Pêcherie du Frâne

I finally made my long overdue trip to the archives in Gueret. I’m so glad I did. I’ve barely made a start on finding out the history of Les Fragnes – who built it, who lived here, what they did – but I’ve already uncovered one fascinating fact. Our large lake, Alder Lake, is a pre-Napoleonic lake. That is huge in lake terms since it means these lakes have all sorts of privileges and exemptions from normal regulations controlling lakes. And we had no idea! Nor, obviously, did the vendors or the estate agents or they would have made a big deal of it.

I requested the Napoleonic cadastral of Nouzerines, dated 1829. I saw our neighbours’ properties at Montpetut and Les Guérins, but there was no Les Fragnes. There was, however, a lake. Our lake! It was land parcel no. 263. When I looked this up in a weighty register written up in 1829, I found this described as ‘Pêcherie du Frâne’. It’s not too difficult to see where ‘Fragnes’ has come from. Somewhere between now and 1829, the ‘a’ of Frâne lost its circumflex, a ‘g’ got slipped in and it became plural. I’m trying to find out what ‘frâne’ means. It’s an old word and possibly means a landslide or a subsidence, something along those lines. However, I have more homework to do here.

André Beaufils owned this étang. Beaufils is a name I’ve come across before. In the stash of attic treasures, we found a roll of election posters. Marcel Beaufils was standing in the 1910 elections. Also, I’m pretty sure Genevieve Beaufils is written in the front of one of the books we found. I’m about to get very busy!

André Beaufils owned most of what is now Les Fragnes, although M. Parrot had a tiny bit and so did Louis Payat. Possibly François Desfausses, a surgeon in Boussac, also owned a small corner. I shall take the up-to-date cadastral with me next time I go to compare with the Napoleonic one. I’ve yet to track down how many people the land went through before it came to us, but one step at a time!

The archives has an impressive set-up in Gueret. Very helpful staff, plenty of space, and a vast wealth of documents to call up and scrutinise. You can take your computer and camera in. I didn’t realise that before today, so I’ll be back next week to take photos of the 1829 cadastral and the register that goes with it. Absolutely fascinating stuff!

Quickly onto knitting, this being knitting blog week. Today we’re meant to talk about projects or skills we’d like to master. I need to hone up on my four needle skills. You use four needles to knit round objects like hats or socks – anything that you don’t want to have a seam in it. With two needle knitting, you’re always going to have to sew one side to the other. I’d also like to get to grips with entrelac knitting. This looks so impressive, and I don’t think it’s too horrendous to learn – it’s just a matter of making the time for it.




0 Replies to “Pêcherie du Frâne”

  1. How exciting to find out the history of your land! What sort of privileges are you entitled to because your lake is pre-Napoleonic? And how on earth do you find the time to do everything you do? I’m sure you must have more hours in your day than I have in mine!!

    1. I think I just give the impression of getting a lot done! Last week seemed to me to be a week of getting nowhere fast.
      The pre-Napoleonic aspect to the lake means we can pretty much do anything with it. We got it authorised by the vendor (ie registered with the authorities), but we actually needn’t have bothered becuae of it being pre 1829. No-one seemed to be aware of its history – till now.

  2. Fascinating. On reading this, I wondered if the name of your place might have something to do with frênes (ash trees), but this might be a complete red herring. Down here, the ash is indigenous to the point of being a real nuisance. You have really unearthed some treasures in your attic.

    You have inspired me to do some digging about our place – lieu dit La Lune. I would dearly love to know when it was built, who lived here, etc. I can feel a visit to Montauban (our préfecture) coming on. I just hope they are as helpful there as yours were in Guéret…

    1. There are plenty of ash trees in this area, so there could well be a connection. My feeling is that it is probably a dialect word. I shall keep researching since this sort of thing really interests me!

  3. Hmmmm, gets the thoughts humming, i think i will do the same with our property and explore the history of our house, i only know what the neighbours were able to tell me about having plum torte with his grandmother in the garden, so no dates as yet.

    Thanks. the archives will pass a damp winter day i believe.

    do you need proof of residence to access them ?

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