1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Condom

CONDOM, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Gers, on the right bank of the Baïse, at its junction with the Gèle, 27 m. by road N.N.W. of Auch. Pop. (1906) town, 4046; commune, 6435. Two stone bridges unite Condom with its suburb on the left bank of the river. The streets are small and narrow and several old houses still remain, but to the east the town is bordered by pleasant promenades. The Gothic church of St Pierre, its chief building, was erected from 1506 to 1521, and was till 1790 a cathedral. The interior, which is without aisles or transept, is surrounded by lateral chapels. On the south is a beautifully sculptured portal. An adjoining cloister of the 16th century is occupied by the hôtel de ville. The former episcopal palace with its graceful Gothic chapel is used as a law-court. The sub-prefecture, a tribunal of first instance, and a communal college, are among the public institutions. Brandy-distilling, wood-sawing, iron-founding and the manufacture of stills are among the industries. The town is a centre for the sale of Armagnac brandy and has commerce in grain and flour, much of which is river-borne.

Condom (Condomus) was founded in the 8th century, but in 840 was sacked and burnt by the Normans. A monastery built here c. 900 by the wife of Sancho of Gascony was soon destroyed by fire, but in 1011 was rebuilt, by Hugh, bishop of Agen. Round this abbey the town grew up, and in 1317 was made into an episcopal see by Pope John XXII. The line of bishops, which included Bossuet (1668–1671), came to an end in 1790 when the see was suppressed. Condom was, during the middle ages, a fortress of considerable strength. During the Hundred Years’ War, after several unsuccessful attempts, it was finally captured and held by the English. In 1569 it was sacked by the Huguenots under Gabriel, count of Montgomery.

A list of monographs, &c., on the abbey, see and town of Condom is given s.v. in U. Chevalier, Répertoire des sources. Topobibliogr. (Montbéliard, 1894–1899).