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Coordinates: 50°03′01″N 2°32′06″E / 50.0502778°N 2.535°E / 50.0502778; 2.535

Commune of Varrenes-en-Croix

Paris plan pointer b jms.svg
Map highlighting the commune of
Country France
Region Blason région fr Picardie.svg Picardie
Department Blason département fr Somme.svg Somme
Arrondissement Amiens
Canton Acheux-en-Amiénois
Intercommunality Pays du Coquelicot
Mayor Jackie Pillon
Elevation 83–156 m (270–510 ft)
(avg. 147 m/480 ft)
Land area1 7.24 km2 (2.80 sq mi)
Population2 188  (2006)
 - Density 26 /km2 (67 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 80776/ 80560
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Varennes-en-Croix is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.



Varennes is situated 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Amiens, at the junction of the D47, D447 and D179, in the form of a cross.



Middle Ages

The settlement of Franc-Mailly was located at the site of the present-day cemetery of Varennes, where the seigneurs made their home, with a farm and a mill. Wishing to promote the culture of their region, land was granted to the people to build homes, free from any kind of duties and taxes. Over time the village of Franc-Mailly became a popular haunt for criminals. According to tradition, in 1069 the four corners of the village of Franc-Mailly were burnt down on the orders of the Seigneur. The remaining core of the village, grouped around the manor house, became Varennes.[1]

Charles the Bold

In 1472, Charles the Bold invaded Picardy in retaliation against Louis XI who had refused to ratify the treaty on October 3, 1471 in which Charles claimed possession of Amiens, Saint-Quentin and the Vimeu. Many villages were burnt down, including that of Varennes, which was rebuilt with its streets in the shape of a cross".[2]

The Thirty Years' War and the tunnels of Varennes

During the Thirty Years War, Varennes suffered looting and destruction by Spanish troops, as testified by a verbatim record of 1636, in which it says that the village was burned down in September 1635 [3]
In order to protect themselves from armed troops, the inhabitants of Varennes dug a large tunnel. The underpass beneath the town square and the church is made up of a gallery 39m long with 29 rooms, all of which were fitted with wooden doors. Eight of the rooms had wells for fresh water.
In the most recent excavations in 1970, various inscriptions were noted on the walls: "1636 Adrien Lefebvre"; “1660 Guillomin Ringard”; “Antonin Goubet in the year 1677"; they also found a coin dated 1656.
Having served as an underground refuge for the population, the tunnels were probably used as a workplace in the winter. They were eventually closed because of the danger of collapse[4].

War of 1870

In September,1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Varennes was occupied by the Germans for three or four days, the village was subjected to theft, damage to housing and they had to feed the enemy troops and horses. The village was also forced to pay war reparations to the tune of 4122 Francs.

First World War

In 1916, the front line between the French and German forces was located about 7 kilometres (4 mi)from Varennes. Many underpasses were constructed and occupied in the surrounding villages, the tunnels of Varennes was occupied until Easter 1918 by British troops. In the tunnels, there’s an inscription “J. Connoly, Smith, Baker Sgt, 1918”.[4]

Places of interest

  • The church, rebuilt in 1771 with materials taken from the château of Hyerville, which had been destroyed after the death of Catherine de Rinchevalle. The church has a single nave. In 1803 the tower of 1771 was rebuilt.


Population history
1836 1851 1872 1884 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006
674 667 544 462 402 372 294 290 264 270 189 211 184 181 181 177 188
Starting in 1962: Population without duplicates

See also


  1. ^ A. de CARDEVAQUE relate les débuts de Franc-Mailly et de Varennes dans Varennes et l’abbaye de Clairfay, in La Picardie, 1879, Archives Départementales de la Somme, 16REV22. Cependant il est le seul à mentionner ces événements.
  2. ^ A. de CARDEVAQUE, Varennes et l’abbaye de Clairfay, in La Picardie, 1879, Archives Départementales de la Somme, 16REV22.
  3. ^ A. BOUTHORS, Les cryptes de Picardie, 1838, pièces justificatives p. 166-167, Archives Départementales de la Somme, 3REV1.
  4. ^ a b J-P. FOURDRIN, Les souterrains de Varennes, 1972, in Revue de la société des Antiquaires, Archives Départementales de la Somme, 2REV54.

External links


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