Place:Alençon, Orne, France


Alt namesAlenconiumsource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 13
Alentiosource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 13
Alençonsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates48.417°N 0.083°E
Located inOrne, France
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Alençon is a commune in Normandy, France, capital of the Orne department. It is situated west of Paris. Alençon belongs to the intercommunality of Alençon (with 52,000 people).


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The name of Alençon is first recorded in a document dated in the seventh century. During the tenth century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy and the Maine regions.

In 1049–1051, William Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror and king of England, laid siege to the town, which had risen in support of the Count of Anjou along with two other towns of the Bellême estates, Domfront (then in Maine) and Bellême (held directly from King Henry I of France). According to Duke William's chaplain and panegyrist, William of Poitiers, the defenders of the fortress refused to surrender and mockingly waved animal hides from the castle walls, referencing William's lineage as the grandson of a tanner. In response to this, William had 32 prisoners of the town's hands and feet cut off, prompting a sudden surrender. Upon hearing of this event, the town of Domfront also surrendered.

Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.

The city became the seat of a dukedom in 1415, belonging to the sons of the King of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played important roles in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The French Revolution caused relatively little disorder in this area although there were some royalist uprisings nearby.

A long-standing local fabric industry gave birth to the town's famous point d'Alençon lace in the 18th century. The economic development of the nineteenth century was based on iron foundries and mills in the surrounding region. In the first half of the twentieth century the city developed a flourishing printing industry.

Alençon was home to Sts. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. They were the first spouses in the history of the Catholic Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple, in 2008. Zélie and Louis were married at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Alençon on 13 July 1858 and spent their whole married life in Alençon, where Thérèse was born in January 1873 and spent her early childhood until the death of her mother in 1877. [1]

On 17 June 1940 the German Army took occupation of Alençon. On 12 August 1944 Alençon was the first French city to be liberated by the French Army under General Leclerc, after minor bomb damage.

After the war the population sharply increased and new industries settled. Many of these were related to plastics and the town is now a major plastics educational centre.

External links

  • For more information, see the FR Wikipedia article Alençon.

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