The Mythical Place
A VERY ANCIENT CIVILIZATION HAS TAKEN UP RESIDENCE IN SAINT-MARTIN
Traces of the first symbols of writing at the time of prehistory (geometrical shapes carved in stone), and a sacrifice stone testify to the presence of a very ancient civilization on the lands of Saint Martin.
WINE CENTURIES OF HISTORY
SAINT-MARTIN IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE
A meeting, on the banks of the river that runs along the estate, between Octavian, Antoine and Lepidus for the signature of the 2nd triumvirate sharing the Roman Empire. Bones of armed Roman legionnaires were found during the expansion of the cellar, and a magnificent inhabited villa from the 2nd century BC to the 7th century AD testify to the intense presence of the Romans, and the fact that they were already making wine.
The Departmental Directorate of Archaeology has unearthed a Gallo-Roman farmhouse of great importance, which was inhabited from the 2nd century BC to the 7th century AD and which finally covered 9000m².
The excavations that took place have led to the discovery of 2 oil presses, a well, a forge, a whole wine-growing installation, a pleasure garden, a basin, columns etc…
THE GALLO-ROMAN VILLA OF SAINT-MARTIN
The villa of Saint Martin was unearthed during an excavation campaign from 1996 to 1999 by the Var Archaeological Center under the direction of its then president, Doctor Jacques Berato.
This “villa”, with a surface area of approximately 10,000 m2 (including the courtyard) has seen 6 centuries of occupation from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 7th century.
This occupation, over such a long period, was of course not without transformation. These modifications could be found during the excavations.
1st phase: 100 to 30/20 years B.C.
The first habitat is indigenous, so it is a small farm run by shepherds raising goats and sheep. However, the discovery of a press stalk may suggest that olive growing was already present.
2nd phase: 30/20 years before JC to 80/90 years after JC.
A small farm is set up, probably the result of the Roman colonization. Indeed the materials used (lime and tiles) were unknown to the natives. The hypothesis of a colonial creation is plausible. The ancient “farm” was perhaps given to a veteran of the 8th legion “Augusta” of the forum julii colony (Fréjus).
3rd phase: 80/90 AD.
This third phase sees the construction of the villa, with another very visible orientation, with its ornamental basin, its portico, its baths, and its richly decorated buildings. No trace of agricultural exploitation has been found.
4th phase: 150 AD to 500 AD.
During this phase, the residential part is transformed into an agricultural exploitation: Three wine-making installations (presses, crushing machines, vats and dolia) and a hydraulic mill (with a horizontal wheel) are installed and modify the primitive structures of the villa.
5th phase: 500 AD to 600 AD.
Continuation of an agricultural activity in the form of agro-pastoralism.
SAINT-MARTIN AND THE MEROVINGIANS
The Roman presence was relayed by a Merovingian presence, concretized during the excavations by a fibula and dated bones.
PRIORY OF THE MONKS OF LERINS
THE PRIORY OF THE MONKS OF LERINS
From the 10th to the 18th century, the monks of Lérins established a wine priory on the lands of Saint-Martin. They built a 12th century chapel in a very pure style, which is today the family burial place, and a 12th century underground cellar with vats dug into the rock 1 to 1.20 meters thick, to which they added Hungarian chain tuns in the 14th century and which took its present form in the 15th century. It is very remarkable for its basket-handle vault, its double openings, and by the size of the stone, indeed these stones are adjusted in a very regular way like the Roman constructions.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE BY THE BARON DE BARGEMON
In 1750 Jean louis Leclerc de Juigné, Lord of Lassigny married Marie Anne de Villeneuve Bergemon.
Her father, Joseph DE VILLENEUVE, Baron DE BARGEMON (1675-1752) bought the priory at Les Moines and had the castle built to offer it as a wedding gift.