The remains of the Gallo-Roman walls, shown in the photo, are the backdrop for la Nuit de Chimères. https://www.lemans-tourisme.com/en/partenaire/view/id/2353/category/53The photo Nuit de Chimère I have chosen is called “Colour and shapes explode on the Gallo Roman wall”; Lorke, May 2010.In the eleventh century, Le Mans was the capital city of the traditional province, Maine; (Le Mans is now in Sarthe). Maine was the stage for struggles between the Normans and the counts of Anjou. In 1066, when the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conquerer successfully invaded England. While he had his eye off the ball the citizens of Maine revolted and in 1069 expelled the Normans.
Interestingly, our French neighbours visited Hastings and were surprised to hear about 1066 and all that. They said that “The Normans were not French” and their travails did not appear on their school syllabus.
Jan 2018: After 950 years, France to lend Bayeux Tapestry to Britain.
The Times newspaper’s cartoonist Peter Brookes linked Bayeux and Brexit in his offering in Wednesday’s edition, which was drawn in the style of the tapestry. It depicted Macron as “Emmanuel the Conqueror” riding forth with a confident smile as May, brandishing a Brexit banner, received an arrow in the eye. Britain’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, was depicted slumped forward on a horse with two arrows in his bottom. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-france-tapestry/after-950-years-france-to-lend-bayeux-tapestry-to-britain-idUSKBN1F60T7
Back in Le Mans, time passed and in 1128 Geoffrey V of Anjou married Matilda of England in the cathedral, St Julien (remembered in centre of picture below*).
Their son, Henry II Plantagenet, king of England was born in Le Mans in 1133.
In 1153, Henry landed in England with an army, to discuss the throne of England with his Uncle Stephen for the throne; Henry prevailed. In the English censuses down to the twentieth century the surname Mans (latterly often spelled Manns) was virtually confined to the counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and their borderlands, reflecting the original settlement patterns in the Welsh Marches of the original followers of Henry’s from Le Mans in 1154.
I looked up the surnames Mans and Manns in the Marches areas in The Phone Book today and there are still entries. Must make family geneology a bit easier.
*A collection of old British tobacco tins at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. labelled for non-commercial re-use.