The Pays de Caux is an area in Normandy occupying the greater part of the French département of Seine Maritime in Haute-Normandie. It is a chalk plateau to the north of the Seine Estuary and extending to the cliffs on the English Channel coast - its coastline is known as the Côte d'Albâtre. In the east, it borders on the Pays de Bray where the strata below the chalk show through.
Julius Caesar’s account of his military campaigns (Bellum Gallicum, The Gallic War) gives details of the Caletes, partly ancestors of the Cauchois (see Book II, 4, 9, ; Book VII, 75, 3-4, Book VIII, 7, 4)
Rescue archaeology undertaken on the line of the A29 autoroute revealed several Gallo-Roman villas. One of the most important is that of Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer, on the coast to the west of Dieppe. The archaeologists found a complex of several rooms, organised around a square court. Several of the rooms had been furnished with mosaics. To the north, the baths and other rooms were heated by hypocausts. The materials used were pisé (clay and grit well mixed and rammed down to form a wall), cob (a similar mixture of earth of a buttery consistency or marl, chopped straw and perhaps gravel) and timber framing, typical materials of Normandy’s later building tradition.
Lillebonne is on the site of the main town of the Caletes, the Gaulish tribe of the region. The Gallo-Roman town was established with the name Juliobona, under Caesar Augustus and is famous for its Roman theatre. According to a common use in Roman Gaul, the bona (Gaulish word for “foundation, town”) was dedicated to the Roman emperor, like Augustodunum (Autun), Augustonemetum (Clermont-Ferrand) or Augustodurum (Bayeux), etc. The phonetic evolution from the element Julio- to Lille- can be explained by the analogy with the French word for island : île, with the article agglutination l' = the, that makes sense with the word bona > bonne, which means "good" in French, so "l'île bonne" = the good island. Their original main oppidum could have been Caudebec-en-Caux or Fécamp, according to the archeological excavations and the numerous Gaulish artefacts, that were discovered in both towns.
From the creation of the county of Rouen and of the Duchy of Normandy in 911, the Vikings settled a great number of people in the region and left an enduring legacy in the Cauchois dialect but also in the ethnic makeup of the Cauchois Normans.
Manoirs and châteaux of the 15th and 16th centuries
A manoir (manor house) is in principle, the residence of a seigniorial lord though, in practice, the term now includes country houses of the gentry. As a rule, they are not fortified. Since the Hundred Years' War, country houses have not had ramparts and towers. Artillery has rendered them obsolete. The peace and prosperity which were recovered following 1450, offered the option of reconstructing country houses and local materials such as flint and limestone were used. The owners could allow themselves to follow Renaissance style.
Most Norman manoirs have a dovecote in the courtyard. A study by historians revealed 635 dove cotes in the three arrondissements of Dieppe, Le Havre and Rouen. Most are round and are permanent structures. The rarities are polygonal and timber-framed. A few to be noted are: