CHARTRES Chartrain (pays).
County (later a titular Duchy) in western France;
- A Bishopric.
The city of Chartres stands on the River Eure, southwest of Paris, and has been the capital of the Department of Eure-et-Loir since 1790.
1. The County was held by the Counts of Blois after the death of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks, in 956, and formed the north of the great principality built up by them. On the death in 1218 of the last Count of Blois of the House that had ruled there since the 10th century, Blois and Chartres became separated, each being held by aunts of the last Count.
In 1256 when the daughter of the aunt who had acquired Chartres died, her cousin of Blois reunited the Counties, but Blois was much weaker by then and in 1286 Chartres was sold to the King, who gave it to his brother, Charles, Count of Valois, in 1293. His son became King in 1328.
Francis I gave the Duchy of Chartres to Renée of France, Duchess of Ferrara, the daughter of Louis XII. Her grandson returned it to the Crown in 1623 and Louis XIII granted it to his brother Gaston, Duke of Orléans. He died without male heir in 1660, when the Duchy of Chartres was given to the new Duke of Orléans, the brother of Louis XIV. Thereafter it was used as the title of the heir to the Dukedom of Orléans.
2. The diocese of Chartres began in Roman times. It belonged to the province of Sens until 1622, then to that of Paris. The territory of the Department of Eure-et-Loir became the diocese in 1790. Chartres was temporarily suppressed, 1802-22.