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Villefranche de Lonchat Town Hall
 
The Chapel
 

Monuments and Historical Sites
Villefranche de Lonchat is an English bastide. One of its two churches and the Town Hall building are listed on the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments. There are various wells and wash-houses to be visited including one which was renovated in 2003, the weighing scales situated on the old fairground, the cemetery lodge house which was also restored in 2003 and an amazing view from the old town walls over the ruined Château de Gurson along the valley right to the château of St Michel de Montaigne. The first floor of the Town Hall houses a local history museum.


 


Museum of Local History

The Museum
The museum, created in 1939, covers different periods of mankind’s occupation of the area from prehistoric times, through the building of the bastide in 1285 to the modern day. The collection is housed on the first floor of the Town Hall building.
A variety of everyday objects are on display including tools, furniture, clothing, pottery manuscripts and 16th -century books.
The museum is run by the « Friends of the Museum » ; recent gifts to the museum include a medical room and a small collection of toys. A temporary, themed exhibition is mounted annually for the benefit of the public and of local schools. The municipal museum is open all year round by appointment (05 53 80 77 25 : Town Hall secretary) as well as for the « Museum Springtime » event and National Heritage days.

 
Notre Dame Church
 

Notre Dame Church
Visitors to Villefranche de Lonchat are inevitably astonished to discover that the parish church is built 400m outside the village itself. The reason for this is simple and forms the basis of Villefranche’s history. The parish of Lonchat was founded on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman villa which was situated 500m from the church on a south-facing hillside down which ran a stream. A person named « Lupius » was succeeded down the centuries by his name in the form of « Lupiac ». When, over the course of time, Christianity spread through the countryside, a private oratory was built at Lupius although no trace of it remains, having doubtless been destroyed by the Normans.

During the 11th and 12th centuries Romanesque churches sprung up all over the area, at St Martin de Gurson, Carsac, Minzac, Montpeyroux and Lupiac, whose name became over several centuries, Lopchac and then Louchat.
Lopchac church, dedicated to Our Lady existed as early as the 11th century as is established by various chartularies of the Abbey of Sauve Majeur. Known as the « big church to distinguish it from the one erected inside the bastide itself » it stands on a rocky plateau and has a crypt to counter-balance the uneven lie of the land.
It is built in the Gothic style of the south-west which was a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. The walls are thick and supported by huge buttresses. The short, sturdy belfry sits astride the western bay to the left of the central nave and forms the church’s facade. The church is inscribed on the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments.

Annual Events
• Christmas market from the beginning of December.
• March carnival
• Fireworks and cycling race on 15 August.



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