ISSY-L'EVEQUE and its origins

    The history of Issy-l'Evêque is lost in the mists of time.

     Flints, lost by paleolithic hunters bear witness to their presence 25,000 years ago.

     First traces of settlement go back the 7th century B.C, the early stone age. Mount Dardon was occupied by Celts. Important traces of Gallo-Roman occupation have been found ( notably a gallo-roman villa, over several hectares in the « Bois des buis » ( Boxwood wood) 2kms from the village centre.

    In the 9th century we find the embryonic beginnings of the town, with a fortified castle, an ancient fortified square attached to the Bishopric of Autun in the 10th century, ( from whence the name of Issy-l'evêque probably originated) situated around and on the site of the church today.

    The town grew up around this fortified square, and this aspect can still be seen. The porch gateway, the presbytery and the Luzy Tower are the last remaining vestiges of this epoch.

   The fortified square was surrounded by ditches which were filled in for good in about 1650. the dimensions of the church, whose construction began in the 11th and ended in the 12 th century, indicates a sizeable population.

    Issy-l'Evêque was occupied and plundered numerous times. At the end of the 14th century «  Les Ecorcheurs », the Scorchers ( armed mercenary gangs) burnt the village down, then in 1475 the fortress was²burnt by the King's army. During the course of the centuries a Benedictine Convent, a leper colony and a cotton mill have all been mentioned .

    1789 is an important date in village history. The parish priest, l'abbé Jean-François Carion, took the head of the third Estate. He drew up a code of 90 articles, a sort of mini-constitution, making a small Republic called «  Issy-the Mountain ». Numerous historians are attached to this work, written in turbulent times. Carion was accused of treason against the king, was arrested and only had his head saved thanks to the intervention of Robespierre and Mirabeau.

    Villagers went to Paris, wearing clogs, to fetch their priest back.

  Two other famous people were born in Issy-l'Evêque: Madame de Genlis, born Félicité du Crest on the 24th of January 1746 at Champcery in the Commune of Issy-l'Evêque. She was a woman of letters and governess to the Duke of Orleans'children.*Bartélémy de Chasseneuz was born in 1481 in Chassignieux. He was a Councillor in the Paris Parliament in 1501 and in the Provence Parliament in 1532.

  The final elements marking the life of the village from 1789 to the present day were the construction of a railway linking Toulon sur Arroux and Bourbon Lancy, which disappeared before the war; the construction of the manor of Montrifaut between 1890 and 1900 and the beautiful Town Hall- School grouping, also at the end of the century.