The Twinning of Shipston with France
By Diane Neath and Peter Cowley
On 18th April 1985, Shipston-on- Stour was twinned with Torigni-sur- Vire, a town in the Departement de La Manche in Normandy, France. The signing of the Twinning Charter took place at Shipston High School and it was signed by Pierre Dupont (Mayor of Torigni), Christine Hedouin (President of the Torigni Twinning Association) and Brenda Broughton (Mayor of Shipston). Keith McCarthy (then Chairman of the Shipston Twinning Association) and Brenda Broughton were presented with a large framed picture of the Chateau of Torigni which they accepted on behalf of the Shipston Twinning Association. It was to be hung in the council chamber when the offices at Clark House were completed. The following day, the Mayor and Committee of Torigni attended the official opening ceremony of Clark House the new premises of Shipston Town Council along with members of the public, architect John Bradley, builder Dennis Nason and all the craftsmen employed in the conversion of the building. Town, district and county councillors were also present. This was an important occasion as it was the inauguration of the first building owned by the Town Council, who had previously been tenants of the District Council. The building’s name commemorated the previous owners of the property, Clark Provision Merchants, who traded from the 1800’s to the 1980’s.
- Formerly crossed by two Roman roads and much like Shipston, it thrived as a settlement because of this position.
- One of the strongholds of the descendants of William the Conqueror who was born in nearby Falaise.
- The birthplace of Robert of Torigni, an influential 12th Century abbot and chronicler. Robert was godfather to Eleanor of Castile, the daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitane.
- The main historical building in Torigni is the Chateau of the Matignon family, who were related to the Royal Family of Monaco, the Grimaldis. The Chateau now houses the town hall and art gallery.
- Torigni and the surrounding area suffered severe war damage during the Battle of Normandy which followed the D-Day Landings in 1944. Torigni was taken from German occupation by American troops on 31st July 1944 but 350 houses were destroyed in the fighting and there were many civilian casualties.
On 1st January 2016 , Torigni-sur-Vire was merged with the communes of Brectouville, Gieville and Guilberville to create the new municipality of Torigny-les-Villes. This new municipality has inherited the twinning relationship and had a population of 4,352 in 2017, which is very similar to that of Shipston-on- Stour (4,500).
About the Twinning Associations
The Shipston-on-Stour Twinning Association and the Torigny-les-Villes Twinning Association arrange alternate visits to England and France each year. Due to Covid 19, the visit to Torigny planned for this year has been postponed until May 2021. The journey is usually made by coach and ferry and a full and varied programme is arranged for each visit.
The Twinning Association in Shipston are a friendly group and welcome new members of any age. You will be guaranteed an enjoyable weekend and with a lot of English speaking hosts in France, please don’t be put off if you can’t speak the French language. It is an ideal opportunity to experience the food, customs and culture of France. Lasting friendships have been made over the years. Our next visit is planned to take place from 28th to 31st May 2021.
If you are interested in visiting, please email Diane at: secretary@shipstontwin. co.uk or for more general information, take a look at our website www.shipston-torigni-twinning-association.co.uk. Also, please look out for any fundraising events in the future where you can meet members to ask any questions you may have.