Français English

Motto of Chartres

The motto Coin dated 1775


Like for the armory, the motto does not come out as a result of an officialedict. It is the result of centuries of history and is related with some significant events of its life.

In Chartres, the city motto is :

"Servanti civem querna corona datur"

"An oak crown to the savier of a citizen"

but one could say "An oak crown to those who respect a fellow citizen"

This allude to an old Roman custom to give a crown of oak leaves to those who save the life of another Roman on the battle field. It can be seen on medals accompanied with the words "ob cives serevatos".

Several facts from Chartres history may support this hypothesis.

In 1790 a Fellow Craft Masson named Hagrain and the Carpenter Brossier received from the City Mayor a sylver medal with the armoy of the town and a tricolored ribbon with the legend "Servanti civem querna corona datur" for having saved a woman buried under her house in Poissonnerie street. Also right after Robespierre, Jérôme Guillard, district responsible, received an oak leaves crown, for having protected to the risk of his own life, Chevard and 18 others sent to jail for political reasons.

For long it was believed that it was the motto of Janvier de Flainville, a lawyer. This is based on a document that shows that he ordered "two tokens representing the King on one face and the shield of the city surounded with oak leaves with the motto "Servanti civem querna corona datur"

The motto is probably older than that and certain persons go as far as 1114 without any proof of it.

Lucien Merlet in 1883, then secretary of the Archeological Society, describing the cartulary of the Abbaye of Tiron, mention a 1601 document, lost ever since, where a sery of figures are detailed. The 5th shield being identical to our present one, with a date 1114 and the owner : Thibaut Comte de Blois et de Chartres.

Why this motto rather than another ?

We know that around the end of the XVIth century a part of the middle-class society is fond of Antics and Beautiful Letters. The Huvé, the Savart and the Grenets among others left us many traces of their cultural  activities. Among them, Louis Huvé and Claude Savart wrote up the note describing the isometric projection of Chartres in the Belleforest' book.
Mayor at this time, Louis Huvé will have the text made by Jean Grenet, adopted by the City. This text was made to commemorate the actions and the courage of the people of Chartres during the 1568 siege. Was this to commemorate a particular act of courage or the general attitude of the population, nobody knows.

This motto may be seen at the railroad station on the wall, above the entrance on the tracks side.

May be that someone will find an old manuscript explaining all that.

1 : Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher (begining of the XIth)
2 : Blois
3 : The same
4 : Blois
5 : Chartres


Copyright © 1999 Antoine Launay

Last update :