Abreuveurs

Abreuveurs

First of all….What is an Abreuveur? Quite simply it is a watering place. Sometimes we find an Abreuveur consists of a simple trough where water is supplied, usually from a spring for the benefit of cattle that would be brought to drink from it. Other Abreuveurs will include both a trough for the cattle and a “Fontaine” or well from which the local inhabitants would obtain their drinking water. In St. Martin we also have Abreuveurs which not only include both a drinking trough and Fontaine but also a Pierre a lav’ne or washing stone. You can perhaps picture in your mind a group of people two or three hundred years ago, gathering around the abreuveur with the men talking and herding their cattle or sheep. The womenfolk, I suspect would be filling buckets with drinking water, washing clothes and passing around the latest gossip. The local Abreuveur would be the focal point of the many hamlets within our Parish of St. Martin.

Back in the 18th and 19th Century’s there were probably upwards of 40 working Abreuveurs dotted around the Parish. That figure has slowly shrunk through the ravages of time and the fact the coming of piped water made the Abreuveur obsolete. Now in the 21st century we have some 25 Abreuveurs which are still in good order and are kept that way by volunteers from the Parish Douzaine (Council).

The Abreuveurs are never renovated to the point that they look pristine because that was not the way they were designed to be. They were there for the sole purpose of supplying water, either for drinking or washing. Our volunteers therefore try and keep the 25 plus Abreuveurs in our care in a good, working condition and all are accessible to the public who are actively encouraged to visit them. All are named and have signage explaining their function.

Abreuveur-Le-Becquet Abreuveur-Les-Quatre-Vents Abreuveur-Calais
Abreuveur-La-Bouvee Abreuveur-La-Fosse-2 Abreuveur-Le-Rocher-(Moullin-Huet)