commune of Pezuls,
situated at the Sainte Alvère (4km) - Trémolat (5km) and Le Bugue
(12km) - Lalinde (13km) crossroads, covers
and counts of population of
110 (official population on January 1, 2017). The commune includes hills,
plains and the small valleys which follow the Rèze stream. The
stream descends from its source at La Font du Calpre to flow
into the Dordogne at Trémolat. Altitude : 90m to 206m.
The site of
Pezuls has been inhabited since Gallo-Roman times and, according
to various books dealing with this period, was even crossed by
the Bordeaux-Brives Roman road.
Few actual traces of the Roman occupation exist in the area
except perhaps in place names. A plot of land just near the
church is called La
Caminade (from the
Gaulish ‘Camminos’ meaning ‘chemin’ in French, or ‘path’ in
English) which would support the theory of the Roman road
crossing the village.
References to the
parish of Pezuls first appear
in the 13th century
with « la parochia de Pesulio » in 1283.
According to a traditional story handed down over the years and
corroborated by a number of old writings, Pezuls was
a place of convalescence for the
nuns of Paunat Abbey.
Their lodgings - the ruins of which still existed well into the
19th century - were situated on the southern side of the church
into which was built a small, arched, communicating door.
Although the door has been walled up for a very long time, its
outline can still be seen.
According to the same story, a long time ago there existed a
church or chapel to the north-west of the village which may even
have been the parish church while the existing church may have
been the Paunat nuns’ chapel. No evidence exists to place or
date the church more exactly and nor are the reasons for its
St Anne’s Fountain, situated near the church, used to be a place
of worship and the old folk claimed that its waters would turn
milky before a storm.
The Puy de Rèze 18th
century manor house
stands on the site of a former castle - the
Castrum de Podio Daregas
- dominating the valley down to Trémolat. This haunt of the
nobility goes back a very long way as it was here that was born
Guillaume de Cendrieux de Pédevèges, fourth bishop of Sarlat,
1334 to 1338.
Before being demolished and replaced by the current manor house
by the Duchassaing de Fonbressin family, the château belonged to
the Lostanges family. In the Count’s honours list of 1541
Bertrand de Lostanges, Seigneur of Sainte Alvère and Puydarège, is
mentioned. For nearly 400 years now, since 1609, St Anne’s
church bell has had the name of its patron - Louis de Lostanges
- engraved on its side.
The village of Pezuls
changed slightly in the 19th century
when two new roads crossed the village, one going from Port de
Couze to Bretenoux, the other from Sainte Alvère to Trémolat’s train
station. Between 1877 and 1883 the decimation of the region’s
vines by the Phylloxera epidemic provoked a mass exodus of
people from the countryside and a drop in the population from
472 to 262 in 20 years. At the beginning of the 20th century the
situation was just beginning to improve when the Great War
intervened and the population dropped steadily from then on till
There is, however, hope at the beginning of the third millennium
as newcomers join the
calm and pleasant commune of Pezuls.
Text translated by Pays du Grand Bergeracois (professional translator).