|ruin which is next to our chemin|
|house which has fireplace|
Originally our lieu dit had a number of houses--all, except ours and the neighbours are now ruinous and almost completely reclaimed by the woods. As some buildings will have been barns or out buildings it is hard to say how many houses there were exactly; but we think there were at least another 2. One of the ruins has a bread oven (more modern brick-work than ours) so it could be part of a house; certainly the windows which still have some of their frames would suggest so. Another of the ruins still has its fireplace and also has the remains of window frames, in fact there's even some glass still hanging in there for grim death.
|window frames still in evidence|
We know from the maire that up until the 1960's all the houses were lived in. He remembers it as it was. Evidently there were a number of families and quite a few children. There is a communal well which we've mentioned previously and the houses are roughly scattered around it.
What we'd really like to know is how old the lieu dit, and specifically, our house is. We know we'll never get an exact date but a ball park idea would be nice. We thought we might be able to go a bit further back using old maps.
In the 18th century four generations of the Cassini family set out to map the country of France. They did so with great accuracy and throughness; taking full advantage of improvements in astronomy and used triangulation for accuracy. As they travelled around the country they often encountered deep suspicion and even hostility.
At the iGN website (use this link) there is a bit of general information on the Cassinis and you can click on Cassini maps link at the bottom of the page. This takes you to GeoPortal where you can type in your address. You are then presented with 3 maps each over laying the other. Top is the original Cassini, next is the iGN's (French equivalent of Ordinancy Survey) and third is an ariel photograph. You can vary the opacity of each so that they work as transparancies. What is so impressive is that the mid 18th century Cassini map is pretty much bang on when compared to the modern iGN map. The originals of these maps are in the Bibliotheque National in Paris.
|Tinka 'exploring' the un-used well|
To our delight our lieu dit was clearly marked so that takes back to around 1750; another 65 years earlier than the grafitti near the barn (see a previous post).
If you are interested Graham Robb's book "The discovery of France" is a good read and tells the story of early cartographers in France.