1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Loudun

LOUDUN, a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Vienne, on an eminence overlooking a fertile plain, 45 m. by rail S.W.of Tours. Pop. (1906) 3931. It was formerly surrounded by walls, of which a single gateway and two towers remain. Of the old castle of the counts of Anjou which was destroyed under Richelieu, the site now forming a public promenade, a fine rectangular donjon of the 12th century is preserved; at its base traces of Roman constructions have been found, with fragments of porphyry pavement, mosaics and mural paintings. The Carmelite convent was the scene of the trial of Urban Grandier, who was burnt alive for witchcraft in 1634; the old Romanesque church of Sainte Croix, of which he was cure, is now used as a market. The church of St Pierre-du-Marché, Gothic in style with a Renaissance portal, has a lofty stone spire. There are several curious old houses in the town. Theophraste Renaudot (d. 1653), founder of the Gazette de France, was born at Loudun, where there is a statue of him. The manufacture of lace and upholstery trimming and of farm implements is carried on, and there is a considerable trade in agricultural products, wine, &c. Loudun (Laudunum in ancient times) was a town of importance during the religious wars and gave its name in 1616 to a treaty favourable to the Protestants.