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Châteauneuf-du-Faou (Municipality, Finistère, France)


Last modified: 2006-12-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: finistere | chateauneuf-du-faou | kastell-nevez-er-faou | castle (white) | wave (white) |
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[Flag of Chateauneuf]

Flag of Châteauneuf-du-Faou - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 29 June 2005

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Presentation of Châteauneuf-du-Faou

The town of Châteauneuf-du-Faou (in Breton, Kastell-Nevez-er-Faou; 3,730 inhabitants) is located in western central Brittany. The town is built on a small hill dominating a large meander of river Aulne, there canalized as the Canal de Nantes à Brest and crossed by the Old King's Bridge, built in 1638 under King Louis XIII.
Châteauneuf-du-Faou (Castellum novum, XIIth century; Castrum novum, 1217; Castrum novum in fago, c. 1330 and 1368; Chasteauneuf du Faou, 1391) was the new fortress (castrum novum) built by the lords of Faou, a branch of the house of Léon. The Viscounts of Faou claimed to have emerged in the VIth century. The domain of Châteauneuf seceded from the ancient parish of Plouyé. The fortress was seized in 1186 by Guihomarch and Hervé de Léon and belonged to the Viscounts of Léon until confiscated by Duke of Brittany Jean VI in 1420. It was ruined in 1440 and later suppressed to build the chapel Notre-Dame-des-Portes.

The St. Julian and Notre-Dame church, rebuilt in 1878 by Jules Boyer except the bell-tower, built in 1737, was decorated in 1914-1919 by the painter Paul Sérusier (1863-1927), who spent 23 years in the town.
Sérusier went to Pont-Aven in 1888 where he met Paul Gauguin, who convinced him to make "symbolist and synthetist" paintings. Under Gauguin's guidance, Sérusier painted a landscape called Talisman on the cover of a cigare box. Back to Paris, he showed the painting to his friends Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Ranson and Ker Xavier Roussel; all of them founded the group of Nabis (the Hebrew word for prophets). Sérusier was nicknamed by his friends "the Nabi with the rutilant beard" and became with Maurice Denis the theoretician of the group. Sérusier's painting evolved towards a mystical, medieval archaism.

In 1438, a statue of the Blessed Virgin was found in the hollow trunk of an old tree. The miraculous finding was celebrated by the building of the chapel Notre-Dame-des-Portes, a very popular place of pilgrimage in Brittany. A church-window of the chapel recalls the murder of a priest by the Royalist warlord Liscoet, who sacked the city in 1593 with his 400 men. The chapel was rebuilt in 1892-1893; the bell-tower was added in 1901-1902. The only remain of the former chapel is the Gothic porch built in the XVth century, maybe using stones from the ancient castle of Châteauneuf. One of the most famous pardons of Brittany is celebrated in the chapel at the end of August. The elders and invalids' pardon takes place on Friday; on Saturday, the statue of the Blessed Virgin is carried in procession by 50 year old men; on Sunday, there is a solemn mass and the crowned statue of the Blessed Virgin is carried in procession by 50 year old women dressed in traditional costume.
There is an underground fountain dedicated to St. John the Baptist near the church. A statue of the saint holding a lamb under his left arm and trampling a beast, made in polychrome granit, can be seen near the fountain. St. John the Baptist was expected to protect water from pollution and to cure eye diseases. Another fountain, dedicated to St. Gouesnou, can be seen in the wood of Kermoal. Gouesnou was a Scottish bishop who fled his country occupied by the Saxons and spent 24 years in Brittany; he was killed on 25 October 675 with a hammer. His fountain was the place of a pardon celebrated on Ascension's Day; his cult, probably influenced by an older pagan cult, disappeared at the end of the XVIIIth century but was still remembered at the beginning of the XXth century.

The chapel of Moustoir (XVIth century) is located 3 km of Châteauneuf. It is famous for its baptistry, its polychrome statues and the calvary (XVth century) located in front of the chapel. The enclosure of the chapel is planted with more than 6,000 flowers and shrubs. The chapel was dedicated to St. Ruellin, Bishop of Tréguier in the VIth century. Its spire was destroyed by lightning in the XIXth century and the chapel was nearly ruined in the 1970s; a horses' pardon was celebrated there until the beginning of the XXth century. The chapel belonged to the Rosily-Meros family. Admiral Rosily, the son of the Commander of the Navy in Brest, took part to southern exploration and naval action against British vessels; he was decorated by King Louis XVI. Appointed Rear Admiral, he refused twice the position of Minister of the Navy. Admiral Rosily reorganized the corps of the hydrographer engineers of the Navy.


Ivan Sache, 29 June 2005

Flag of Châteauneuf-du-Faou

The flag of Châteauneuf-du-Faou, as communicated by the municipal administration, is blue with a white castle with two towers and four black windows and a white wave. It is a banner of the municipal arms.
The municipal arms of Châteauneuf-du-Faou are (GASO):
D'azur au château d'argent, ouvert du champ, ajouré et maçonné de sable, soutenu d'une fasce ondée aussi d'argent.
Brian Timms gives D'azur au château ouvert d'argent, ajouré et maçonné de sable, accompagné en pointe d'une fasce ondée d'argent (Azure a castle double towered argent masoned and pierced sable in base a bar wavy of the second).
Timms says that the arms were adopted in 1966 and designed by the Departmental Commission of Heraldry of Finistère (so says GASO), which, however, did not exist before 1974. The previous arms had nine towers surmonted by a crown on the shield, which was bad canting, since neuf in Châteauneuf refers to new and not to nine. The wavy bar represents of course the river Aulne.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 29 June 2005