A mythical place
AN VERY ANCIENT CIVILIZATION SETTLED IN SAINT-MARTIN
Traces carved in a stone would be related to writing symbols for some archeologists, for some others it is a major door basis.... as well as a tumb or asacrificial stone do attest of a very old presence in Saint Martin.
SAINT-MARTIN DURING THE ROMAN EMPIRE
A meeting takes place between Octavius, Antony and Lepidus near the river that borders Saint Martin, to prepare the signature of the second Triumvirate which divided the empire. Remains of roman legionnaires were discovered when our cellar was renovated.
The Department of Archeology excavated a gallo-roman farm compound inhabited from the second century B.C. to the seventh century A.C. as large as 9000 m2 which attests to the long presence of Romans on the site…. Making wine. Search parties discovered here two oil presses, a well, a forge, a complete wine-making installation, a garden, water ponds, columns….
THE ROMAN VILLA OF SAINT-MARTIN
The roman Villa of Saint Martin was discovered during an archeological search campaign from 1996 to 1999, headed by the Archeological Center of the Var. This Villa lasted for over 9 centuries!
Eight centuries during which several transformations were put to light. 5 different periods between the IInd century BC to 7th century AD. 1st occupation – 100 to 30/20 B.C.: First habitat is primitive. It belongs to indigenous people living in groupsand coexisting with theclose oppidum on the hill.Elements of handcrafts were found what is very seldom the case in that style of habitat. However, the press discovered there is the most ancient one of the Var.
2nd occupation – 30/20 BC. to 80/90 AD. A farm is erected, probably due to Roman colonization because of the material used, like lime and tile, which were unknown to primitive tribes. One can assume that a “colonial” complex – an antique farmhouse – was built by a veteran of the eighth Legion (Augusta), coming from the forum julii (Fréjus). 3rd occupation – 80/90AD.This third phase sees the construction of a very important villa, with a big part reserved to residency, a water basin of 7.5 X 2.5 with gardens around, a portico, thermal baths and richly decorated structures. Some rooms of the villa were richly decorated, with quite a number of different marbles. 4th occupation – 150 AD. to 500 AD. The residential area is now transformed into a farming zone. Three wine-making installations and a hydraulic mill (with an horizontal wheel) for olives modify the aspect of the villa. Saint Martin is the only example of the whole Var to hava had a continuous agricultural wine and olive vocation on such a long period. All plants around are abandonned at the same time as this villa increases 5th occupation – 500 AD to 600 AD.Olive and wine-making activities reduce to leave place for a more rural way of living turned towards cattle breeding (sheeps).
SAINT-MARTIN AND MEROVINGIAN
Merovingian inhabitants took the place of the Romans, as observed in the archeological search made with the encounter of bones and a jewel
From the Xth to the XVIIIteen century the monks created and developed on the land of Saint Martin a wine-making priory. They built a chapel in pure XIIth century style , which is now the family sepulcher, as well as an underground cellar (XIIth century) with stone-carved tanks with walls as thick as 1 to 1.20 meters, to which they added in the XVIeen century Hungarian oak vats.
The cellar was reshaped to its actual dimension in the XVIeen and XVIIeen centuries.
This cellar is remarkable by its basket handle shaped vault , its double openings and by the size of the stone, positioned much like a roman construction.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHATEAU in 1750
In 1740, Jean-Louis Leclerc de Juigné, Seigneur de Lassigny marries Marie Anne de Villeneuve Bargemon. Her father , Joseph, Marquis de Villeneuve Bargemon (1675-1752) buys the priory from the monks and builds the château (an inverted U-shape) to offer it to her as a wedding present . being fond of botanics, she will draw the "english style" garden in front of the Château.