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The village of Crissé – towered over by a fortress– was established in the Manse valley. The Manse is a tributary of the Vienne. The village is built against the hillside at an altitude ranging between 44 and 120 metres. We can easily understand the interest men had with this chalky plateau, which is set in layers, making it easy to dig out caves and rooms underground, which without doubt founded the first inhabitants of this site.
The village’s name
Crissay sur Manse previously had the following names :
CRISSEIUM in the 9th century – belonging to Cormery Abbey, confirmed by letters written by Charles the Chauve between 823 and 877.
CRISSIACUM in the 11th century – at this time it was a territory of medium importance, which belonged partly to Bouchard de l’Ile, a large town in 1084, which was its first known ruler, and partly to the Archbishop of Tours.
CRISSÉ appeared in the 13th century – the property of the lords Turpin of Crissé from 1124 up to 1st July 1632. On this date the land was seized and awarded to Michel d’Evrard, governor captain of Chinon, Lord of Hécourt.
In the 18th century some deeds show the name CRISSAI – de Beauvau, marquis of Rivarennes, then Rochechouard and Choiseul-Praslin being the succeeding lords.
CRISSAY has been the actual spelling since the Revolution.
CRISSAY became CRISSAY sur MANSE to differentiate itself from CUSSAY in Indre and Loire, and to avoid postal confusion with this other village.
Partially destroyed during the 100 years’ war, the château was re-built at the end of the 15th century, on the site of a very old fortress. It consists of a dungeon dating back to the 13th century, with underground refuges dug out underneath. The Lord’s chapel dates back to the beginning of the 11th century.
The current church in Crissay was constructed in 1527 by Jacques Turpin I of Crissé, on the ruins of an old chapel which still belonged to St Epain. The church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Tours, Antoine de la Barre, and restored in 1867. The re-building of the woodwork and the vaults under the nave were finished in 1870. The church has been noted as an historic monument since 1926. The tomb of Catherine du Bellay can be found in the sacristy.
This charming village still remains authentic to the gentle way of life in Touraine.
Within the main part of the village beautiful houses dating back to the 15th and 16th century can be seen. These show how important the village was in these times.
The village was fortified in 1545 and, under the authority of François I, given to Jacques Turpin II of Crissé. Jacques II, however, had to battle against crime which was linked to a band of mercenaries who had been engaged for a campaign during the 100 years’ war, then freed, but who had had no desire to go home.
The village was then reinforced with four gates : from la Motte in the west, St Epain in the east, Bigot in the north and Puits Auger in the south. Only the remains of the latter two remain.
Amongst the houses within the village, the following are worthy of note :
- The house partly constructed of wood, situated at the corner of the rue de Puits Auger and the rue de Chinon , which was built in 1494.
- The ‘Judges House’ at the top of the rue de Puits Auger, dating from around 1498.
- The ‘Gaby house’, just opposite, constructed around 1523.
- The ‘maison du grand Carroi’ in the square, close to those mentioned above, was constructed in 1536. It has magnificent mullioned windows typical of the Renaissance period.
- The ‘logis de la Poterne’, constructed in stone cut by hand in 1525, controlled the Porte Bigot (north gate).The terrace with a guardroom dates from 1820.
- The ‘Hostel des Anglois’ towards the middle of the rue du Château, thought to be constructed in 1684 and is overlooked by a house called "la Hullinerie".
- The ‘prussion camp’, situated westwards on the same road, to the right of the entrance to the château, has an interesting underground living area. The name of the house reminds us that the village was occupied by Prussians in 1871.
- Going back down the rue du Château towards the main road, on the right hand side, is the former school and the former Mairie, which have now been moved to the south of the village, in the church square.
- On the left is ‘La Baumonnerie’, part of which dates from the 16th century.
- Going down towards the church, at the corner of the rue du Puits Auger and the rue de l’eglise, we can find another fine house dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Outside the village, on the banks of the river Manse :
- The Huguenot’s fountain
- The village lavoir (washing place)
- The Gruteau lavoir
- The large mill (La Grand Moulin)
In the direction of St Epain/Neuil to the east :
- The manor "La Fretonnière" with its pigeon coop – 15th and 17th centuries
- The manor "Le Boisselière" 16th century, both of which have been restored.
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