History of Maison Porte del Marty

Welcome to our home, Maison Porte del Marty. Unfortunately we can’t give you a complete history of our house, but we can give you some interesting background to the property and immediate district.

Paintin of Lalinde, circa 1820Up until the very early 1900’s, the Occitan language, with its various dialects was the main language spoken throughout the south / south west of France, parts of the east of Spain, Monaco and Piemonte in Italy . Pure French is a relatively recent arrival in this region and even today many of the older generations still converse in their Occitan language. In the Perigord it’s known as the local ” patois ” which we understand sounds very different from Occitan

In 1242 the name LaLinda (Occitan) or LaLinde (French) appears on records as a new Parish established in the old Roman fishing village, river port and river crossing town of Diolindum. Diolindum was on the Roman road running between Cahors and Perigueux and also Bordeaux to Sarlat. It appears the main river crossing was at Pontours slightly upriver from our house and on the left bank. The name Diolindum translates to ‘ sacred water ‘ and history would suggest Diolindum had a spiritual significance dating back to pagan times, but also recognised by the Roman rulers. In 1267, a wealthy English knight of French heritage, Geoffroy de la Lynde, was given the responsibility by Prince Edouard, son of Henri III, Plantagenet King, to build the first bastide town of the Périgord at LaLinde. The family name of La Lynde is purely coincidental; the La Lynde family had settled in Dorset during the time of William the Conqueror and had no former ties to this area.

Beside our cellar is one of the few remaining archways / doorways of the original LaLinde bastide wall and also some remains of the cobble street that gave access to the Port of St Front.Abbot Marty's Gate ( Porte del Marty ) The bastide village of LaLinde was protected by the river on one face and the balance surrounded by a moat. This was filled in with earth from the construction of the Mauzac to Tuilière canal completed in 1844. The canal was built to bypass the river passage between Mauzac and Porte de Couze ( with Lalinde in the middle ) which was a mass of rapids that made navigation extremely dangerous in flood and almost impossible during the dry months. The canal had a relatively short economic life as the opening of the rail line from Bordeaux to Perigueux in 1879 and also connecting to Agen and Toulouse was the death knell for the river trade.

So why Maison Porte del Marty ? Abbot Marty was the priest of St Pierre du Pin during the mid 13th century. St Pierre -ès-Liens à LalindeThe handsome church you see today, St Pierre-ès-Liens, was built during 1897 >1901 and replaced the original and battle weary St Pierre du Pin of the 11th Century. St Pierre du Pin was built over another smaller and earlier church which was the church of the original Chateau of Lalinde that was on our site during the 9th and 10th century. When the Lalinde riverside bastide wall was constructed in the 13th century, the foundations and some remains of our original Chateau were found and recorded along with the older Roman wall ( around the 2nd or 3rd century ) which formed part of this Chateau. Few written records remain apart from the property’s description  and some legal documents  from a local dispute which was mediated by the Chevalier – Knight Templar of the Chateau. In these ancient times the church served as a town hall, a fortress and a place of celebration of faith. With the wonderful history of our property, we were spoilt with choices of suitable names for our house and asked the local community for guidance, Maison Porte del Marty was by far the preferred choice.

We understand that Abbot Marty was so often meeting and greeting the local villagers and regular river arrivals at the gate of the Port of St Front, they named the gate after him, “ Porte del Marty “ – The gate/door of Marty ( and let’s face it, La Porte du Port de St Front was quite a mouthful ! )

In our cellar there remains the cobble floored room of the gatehouse  from the Port .  Our basement also holds a nicely preserved Roman wall dating from the 2nd or 3rd century.

Front of houseThe house you visually see today bears little resemblance to the forts and fortified houses that have been built, destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed on this site over the many centuries of war. Our house of today was fully rebuilt in 1889/90 before St Pierre-ès-Liens was constructed, but after the new Pont de Lalinde opened. This year (2011) the bridge has had a comprehensive facelift and widening without any strengthening required, a great testament to the engineering abilities of the 19th century. Maison Porte del Marty has also had a serious “ spring clean and upgrade “ over the past 4 years, but we have tried hard to retain the spirit of the past along with installing necessities such as running hot water & electricity & heating ! … we feel we have struck a good balance.

We were told by the family (Boileau) from whom we purchased the house that this property had been owned by various lines of their family ( LaTour , Lartigue ) for over 600 years. Their family had long ties to the military, medical and river trading heritage of the Dordogne – Aquitaine – Guyenne …but few records remain of this heritage. The brutal and century’s long wars of religion and King left little recorded history to research.

The port and church of St Front has its own unique story. St Front is an 11th century church on a rock outcrop overlooking Lalinde and the old port of St Front . In the mythical history of Lalinde, a fierce dragon ( coulobre ) took great delight in dining on the crew of the many fishing boats, barges and rafts that traded the Dordogne river ( even the Vikings made it this far plundering their way through the SW of France ) Our coulobre also took pleasure in tormenting and feasting on anyone game enough to try fishing, washing or bathing ( including beautiful damsals ) on the riverfront of Lalinde. Destitute, terrified and praying for salvation , the villagers approached the Bishop of Perigueux for help, the apostle, Saint Front arrived and saved the day,  returning peace and prosperity to our village.View from St Front The myth has  a few different endings, some suggesting St Front lit a big fire and banished the dragon to his death by burning, another suggests the dragon dived into the water never to be seen again, another has St Front killing the dragon with his holy sword, whatever the ” truth “,   St Front  secured for us the beautiful place we savour every day. In honour of his skill, bravery and compassion the villagers built a new church and named this church St Front-de-Colubri which was constructed on the rock outcrop ( opposite our house ) from where the dragon swept on his prey. So a great story and part of the folklore of Lalinde.

Another aspect which would take many pages to cover is the history of the ‘ English ‘ in this region, part of Eliénor d’ Aquitaines Royal lands, the first  ” 100 year war ” was fought through these lands culminating in the final battle between the French and the English at Castillon la Bataille with the English losing the battle and territory on July 17th, 1453. Towards the end of the 1500’s and well into the 1600’s the War(s) of Religion was fought throughout the Aquitaine territory and ended with a crushing victory against the protestants.