heard the galloping of hooves on the road... " it's the foal, he's coming back! ". He was indeed coming back but all that was left of the cart were the shafts hanging from the harness.

What had happened? Several hours later Maurice Callewaert retraced the foal's steps and with several witnesses managed to piece together the adventure. The foal, scared by the noise and shouts in German, had raced along the road to Fontaine le Bourg. Passing the Ventelette farm it had smelled the stables and galloped towards the gate. The gate was closed but it had smashed through. The cart had exploded under one of the pillars and the contents of the cart and the two soldiers who were still in it were thrown out.

The other two soldiers must have jumped out. Maurice Callewaert got his foal back and put it back out in the field far from the ma in road. A few days later the Liberation was declared.

8. A Child of Quincampoix - Jacques Anquetil

In 1945, Mr Wallet, a teacher in Quincampoix, noticed amongst his pupils a young boy with blond hair. He was a good student but with unmatched energy in the playground.

Several years later, as a teenager, riding a brand new bicycle given to him by his father, he trained on our roads with a neighbour, Bernard Delaunay. Mr Anquetil senior - Ernest to his friends - never having had the time to cycle himself, had sworn that his son could, if he so wished, devote himself to this sport and, why not, earn himself a reputation.

And what a reputation! It started in 1956 just before his eighteenth birthday as Champion of Normandy, then of French amateurs. The following year he won the Grand Prix des Nations which he would go on to win several more times.

Singers sang about " the child champion ", journalists and specialists predicted the collapse of a champion too young to cope...not at all. Great Jacques' career continued marked by victories at home and abroad. He was victorious in every area of cycling - against the clock, sprints and races in stages. He held the world distance record in one hour.

He ended his career in 1969.

9. Costumes and traditions

What did our forefathers do?

Few sources talk about the population as a whole. Nevertheless, first Catholic church records and then civil status records show the occupation of parents, taxpayers, witnesses. Although compulsory from 1791, it took some time for occupations to be recorded regularly: oversight, voluntary, neglect, the presence of two or three witnesses, or none at all. As it is, the listing of occupations is precious and sheds light on the daily existence of our co-citizens during the revolution. Every document has therefore been examined and information regarding occupations recorded. Some entries where the witnesses - teachers, innkeepers - lived in the square and were used when there was no family have been discarded.

The records of professional activity are irregular after 1750 in Quincampoix. They were recorded up until January 1 st 1806 when the Republican calendar was abandoned and the Gregorian calendar reinstated. It is therefore the testimony of about 20 years in an age when Saint Nicolas Quincampoix numbered about 900 inhabitants, a population which hardly changed until 1960. A list of licences from the year VI supports and confirms civil status records.

This information concerning occupations has been recorded in the language of the time and underlines the overlapping of many occupations; many of our co-citizens had two occupations.

The dominant category is that of ploughmen or farmers (437 entries plus 46 who also owned a business and 4 female farmers). Then comes workers or day labourers (425) and workers lodged by their employers (45) including 31 gardeners; important properties had large gardens surrounded by walls, the remains of which still exist. Then came the textiles workers who worked from home: weavers, spinners, drapers and other similar trades (240 entries). There are 200 business entries and finally craftsmen and other make up 170 entries, many of whom were linked to agriculture.

This list gives information about the buildings of the time : mostly carpenters and joiners (very few masons since walls were half timbered and the roofs were thatched) and only one painter. There were not many woodmen but day labourers worked in the forests in winter. The entries for 15 wood merchants and 2 forestry agents shows that there was a large forest trade . Also of interest is the signatures of 5 beggars and 54 people obviously rich and described as property owners or with their own income.

Female occupations are rarely mentioned. Cotton spinners are the only ones systematically to be recorded. There is only one female butcher and 4 female farmers - widows and a few servants. It is important to note that on the civil status form introduced during the Revolution there was only space for the father's profession and no space for the mother's.

10. Electricity and water in Quincampoix

10.1 Electricity in Quincampoix

In 1920 the council requested electricity to be supplied as quickly as possible and then in 1922 and 1923 signed up to electrification syndicates. In 1924, to speed up the process, the municipality contributed : 104 shares at 500 francs were necessary to sign up . The network plan was finished in 1928 and public buildings were connected in 1929-30.

10.2 Water in Quincampoix

This was a crucial problem on our plateau where geological factors did not allow sufficiently deep wells nor completely permanent ponds. The closest water sources were in the valleys 6 or 8 kilometres away in Saint Martin du Vivier, Fontaine du Bourg, Blainville-Crevon. Five wells had been dug: a communal well on the village square and those in the Aumonerie, Saint Nicolas, la Chanterie. The only well which still contained some water was the property of the Notre Dame priory.

Because of the lack of wells, water was supplied in tanks an other recipients filled with water from roofs.

Farms had large ponds for their animals which were also used by poor houses whose thatched roofs meant that they had no gutters. Some of our grandparents were brought up on soup made from pond water.

Several large ponds resisted for a long time the absence of rain: Bosc de Cailly, Haquets, Mare aux Loups, but intensive " puchage " led to their drying up. During the 1940s, the town hall organised a water supply system with the company Clamergeran, whose tankers, usually used for wine filled the empty tanks with water from Rouen. But the problem did not go away despite membership of a water supply syndicate in Malaunay-Montville.

In 1949 a more defined project was born, based on using an important inexhaustible source of water at Fontaine le Bourg. On December 15 th the parish council authorised the Mayor to found, with the villages of Isneauville, Fontaine le Bourg and Saint Georges, a water supply syndicate. In 1950, Quincampoix left the Malaunay-Montville syndicate.

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