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Bégard (Municipality, Côtes-d'Armor, France)


Last modified: 2006-12-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: cotes-d'armor | begard | bear | roses: 2 (yellow) | flowers: 2 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Begard]

Flag of Bégard - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 October 2005

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Presentation of Bégard

The municipality of Bégard (in Breton, Bear) is located in northern-central Brittany, between Lannion and Guingamp.
The name of Bégard comes either from the English word "beggar" or from the Breton word beg-ar-c'ha (the top of the hillslope). There was once in a forest, now disappeared, a very isolated place called Pluscoat (or Purcoat or Pura Silva) where hermit Raoul lived from charity only, therefore his nickname of Bégar. In 1129, four Cistercian monks form the Aumône Abbey, in the Bishopric of Chartres, asked to Baldric, Archbishop of Dol-de-Bretagne, the permission to introduce the Cistercian order in Brittany. The archbishop sent them to Geffroy Botherel, Count of Lamballe, who redirected them to his father Etienne III, Count of Penthièvre and husband of Havoise, Countess of Guingamp. Etienne ceded a piece of land from the parish of Guénézan to the monks and Raoul, Bishop of Tréguier, allowed the set up of a monastery. This first Cistercian monastery in Brittany, officially founded on 10 September 1130 according to an old manuscript, was initially called Petit-Côteaux, alter Abbatia beatae Mariae de Begario (Abbey St. Mary of Bégard).
In 1146, Alain le Noir (the Black), Count of Richemont and husband of Berthe, the heir of the County of Brittany, was buried in the abbey of Bégard. Their son Conan IV, Count of Brittany, was also buried in the abbey in 1171. The abbey was abandoned in 1790 (there were only eight monks then) and resettled in 1857 by seven nuns from the Bon Sauveur monastery in Caen (Normandy).
The monks from Bégard founded several daughter abbeys in Brittany in the XIIth century: Le Relecq (1132), Boquen and Saint-Aubin-des-Bois (1137), Lanvaux (1138) and Coatmalouen (1142).

Under the Ancient Regime, Bégard was divided into three main parishes:
- Guénézan, known at least since 1251 and named after St. Conogan or Guénécan, Bishop of Quimper (d. 456)
- Botlézan, also known at least since 1251, with Lannéven as secondary parish. Botlézan (in Breton, the nun's people) is said to have been founded by St. Tunevel, one of the 11,000 virgins martyrized in Cologne with St. Ursule in 383.
- Trézélan, mentioned as a parish in 1330, with Saint-Norvez as secondary parish.
Until the French Revolution, the five parishes formed five municipalities, united on 26 May 1793 by a Decree of the Convention as the municipality of Bégard. By Decree of 31 January 1852, Bégard exchanged with the municipality of Pédernec a part of the village of Kerilut against the two villages of Rec'h-Caër and Parc-Lan.

The chapel of Mené-Bré, isolated in the countryside, was in the past the place of weird rituals. Abbot Guillermic, known locally as Tadig Koz (the old little father), exorcized there the demons. He used to celebrate the 30th mass of oferenn drantel for the rest of the dead. This mass was celebrated at midnight and had to be said backwards. Making a mistake could cause the loss of your soul but at the end of the mass, the devil was forced to cease to torment the dead.


Ivan Sache, 23 October 2005

Flag of Bégard

The flag of Bégard, as reported by Hervé Prat, is quartered white and blue with a yellow flower. The flag is a banner of the municipal arms, which are (GASO):
Ecartelé : au premier et au quatrième d'argent plain, au deuxième et au troisième d'azur à la quintefeuille d'or.
BrianTimms gives a very similar blason: ...d'azur à une rose d'or chacun. (Quarterly first and fourth argent second and third azure and rose or.)
The arms are derived from the arms of the abbey of Bégard, with the quarters reverted.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 23 October 2005