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Abbeville Coat of Arms
Abbeville (France)
Semper fidelis
region Hauts-de-France
Department Somme
Arrondissement Abbeville ( sub-prefecture )
Canton Abbeville-1 (main town)
Abbeville-2 (main town)
Community association Baie de Somme
Coordinates 50 ° 6 ′  N , 1 ° 50 ′  E Coordinates: 50 ° 6 ′  N , 1 ° 50 ′  E
height 2-76 m
surface 26.42 km 2
Residents 22,946 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 869 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 80100
INSEE code

The Abbeville Belfry

Abbeville [ abvil ] (German "City of Abbot"; Dutch Abbekerke ) is a French municipality with 22,946 inhabitants (at January 1, 2017) in the department of Somme in the region of Hauts-de-France . It is the district capital ( sous-préfecture ) of the arrondissement of the same name . The inhabitants are called Abbevillois .


The city is located on the Somme about twelve kilometers southeast of the Baie de Somme , through which the river flows into the English Channel . The departmental capital Amiens is about 45 km upstream, far inland; therefore Abbeville is considered the center of the maritime Picardy .


Early and ancient times

Paleolithic hand axes discovered by the French amateur archaeologist Jacques Boucher de Perthes in the Moulin Quignon near Abbeville in the 1830s prove that Homo heidelbergensis settled this place more than 650,000 years ago. Little traces of Roman settlement were found in Abbeville, such as a Roman cellar under Notre Dame de Châtel, which suggest that the place was possibly inhabited since the 3rd century.

Early and High Middle Ages

St. Vulfran Collegiate Church

As one of 13 market towns under the rule of the Abbey of Saint-Riquier , Abbeville, then called Abbatis villa in Latin, appears for the first time in the year 831 in the Chronique de l'abbaye de Saint-Riquier , which was published by the cleric Hariulf d'Oudenbourg in the early 12th century . Century was written. At that time, a Vogt already resided in a small castle in the village. Even so, Abbeville was evidently insignificant at the time; the Normans occupied namely 845 to 861 to continue down river town of Grand-Laviers . Hugo Capet had Abbeville expanded into a fortress in 990, which should secure the mouth of the Somme. He dug ditches around the city wall and handed the place over to his follower Hugo, who lived in Montreuil . He was married to Hugo Capet's daughter Gisela and also received advocatia through Saint-Riquier. Hugo's son Enguerrand I assumed the title of Count of Ponthieu and Abbeville became the main town of this county.

In 1053 the first collegiate church of St. Vulfran (Wulfram) was built in Abbeville. After the sermons of Peter the Hermit , Count Gui I von Ponthieu summoned leading Flemish, Norman and Picardy nobles to Abbeville in 1096. The Duke of Normandy , the Count of Flanders , Gottfried von Bouillon , Duke of Lower Lorraine, and other noblemen accepted the invitation and gathered their troops in Abbeville in order to organize the departure to the Holy Land for the First Crusade . Due to his frailty, the Count of Ponthieu could not take part in the crusade. Abbeville also later served the leaders of the Second Crusade as a meeting point before they set off for the Holy Land. The family ties between Count Gui I of Ponthieu and the Capetians ensured that Abbeville remained loyal to the king. Around 1130 the place received from its overlord, Count Guillaume I. Talvas , the right to organize itself as a community with a mayor and 24 lay judges. However, it was only Count Jean I of Ponthieu that issued the corresponding document in 1184. This community organization essentially lasted until the French Revolution .

The French King Philip II August moved in Ponthieu briefly in 1221, with which Abbeville also came under royal rule. In 1225, like the rest of Ponthieu, it was returned to Countess Marie . Wrongly on December 4, 1259 between the French King Louis IX. and the English King Heinrich III. closed peace named after Abbeville because it was signed in Paris . In 1279, the English King Edward I, the son-in-law of Countess Johanna von Ponthieu , inherited her county, so that Abbeville fell to England, and it remained in its possession until an uprising in 1345. Due to the peace of Brétigny in 1361 it came under control of the English again, but they were driven out by French troops with the support of the inhabitants as early as 1369.

Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

After the death of Charles VI. (1422) Abbeville recognized Heinrich VI. as the French king. The Burgundian Duke Philip the Good received it in 1435 through the Treaty of Arras with the other Somme cities, for which France, however, had a repurchase right. King Louis XI. made use of this right in 1463 and confirmed his privileges to Abbeville, but the city came back to Burgundy as early as 1465 through the Treaty of Conflans to Charles the Bold . The castle built by this ruler in Abbeville was later destroyed (1591) by the Duke of Aumale. After the death of Charles the Bold (1477), Louis XI annexed. Abbeville again, where in October 1514 the marriage of King Louis XII. with Mary Tudor , daughter of Henry VII of England. In 1583 the city belonged to the estate of Diane de France . Abbeville first supported the Holy League during the Huguenot Wars , but then recognized Henry IV in April 1594 , who in turn confirmed the city's old rights. When Diane de France died (1619) Abbeville was given to Charles de Valois , who kept it until his death (1650).

From an economic point of view, Abbeville was an important trading port on the English Channel in the Middle Ages since the 12th century . The cloth-making industry flourished here and the city was a member of the London Hanseatic League in the 13th century. It is estimated that Abbeville had a population of up to 40,000. The silting up of the Bay of Somme gradually pushed the sea back twelve kilometers. Since the 17th century, this was accompanied by an economic decline in the city, to which the repeal of the Edict of Nantes (1685) also contributed. During the reign of Louis XIV , Abbeville received the first royal cloth manufacture from the Dutchman Josse van Robais from Colbert in 1665 , and the first carpet factory in 1667. The impoverished nobleman Jean-François Lefèbvre, chevalier de la Barre , was sentenced to death in Abbeville in 1766 for alleged impiety.

20th and 21st centuries

On May 16, 1940, the seventh day of the western campaign , tanks of the 2nd Panzer Division of the XIX. Army Corps down the Channel coast at Abbeville. The Wehrmacht had quickly marched through the neutral countries of the Netherlands and Belgium and surrounded the British expeditionary force in and around Dunkirk. This included the allied northern group with around 400,000 men (for details see Battle of Dunkirk ). The Battle of Abbeville took place from May 28 to June 4, 1940 .

Bombardments by the Germans and the Allies caused destruction in the urban area between 1940 and 1944 during the Second World War . In autumn 1944 the Wehrmacht withdrew from Abbeville.

In 2013, the demolition of the Church of Saint James (Église Saint-Jacques d'Abbeville) made national headlines. The headline “Église Saint Jacques l'oubliée ....” referred to the irreversible destruction of architectural history and cultural assets. However, the Catholic Church did not allow itself to be criticized: Since all church buildings in France have been state-owned since the French Revolution , the French state is responsible for the maintenance and demolition of churches.

Culture and sights

See also: List of Monuments historiques in Abbeville

  • The collegiate church of St. Vulfran is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1488 but was interrupted in 1539 and was not completed until the 17th century. The structure suffered severe damage in the Second World War.
  • Abbeville is named for the Paleolithic epoch of Abbeville because of Paleolithic finds in a gravel pit near the city .
  • The baroque Bagatelle Palace is considered the most refined example of small, playful magnificent buildings in France.


Abbeville is home to breweries and the textile industry.


The Abbevilles sports club, which is nationally best known for its footballers, is the Sporting Club, founded in 1901 .

Town twinning

Abbeville in 1993 with Argos on the Peloponnese in Greece and 1994 with Burgess Hill in the English county of West Sussex town twinning closed.


Individual evidence

  1. Victor Adolfe Malte-Brun: La France illustrée: géographie, histoire, administration, statistique . Paris: J. Rouff, 1881-1884, p. 77.
  2. Pierre Antoine, Marie-Hélène Moncel, Pierre Voinchet et al .: The earliest evidence of Acheulian occupation in Northwest Europe and the rediscovery of the Moulin Quignon site, Somme valley, France. In: Scientific Reports. Volume 9, Article No. 13091, 2019, doi: 10.1038 / s41598-019-49400-w .
  3. a b R. Fossier: Abbeville . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , column 14.
  4. A. Ledieu: Abbeville 1 , in: Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques , Vol. 1 (1912), Col. 39 f.
  5. The Holy Wulfram lived in the 7th century and was archbishop of Sens
  6. A. Ledieu: Abbeville 1 , in: Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques , Vol. 1 (1912), Col. 40.
  7. Abbeville , in: Brockaus' Konversationslexikon , 14th edition, 1894-1896, Vol. 1, p. 19.
  8. ^ Norman Davies, Europa im Krieg, 2009 (German edition), p. 143
  9. “L'agonie de l'église Saint-Jacques” , at:
  10. ^ "Église Saint-Jacques" ( Memento of October 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) at:
  11. Jacques Thiébaut (ed.): Dictionnaire des châteaux de France. Volume 4: Artois, Flandres, Hainaut, Picardie; Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Aisne. Berger-Levrault, Paris 1978, ISBN 2-7013-0220-X , p. 31.


  • Ernest Prarond: La Topographie historique et archéologique d'Abbeville , Abbeville 1871–84.

Web links

Commons : Abbeville  - collection of images, videos and audio files