Last modified: 2023-09-02 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: saint-méen-le-grand | ermine (black) |
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Flag of Saint-Méen-le-Grand - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 November 2021
The municipality of Saint-Méen-le-Grand (4,576 inhabitants in 2020; 1,821 ha) is located 43 km west of Rennes.
Mewan (French: Méen) (born ca. 540, died 617) was a Celtic saint active in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.
Mewan was of a Welsh family from Ergyng and was a relative of Saint Samson of Dol. He travelled to Cornwall with Samson and Austol and founded the church at St Mewan, near St Austell.
Later, Mewan and Austol followed Samson of Dol to Brittany. After Samson of Dol's passing, Mewan travelled to meet the Breton King Waroch II of Bro Gwened and had to cross the Paimpont forest. There he met a wealthy landowner named Cadfan who offered him lodging and food for the night. After spending the evening conversing with Mewan, Cadfan could not resolve himself to let Mewan go. Deeply moved by what he had heard, Cadfan offered to donate all his possessions to erect a church and an abbey at Gaël, on the condition that Mewan himself would build and inhabit it. Originally dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the abbey was later named the Abbey of St-Méen.
From 1878 to 1879 the Breton Bard Jean-Baptiste Théodore Marie Botrel lived with his grandmother in Saint-Méen-le-Grand, in a cottage in Parson. His work was deeply marked by these years.
In 1918, the official name of the town was changed from Saint-Méen to Saint-Méen-le-Grand to differentiate it from the town of Saint-Méen located in Finistère.
Olivier Touzeau, 4 November 2021
The coat of arms of Saint-Méen-le-Grand is blazonned:
Gules, three inescutcheons Argent, each one charged with three ermine spots Sable.
The arms are based on those of the Coëtlogon family (same arms but with inescutcheons of plain ermine), as Robert IV de Coëtlogon became the first abbott of the local abbey in 1443.
The coat of arms adopted by the commune of Saint-Méen-le-Grand is made after the arms on the local abbey, maybe a simplified representation with only three ermine spots.
The adoption of these arms could have been a problem, because this coat of arms, with three ermine spots, is also the official coat of arms of the town of Ménéac, based on the arms of the Du Bé family. These arms were adopted by Raymond Dubé in 1966 for the "Association des Dubé d'Amérique", and then finally by the commune of Ménéac in Morbihan in 1973 (e-mail from the municipal services, 10 November 2021).
A white flag can be seen in the municipal council’s room (photo). I asked the municipality for more details about this flag. I got confirmation (e-mail from the municipal services, 4 November 2021) that this flag has the emblem of the commune (coat of arms on a crozier and with the name of the commune below).
Olivier Touzeau, 10 November 2021