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Circle Genealogic and Historic Champanellois

Association "Law 1901" of Saint-Genès-Champanelle, 63 , France

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History of the village of Laschamps

LASCHAMPS, village, commune de Saint-Genès-Champanelle. Laschaps (1165) ; La Chalm (1305). L'étymologie de ce lieu vient de la position du village au milieu des bruyères que l'on appelait jadis la chalm.

-L'église. Le 12 des kalendes de juillet de l'an 1165 et par bulle donnée en l'abbaye de la Chaise-Dieu par le pape Alexandre III, l'église de Laschamps fût confirmée en pleine possession à l'abbaye de Beaumont (v. ce mot). Cette église, qui est du XIVème siècle, avait, en 1762, saint Nicolas pour patron ; jusqu'en 1789, l'abbesse de Beaumont en a nommé le curé. En l305, Durand de Billom (de Biliomo) était chapelain (curé) de Laschamps.

- Seigneurs. La seigneurie de ce lieu a toujours appartenu à l'abbaye de Beaumont depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu'en 1789.

V. Arch. départ. du Puy-de-Dôme, abbaye de Beaumont.

- Chabrol. Coutumes d'Auvergne, t IV, p. 298.

extract of Grand dictionnaire historique du département du Puy-de-Dôme of Ambroise TARDIEU, 1877.


 In 1905, on the "circuit of Auvergne" took place the Gordon-Bennett cup. The previous year, it was French Léon THERY who gained it in Kaeser country thus, in 1905, it was in France to organize it.

The departure and the arrival were held in the plain of Laschamps. Le challenge consisted in making it around the chain of Puys in a distance of 137 km on very difficult ways at the time, the coompetitors having called this test : "the race with thousand-and-a turns".
The eliminatory took place on June 16, 1905 and Léon THERY was classified first of the French competitors.
The test was held on July 5, 1905. Thousands of spectators had moved from which come from abroad because the Gordon-Benett cup had an international repercussion then.
It is finally again Léon THERY who gained the victory with more than 100 km/h of average, which was exceptional for the time, the car while being only at its beginning !
It is the mayor of Riom Etienne CLEMENTEL who gave the cup to the winner.

Gordon-Bennett cup

- collar of Moreno - les éliminatoires -

Gordon-Bennett cup

plain of Laschamps - Departure

* [ see the the other postcards of Laschamps and the GORDON-BENNETT cup ] *

The fire of september 17, 1865

At the time the men of the village were at the grape harvest in Beaumont, one living of Laschamps, while cooking with the nut oil, fire put at its tatched cottage. This one was propagated at the surrounding houses and thus 45 houses out of 53 burned quickly. Only the church and a group of houses at a little distance were not destroyed. During the fire, the mayor Franck CHAUVASSAIGNE, showed much courage and devotion. He carried help to captive people in a cellar by boring the ceiling but he could notintervene rather quickly to save them.
A subscription was made in Clermont-Ferrand which brought 15 000F of the time but the were than the tenth of the estimate damages. The emperor Napoléon III and his wife paid a sum, on their personal "cassette" in fvaour of the disaster victims.
The bishop of Clermont himself prolonged this subscription in the parishes of his diocese. It was the mayor CHAUVASSAIGNE who who occupied himself of distributing the helps and to make rebuild the village of Laschamps.
An inscription on a cross in frontof the church was affixed to thank him. He was re-elected many times mayor of Saint-Genès-Champanelle.


called "le bonnet"

the inscription

The plain of Laschamps

This geograpical area, practically located at the foot of Puy-de-Dôme, has several originalities. Like said higher, it was useful for the departure of the GORDON-BENNETT cup. But also, it was a place of training for the French army as Orcines where still a camp of training and shooting remains.
A different remarkable point is the fact thet there is a rather rare chraracteristic geological : an inversion of the terrestrial magnetism known by all the researchers geologists of the whole world. A very interesting article has been publisged in the review LA RECHERCHE of july-august 1988.
An old postcard represents the aviator BUISSON passing above a hangar where mention LASCHAMPS-AVIATION is registred. Another postcard shows the famous hangar. This one had been built in 1908 by the Aviation section of Automobile Club of Auvergne, Henri COTTE being its president at the time.
This ground of experimentation baptized "Ground BUISSON" will last to the Large War.

* pioneer inhabitant of Saint-Etienne of heaviest than the air (1833-1913).

Informations received from Mr Louis SAUGUE, president of the Association "Amis du vieux Clermont" and large collector of old postcards.

* [ see the old postcards of Laschamps ] *

Laschamp or Laschamps ?

It persists a mystery as for the toponym of the village. In 1877, Ambroise TARDIEU, regional historian , had placed a "s" at the end of the name of the village within sight of the origin LASCHAPS which he proposed. Howewer, on certain maps, and initially the Geological Survey map, the toponym "Laschamp" without "s" was introduced. That has for consequence, that today, the tourists crossing our commune, find on the road map that they use, toponym "LASCHAMP" and on the road traffic signs, patronym "LASCHAMPS" with an "s". Astonishing singularity which does not disturb seems nobody !

Let us recall that the inabitants of this village, in 1865, had used the orthography "Laschamps" on the bonnet.

last update on october 27, 2001

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listed crosses 59
old postcards of the commune 153
old postcards except commune 47
old postcards of Puy de Dôme 118
associations listed on the commune 186
Gordon Bennett Cup 74


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