Chalon


CHALON    Chalonnais or Chaunois (pays).  

English: View of Saône River in Chalon sur Saô...

English: View of Saône River in Chalon sur Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Bourgogne, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medieval County in southeastern French Burgundy, taking its name from the town of Chalon-sur-Saône, which is today in the Département of Saône-et-Loire and lies north of Mâcon and south of Dijon.

When the Carolingian lands were divided in 843, the middle Saône formed the boundary between the West Frankish Kingdom and the realm of the Emperor Lothar, separating Chalon from the lands on the eastern bank of the Saône.   After the death of Lothar II, son of the Emperor, in 869, the West Frankish Kingdom extended into many of his lands, and although they were mostly lost again within a dozen years, it seems that Chalon and the northern part of the plain of Bresse across the Saône continued to be held together.

The Duchy of Burgundy emerged in the West Frankish Kingdom in the late 9th/early 10th centuries. Closely associated with the first Duke, Richard the Justiciar, was Manasses, the Count of Chalon, a powerful prince in his own right, as was his son Gilbert, the Arch-Count of Burgundy, after him.   The Kingdom of Burgundy that emerged in Lothar’s old lands in 888 had its centre of power beyond the Jura.   Although the powerful County of Burgundy emerged to the northeast of the Chalon area, the Count of Chalon was able to hold on to his lands across the Saône.

The County passed in the 11th century to the lords of Semur-en-Brionnais and in the 12th century to those of Thiern.   A new twist was given to the Counts having a foot in both Kingdoms when the County passed in the early 13th century to the Count of Auxonne, who was a cadet of the original Counts of Burgundy and the most powerful noble within that County.

In 1237 Hugh II, the Duke of Burgundy, did a deal with both the aged Count of Auxonne and Chalon and his heir, John of Chalon, the real ruler of the County of Burgundy. They received lands around Salins and Ornan in the Jura and in exchange the Duke acquired the County of Chalon, which was henceforth part of the Duchy, though John and his descendants continued to use the title of Count of Chalon.

Chalon was also the seat of a Bishop, in the province of Lyon, until 1790.

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