Coussac’s village takes its origin from a gallo-Roman villa (ÇOCIACUM: literally the domain of Codus) but unfortunately no vestige remained now . The nearness of gold mines deposits and of the commercial road Méditerranée-Britanny, which, today even, bounds partially the municipal finage, explains the age of the populating.

Seat of a monetary factory, from the middle of the VII th Century, under the Carolingians, Coussac power decreasing for the benefit of Bret, where constructions of a vast surrounding wall and two clods are still buried under the vegetation.

After the dismantling of this tremendous citadel, in 1242, Coussac recovered a strategic foreground role : bolt of the big road of Limoges to Ségur and to Bas-Limousin, the village became, after Brétigny-calais’s treaties, one of the stakes in French-English fights in the region. Thanks to the “Guerre de Cent Ans” ( One hundred years war against England) the Bonneval family stressed their local implanting, at the same time as climbed in the hierarchy : ” Chastillon, Bourdillon, Galiot and Bonneval govern the royal blood ” as we were put into verse in the yard of Charles VIII and of Louis XII, but the star of the family declined after Pavie: Religious wars till the Sling, The Bonneval were in all the revolts against the rising absolutism; alternately in the service of France, of the Habsbourg and of the “Grand Turc”, Claude-Alexandre ( 1675-1747 ) who embodied the quintessence of anxieties and frustrations of the European nobility during this time.

Once the excitements of the Revolution decreased – which gives evidence of” Coussac-Sans-Culottes’s ” name, used during the Convention-, the village knew a century of demographic development – its population peaked to 3 672 inhabitants in 1901 – and even economic, in spite of the desolation of big projects (such as the canal of the Loire in the Garonne, following the track of the Valentine) and the failure of too audacious companies; if the porcelain factory, based by the marquee Hippolyte de Bonneval in 1825, closed its doors thirteen years later, the exploitation of kaolin (started in 1784 in Frougeix) animated the coussacoise campaign until Second World war, and so giving us the explicit nickname of ” China of Limousin “.

Indeed, among St-Yrieix and Coussac-Bonneval, the careers of Marcognac’s kaolin, discovered in 1786 are at the origin of the porcelaine of Limoges. Situated on the arédienne’s municipality, they doubtless establish the first vein of several exploitations of the same type which stretched on the municipality of Coussac: Marsaguet, Pierrefiche and Marsac who constituted with Marcognac a line where once we found, still at the beginning of century, a kaolin of great quality. However in the course of the years this very good porcelain clay was more and more rare, so that all the exploitations on the municipality of Coussac-Bonneval were abandoned in the 50’s. Today numerous museums to be visited, notably situated in Limoges and St-Yrieix La Perche, remind us of this story, not to forget that these careers produced a main part of the kaolin used for the manufacture of china.



Old quarry Marcognac kaolin, French Heritage monument to St yrieix la perche

Around 1760, discovered deposits of kaolin in the region of Yrieix. The career of the great Vergne is operated until 1936 to power the manufacture de Sèvres. Mostly fragile constructions, parts of wood and mud. Buildings reveal the site a mixture of extraction activities, agricultural and market gardening. The pits were open. A system of wagons is implemented as early as 1880. This site is both the oldest and the one who worked the longest.

Source: Ministry of Culture, France



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