Hereford City Heritage
The Mayor’s Chain
Vierzon’s history started with a prehistoric settlement at Bellon which had to be rebuilt after the destruction by Cesar. It became a Roman-Gallooppidum at the confluence between Yèvre and Cher as a defense of Berry to the west.
AMerovingian castle was built which was subsequently taken over by the Normans. They became lords of Vierzon and the city developed inside the ramparts to the west of the château.
The English (Richard the Lionheart in 1196) burnt down and took the town and the castle. In 1370 the English were driven out and Vierzon was returned to the French crown.
Although Vierzon was affected by the wars of religion in the 16th C, it remained Catholic. The French Revolution of 1789 didn’t affect Vierzon drastically but, thereafter, it paid its tribute to modern wars, above all during WWII when the front line cut the town in half and, as a result, heavy bombardments destroyed a seventh of the town. Once again, it had to be rebuilt.
Until 1779 Vierzon lived from trade and crafts. Then came the time of industrialisation. The ‘travail de fer’ marked its beginning. In1779, the Count of Artois, the future Charles X, created alongside the river Yèvre a forge with smelting works and high furnaces.
The presence of heat-resistant clay favoured the manufacture of porcelain from 1816 onwards. The famous Porcelaine de Limoges originated in this area.
AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY - A SPECIALITY OF VIERZON
In 1847 Célestin Gérard arrived in Vierzon. His little workshop opposite the station became the ‘Société Française de Matériel Agricole et Industriel’and, subsequently, attracted several captains of industry.
The restored building of the SFMAI
At the beginning of the 20th century, Vierzon was home to several manufacturers of threshing machines and engines, among them the Brouhot,Merlin, La Vierzonnaise and La Française which are sold all over the world. In 1959, the American company CASE bought SFMAI.