Le Petit Bleu, 16 August 2012
Twinning with Walkern: a First Sketch
An article published 16 August 2012 in Le Petit Blue (the local paper for the Dinan region) on Peter Sinclair’s visit to Lanvallay. The article has very kindly been translated for us by Flora Moxon
Twinning with Walkern: a First Sketch
Jean-Yves Delarocheaulion welcomed Peter Sinclair and Dolores Altara, UK citizens and ambassadors of the future twinning between the two communities.
This first meeting between the two communities allowed the foundations to be laid of a twinning which will be primarily historical and cultural and could be in place before 2015.
Jean-Yves Delarocheaulion first reminded all that Lanvallay is at this point in time composed of three associated municipalities. The sous-prefet (a local official) of Dinan has just signed the Act confirming the vote by the municipal council in favour of complete fusion (August 7, 2012). The origin of these three communities derives from the 3rd and 4th centuries, thanks to the existence of monks who depended on the bishopric of Dolde-Bretagne. Lanvallay?s population is 3,731: it grew into the 1950?s and stabilized in the mid 1980?s. Since 2001, new population growth heads towards 4,000 inhabitants.
Walkern administered by a Parish Council
Walkern is a small parish of 2,500 souls situated 30 km north of London in the county of Hertfordshire. It is a small, historical village with Saxon origins that is close to Stevenage, a large industrial town with 10,000 inhabitants created in the 1950?s. ?In our country, it is the parish council that manages village affairs, it is not a municipal council. Local management is complicated: local citizens who want to take part, assist and work are involved. On the one hand, our budget is limited: the district council distributes limited funds for sports, youth and specific needs. On the other hand, road maintenance is the responsibility of the county, explains Peter Sinclair, a member of Walkern History Society.
There is a town in Ireland with the name of Lanvallay and there is an effigy of Guillaume (William) de Lanvalei in Walkern church.
An Official Agreement in 2013?
The fact that this meeting has taken place is above all the result of the enormous work, lasting more than ten years, carried out by Jean-Pierre Fournier who has a keen interest in his village. Having placed most of his research, embellished with many photos and archival documents, into a blog he was able to interest his friends across the English Channel, the Walkern historians. In a lengthy speech, he explained the aims and methods of his research. ?And I congratulate myself that I am able to share the fruits of my research through the internet, the tool which offers enormous opportunities for information exchange.?
?After this first meeting, we are thinking of cultural twinning as the next step. This would allow exchange of past history and current events, involving young people and families. It is good to forge links in a way that enables our two communities to get to know each other. We could begin with a journey of discovery to your village of Walkern,? proposed the Mayor.
?We are also quite favourable towards historical and cultural twinning through our schools, sports and tourism. From a scheduling point of view, we could arrange the visit of a Lanvallay delegation in the six months following the official agreement in 2013. We need to launch the project and progress without putting up barriers, also thinking about future possibilities via our children?, replied Peter Sinclair. In the meantime, the Walkern parish council will make a decision based on the report of this first visit.
(1) In 2015 Walkern will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta or Great Charter established in 1215 between King John and the great barons of the kingdom who would see their rights diminished compared to the English crown. This charter establishes the power of the baron for some time.
Related since the Middle Ages
The two communities have been related since the Middle Ages by the lords of of Lanvallay who lived and owned land on both sides of the Channel. Their first lord, the Baron of Walkern, finds his origins here: [he was] the grandson of Guillaume III of Lanvallay [and] played an important ?social? role during the first English revolution which gave birth to the Magna Carta. William de Lanvallei was one of the founders of Walkern (refer to the article in Le Petit Bleu, July 5th on page 20)