© P.-J. Lescure
Sexcles is a small commune located in the department of Corrèze in the north-east of the region New-Aquitaine, more precisely in Xaintrie (1).
The 234 inhabitants (2), Sexclois and Sexcloises, live on a total area of 26 km2 with a density of 9 inhabitants per km2 and an average altitude of 440 m.
The village of Sexcles is part of the Community Xaintrie Val’Dordogne.*
The neighboring villages are Goulles, Hautefage, La Chapelle-Saint-Géraud, Saint-Bonnet-les-Tours-de-Merle, Camps / Saint-Mathurin-Leobazel and Mercoeur. Sexcles is located 9 km from the impressive Tours de Merle *, jewel of the medieval Limousin. The closest major cities to Sexcles are Aurillac (Cantal) at 41 km, Tulle at 46 km and Brive-la-Gaillarde at 55 km. Sexcles is 10 km from Argentat-sur-Dordogne *, a charming small town of 3,300 inhabitants. (* see our links on the home page)
(1) Little region located west of the Massif Central, straddling southern Limousin and Haute-Auvergne, Xaintrie is a granitic plateau cut by deep gorges bounded by the three rivers of Maronne, Cère and the Dordogne.
(2) Municipal legal population in force on January 1, 2018.
HISTORY and HERITAGE
The area is mentioned in a writing in the year 893 under the name Sicca vallis, meaning «dry valley». But, paradoxically, it is also said that the name of Sexcles comes from the Gallic and Occitan «sesca» meaning mass of water, reeds, plants used especially for litter, straw mattresses and chairs ...
The village, described by one of his natives in the late nineteenth century:
«The commune of Sexcles is one of the most important and best cultivated in the canton (of Mercoeur). The air is pure, the mild climate, the fertile soil and the surroundings of the village offer the aspect of the richest culture. Rooted plants and artificial meadows make fallow land disappear. Surrounded by a vast and enchanting belt of meadows and gardens, embellished by a shaded place of a beautiful linden tree, the village is dominated by a church of high antiquity, enriched with two chapels, decorated with sculptures, adorned with stained glass, surmounted by a beautiful bell tower.» Extract of the Communal Monographs of the Xaintrie by Mr. Saint-Bonnet - 1886.
The church Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité has preserved pre-romanesque structures from the 11th century in its choir, which was raised in the 16th century for the defense and of which there remains machicolation, but the rounded paths (patrol path?) disappeared. The bell tower is XIth. The flat sided church supports a square bell tower crowned with a brattice dating from the roman era (XIth century). The upper facade is illuminated with three Romanesque bays and the portal is surmounted by a semicircular arch supported by columns. The choir, vaulted with a wide cradle, is illuminated by an arched bay. It is much narrower than the nave. The nave is open to the sides by arThe church Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité has preserved pre-romanesque structures from the 11th century in its choir, which was raised in the 16th century for the defense and of which there remains machicolation, but the round path disappeared.cades, to chapels of the fifteenth and the nineteenth century, its vault is paneled. The altarpiece is decorated with shells, which could be a reference to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. The facade was rebuilt around 1867. Two stained glass windows, made in the workshop of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, were installed in 1973. A large stone wheel is now the altar.
The «Castle of Sexcles» is a noble house (cannot be visited), dating from 1510, endowed with pinnacles, a watchtower and which sports on a door lintel 3 letters: PVH in addition to the intertwined symbol of Jesus and Mary. The PVH letters can correspond to Pierre Ventach. The Ventachs, in fact, had a house and seigneurial rights in Sexcles.
The chateau, the tower of which is the main element of interest, also has a beautiful «basket handle» fireplace, a cupboard in a wall vaulted niche, a corner mullioned window.
A charming covered well is located below the church, near the main square of the village. Set upon a paving worn by the wheels of the carts. It is a round well with a wooden frame supporting the winch and a pavilion slate covered roof. This small building, an endearing witness to the daily life of the sexclois (es) of the old days, is one of the emblems of our village.
Wolf are you there ?
The "beast" of Xaintrie", 1743-1744 *
Twenty years before the beast of Gévaudan in Lozère, the province of Lower Limousin, a current department of Corrèze, suffered the misdeeds of the beast of Xaintrie. In 1743, three parishioners of Camps and Sexcles were found slaughtered. The following year, the pace of the attacks intensified. According to a report in March 1744, the wolf does not seem to do any harm to the cattle but devours all the children he meets and especially the girls. Twenty-one of them succumb to his fangs, many of them aged 12 and 13. Despite its destruction in January 1744, the «beast» or «male beast» later resurfaced. The parishes of Sexcles and La Chapelle-Saint-Géraud were particularly affected by these attacks.
Transcript of the burial register of the Parish of Sexcles - October 3, 1744 :
On October 3 of this year, I buried in the cemetery of this parish the remains of a boy about six years of age, legitimate son of Jean Lascazes and Jeanne Cafoulens of the village of Murgat, named Jean, strangled and half devoured by the male beast ...
* Texte and photos : Archives départementales Corrèze
IMAGES FROM THE PAST
In his big fur coat, Jean-Pierre Moulé, grocer of the village, next to his "taxi" with which he drove sexclois to the fair in Argentat. In return, in the so-called "Sexcles climb", it was sometimes necessary that the passengers come down to push the vehicle overload ... Near him, sitting on the car wing, his daughter Jeanne nicknamed "Nénette". (about 1925)
The road leading from the road (now D1120) to the center of the village was then just a stony path.
The village square was once embellished with a majestic lime tree whose base was surrounded by a wall that greeted the villagers time for a chat ...
The linden tree has disappeared. Appearance on the other hand of the first electric poles, first automobiles and Daulhac restaurant.
Located at the exit of the village, on the road to Saint-Bonnet-the-Turns of Merle, the mill of the Vergnarel was created in 1803, It was fed by a channel of diversion called "bief" and produced oil of walnut thanks to its 2 wheels. It was later transformed into a seed mill (wheat, rye and buckwheat flours). A tourist accomodation has been recently converted to its lower level.
View of the village from the road of the Pagésie in the end of
70s, before the creation of the communal subdivision.