ABBEVILLE, a town of northern France, capital of an
arrondissement in the department of Somme, on the Somme, 12
m. from its mouth in the EnglishChannel?
, and 28 m. N,W. of
Amiens on the Northern railway. Pop. (1901) 18,519; (1906)
18,971. It lies in a pleasant and fertile valley, and is
built partly on an island and partly on both sides of the
river, which is canalized from this point to the estuary. The
streets are narrow, and the houses are mostly picturesque old
structures, built of wood, with many quaint gables and dark
archways. The most remarkable building is the church of St
Vulfran, erected in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The
original design was not completed. The nave has only two bays
and the choir is insignificant. The facade is a magnificent
specimen of the flamboyant Gothic style, flanked by two Gothic
towers. Abbeville has several other old churches and an
hotel-de-ville, with a belfry of the 13th century. Among
the numerous old houses, that known as the Maison de Francois
Ie, which is the most remarkable, dates from the 16th century.
There is a statue of AdmiralCourbet
(d. 1885) in the chief
square. The public institutions include tribunals of first instance
and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, and a communal
college. Abbeville is an important industrial centre; in addition
to its old-established manufacture of cloth, hemp-spinning,
sugar-making, ship-building and locksmiths' work are carried on;
there is active commerce in grain, but the port has little trade.
Abbeville, the chief town of the district of Ponthieu, first
appears in history during the 9th century. At that time
belonging to the abbey of St Riquier, it was afterwards
governed by the counts of Ponthieu. Together with that county,
it came into the possession of the Alencon and other French
families, and afterwards into that of the house of Castillo,
from whom by marriage it fell in 1272 to Edward I., king of
England. French and English were its masters by turns till
1435 when, by the treaty of Arras, it was ceded to the duke of
Burgundy. In 1477 it was annexed by Louis XI., king of France,
and was held by two illegitimate branches of the royal family in
the 16th and 17th centuries, being in 1696 reunited to the crown.
Source: An unnamed encyclopedia from a project that puts out-of-copyright texts into the public domain.
This is from a *very* old source, and reflects the thinking of the turn of the last century. -- BryceHarrington