Littérature sur Moudon
1) La ville de Moudon et ses musées (guides de monuments suisses SHAS)
2) L'église Saint-Etienne de Moudon (guides de monuments suisses SHAS)
3) La ville de Moudon (Les monuments d'art et d'histoire du canton de Vaud, tome VI)
Histoire de Moudon
The small market town of Moudon sits in the curves of the river Broye and is lulled by the cool waters of the river Mérine as it flows below the cliffs on which is perched the “Ville Haute” (high town). A medieval town, Moudon offers a rich variety of architecture and history. Moudon’s past - its present, which offers a multitude of events such as the Brandons, the Folklore Music Festival, the markets, the Open air cinema and the antique fairs - its future, with various property developments and other development projects, form a whole to make this small town a pleasant and interesting place to live.
Dating from the Roman era, a settlement was formed at the junction of the rivers Broye and Mérine and at the crossroads of the main European axes. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the inhabitants took refuge on the hill which was protected by these two rivers and which was fortified in about 1130 by the Count of Geneva and possibly again by the Zaehringen in around 1190.
This first settlement was conquered by the Count Thomas of Savoy around 1207 but still remained under the rule of the Bishop of Lausanne. Around the year 1260 Pierre II of Savoy established the seat of the bailliage of Vaud in Moudon and as a result the town became the administrative and judicial centre where the “Etats de Vaud” (Bailliages of the Vaud region) regularly met. Numerous other towns in the Canton of Vaud followed suite and adopted the model of its franchises.
In 1536 Moudon fell under the rule of Bern and adopted the “Reformation”, as did the entire “Pays de Vaud” (Vaud territory). The town remained at the head of a smaller constituency, of which the Bailiff resided in Lucens, and the following two and a half centuries of peace were favourable to the reinforcement of the local council administration and to the development of the middle class. At the time of the “Revolution”, Moudon became the chief towns of the district and adapted to the rapid development of traffic such as the creation of a railway line in the Broye in 1876, a tram line, the Jorat bus in 1902 followed by the Bern road in 1964. Particularly rich in its heritage of old buildings the entire town still carries the mark of these historical events. The upper part of the actual “rue du Chateau” (Castle Street) is the oldest sector with its archways on the houses and the large tower, a remnant of the ruling lord’s fortress. It also shows several similarities with the town of Bern and Fribourg. Moving southwards the rue du Chateau joins the “rue du Bourg” which runs along the ridge of a long rocky offshoot. Its still typical medieval appearance symbolised by the high outside rear walls of the houses being built as a prolongation to the sandstone cliffs on which they stand, has entitled the “Ville Haute” of Moudon to be classified as a site of national interest. The “Ville Basse” (low town) was formed during the first decades of the reign of the House of Savoy and was fortified around 1280 when the church of St-Etienne was built. It is the most important Gothic church in the Canton, after Lausanne Cathedral. Numerous major civil buildings from the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century are still present in this part of the town.
Text : Monique Fontannaz