Photographer's Note

A series of pictures taken in the park at Surgères. Located in the centre of the town, it is built on land formally occupied by the château being surrounded by the remains of the château ramparts.

Today, a photograph of the so-called Renaissance Gate and the Hélène Tower named for Hélène de Fonsèque.

The following information is extracted and freely translated from the French Wikipedea site.

With a population of around 6000, Surgères is a commune in the département of Charente-Maritime. The name comes from the river which crosses the town, the Gères.

The site has been occupied since Neolithic times, but it is in the Middle Ages that we find the oldest written references to the city, when the Duke of Aquitaine wanting to preserve his lands of Aunis from Norman intrusion, built a bastion of stone and wood on the marsh; a bridgehead against the invader which he named "Castrum Surgeriacum." At the end of the tenth century, the Counts of Poitiers began to get their hands on the country of Aunis and installed Guillaume Maingot to take charge of the fortress and part of the surrounding land.

Two centuries later, this bastion had become a small city whose active lords counted among the great figures of the Saintonge parliament. At this time a large castle was built, of the which ramparts still remain along with the church of Notre-Dame. When Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II Plantagenet, king of England in 1152, she brought her lands, which included Surgères, into the hands of the English.

Regained by the French under St. Louis, the city was retaken by the English in a surprise attack in the spring of 1352 during the One Hundred Years War.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10646 W: 63 N: 29872] (130967)
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