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Abbaye Blanche
Abbaye Blanche
Coat of arms of Mortain
Coat of arms
Mortain is located in France
Coordinates: 48°38′55″N 0°56′23″W / 48.6486°N 0.9397°W / 48.6486; -0.9397Coordinates: 48°38′55″N 0°56′23″W / 48.6486°N 0.9397°W / 48.6486; -0.9397
Country France
Region Lower Normandy
Department Manche
Arrondissement Avranches
Canton Mortain
Intercommunality Mortain
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Michel Desfoux
 • Land1 7.44 km2 (2.87 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Population2 1,893
 • Population2 density 250/km2 (660/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 50359 / 50140
Elevation 102–327 m (335–1,073 ft)
(avg. 232 m or 761 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Mortain is a commune in the Manche department in Normandy in north-western France.


Mortain is situated on a rocky hill rising above the gorge of the Cance, a tributary of the Sélune.


Mortain is the seat of a canton. It is a former subprefecture of the Manche department and the seat of the former arrondissement of Mortain, which existed from 1790 to 1926.

Remembrance memorial - 30th Infantry Division


In the Middle Ages Mortain was the head of an important county (comté), reserved for the reigning house of Normandy (see List of Counts of Mortain). Around 1027 it was established for Robert, who was probably an illegitimate son of Richard I of Normandy. He was succeeded by William Warlenc ("the waning") who was probably his son. In or about 1049 Duke William took it from William Warlenc and bestowed it on his half-brother, Robert, thenceforth known as "count of Mortain," whose vast possessions in England after the Conquest (1066) gave name to "the small fees of Mortain," which owed less feudal service than others. Robert was succeeded as count by his son William, Count of Mortain, who rebelled against Henry I, was captured at the battle of Tinchebrai (1106) and forfeited his possessions. Some years later, Henry bestowed the comtéship on his nephew Stephen, who became king in 1135. On Stephen's death (1154) his surviving son William became count of Mortain, but when William died childless in 1159 the title was resumed by Henry II. On the accession of Richard I (1189) he granted it to his brother John, who was thenceforth known as count of Mortain until he ascended the throne (1199). With his loss of Normandy the comté was lost, but after the recapture of the province by the House of Lancaster, Edmund Beaufort, a grandson of John of Gaunt, was created count of Mortain and so styled till 1441, when he was made earl of Dorset.

In August 1944, Mortain was the site of an important battle between the German and American forces. Over a period of six nights the 30th Infantry Division fought valiantly (with one radio with dying batteries) against the German Panzer counter-attack of Operation Lüttich, to preserve the breakout established in Operation Cobra. Famed author J.D. Salinger fought alongside the American forces - an experience in which his daughter claims led to post-traumatic syndrome[citation needed].


Arms of Mortain

The arms of Mortain are blazoned :
Azure, semy de lys Or, a bend compony argent and gules.

arms borrowed from Évreux-Navarre family, former counts of Mortain and kings of Navarre.


The parish church of St Evroult is a magnificent example of the transitional style of the early 13th century. Close to the town is the Abbaye Blanche, founded as a Benedictine convent in 1105 and soon afterwards affiliated to Cîteaux. The church is a perfect example of a Cistercian monastic church of the late 12th century, and portions of the 12th-century cloisters also survive. The ruins of a castle was once the home of the cruel Sir Guillaume de Mortain and the site of the Gap of Goeblin.

Notable people[edit]

Mortain was the birthplace of Ferdinand André Fouqué (1828–1904), geologist and petrologist.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Mortain is twinned with:

External Sources[edit]


  1. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns [via WaybackMachine.com]". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  2. ^ "Dorset Twinning Association List". The Dorset Twinning Association. Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortain — Please support Wikipedia.
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118 news items

la Manche Libre
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 01:37:30 -0700

L'angoisse avant les résultats est terminée : à Mortain, les résultats du bac sont tombés. La série littéraire a d'ores et déjà 100% de réussite, les BEP aussi : cris de joie parmi les élèves ! On reste cependant loin de l'ambiance d'antan, beaucoup d ...
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:07:30 -0700

In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFevers' New York Times best-selling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her ...
The Daily Iberian
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 04:00:24 -0700

In the Battle of Mortain, Sarkies and five or six others were holding a hill. They were out of food and water, so he went back to try to reach the platoon and fill up on water. He was walking through an apple orchard when he was spotted by a German plane.
McDuffie Mirror
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 22:28:18 -0700

Highlights of our itinerary included: Omaha Beach; Utah Beach; Caen; Bayeux; St. Lo; Mortain (likely the victory confirming the Germans could not stop the momentum of the Allied forces), Brussels; Margraten; three American cemeteries (Normandy American ...


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:03:45 -0700

Féminines : 1. Vanessa Carnet (ALB athlé 35). 2. C. Poirier (Jogg'Hilaire). 3. S. Gourdel (AC Avranches). 5 km : 1. M. Perrigault (GDM Saint-James). 2. M. Viel (NL). 3. M. Chartois (Courir en baie Pontorson). 4. B. Clerice (NL). 5. P. Monrocq (Athlé ...
Augsburger Allgemeine
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:41:15 -0700

Der Festausklang Samstagabend hatte vielleicht nur vorübergehenden Charakter, waren doch die meisten Gäste – auch die Delegation aus Mortain – am Sonntag noch beim morgendlichen Gottesdienst zu sehen. Sänger und Musikanten aus vier Ländern ...


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 19:03:45 -0700

Dimanche 27 juillet, à 9 h 45, rassemblement à la carrière de Bourberouge, suivi d'une messe à 10 h, et d'une cérémonie patriotique au monument (route de Mortain à Barenton) à 11 h. Renseignements au 02 33 59 13 63 ou 06 28 53 69 43. Facebook ...
la Manche Libre
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 22:03:45 -0700

Ainsi, le 30 juin, les habitants de Mortain, ville figurant sur l'un des trois itinéraires mis en place par le préfet de Vichy, assistent au “lamentable exode” des réfugiés venant de Carentan, de Saint-Jean-de-Daye, de Saint-Lô et de ses cantons voisins.

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