Last modified: 2022-02-28 by ivan sache
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Flag of Fourchambault - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 8 February 2002
The municipality of Fourchambault (4,711 inhabitants in 2007; 455 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km north-west of Nevers. The town is made of the two boroughs of La Brasserie (The Brewery) and La Fonderie (The Ironworks). The muniicpality was established on 5 May 1855, separating from the municipality of Garchizy.
Fourchambault was mentioned for the first time in 1404 as Frechambaut, subsequently written Frechambault (1449) and Forchambault (1568), and, eventually, Fourchambault (1597). The name of the town might have been derived from the Germanic words frisk ("fresh", "recent") and bald ("happy", "proud"). A more probable etymology, "Four Archambault", refers to a village oven (four banal) owned by a lord Archambault.
In 1789, there was nothing in Fourchambault but a watermill
located on the right bank of river Loire and owned by the Bishop of
Nevers. On 1 April 1821, the building of the ironworks started under
the guidance of engineer Georges Dufaut, appointed by the
manufacturer Louis Boigues. Ironworks were put into service on 15
October 1822. Smelting works were built nearby the ironworks in 1823.
Several workers from Wales and Staffordshire were hired because of their skills in ironworking. wA HREF="fr_2emp.html#nap">Napoléon III and Empress
Eugénie de Montijo visited the ironworks on 7 July 1862.
In 1836, a suspension bridge was built over river Loire. The six-span bridge had a length of 400 m and a width of 5.50 m. The Compagnie du Pont de Fourchambault was set up to operate the bridge. Toll was 10 centimes for a person, 20 c. for a loaded horse, 15 c. for a non-loaded horse, 15 c. for a loaded donkey, 12.5 c. for a non-loaded donkey, 10 c. for a pig and 40 c. for a cart, without extra fee for the carter. The inhabitants of Fourchambault repeatedly complained about the toll and the queues it generated, so that on 13 July 1884, the departements of Nièvre and Cher, with the support of the towns of Nevers and Fourchambault, purchased the bridge and suppressed the toll. Blown up in 1940 by the French Army to slow down the progress of the German Army, the bridge was rebuilt in March 1950.
Ivan Sache, 8 February 2002
The flag of Fourchambault (photo is white with the municipal coat of arms in the center and the name of the town written in black below.
The arms, which were adopted on 20 April 1956 by the Municipal Council, symbolize the industrial history of the town. The blue shield shows a power hammer argent standing on a red base. A red lingot is placed on the anvil. The power hammer is flanked with two affronted golden lions holding a golden torch with a red flame. The base is charged with a silver wave over a flying golden bee symbolizing work. The shield is placed over a golden smelting furnace with a red flame and above a silver cogwheel whose upper part is hidden by the shield. Two silver hammers with a golden handle flank the shield in oblique. The War Cross 1939-1945 is appended to the shield's base
Pascal Vagnat, 8 February 2002