History

Unfortunately we don’t have much information about the history of Fontcouverte. But some archaeological remains discovered, suggest that the place was inhabited since the romans.

Antiquity

The existence of a large road is confirmed by excavations. This road linked Lyon, to Saintonge and Aquitaine, through the Cevennes. It was about 20 m wide, including ditches and paved road about 7 m, especially in the north of a place called the “Croix Rouge”, located in Fontcouverte.
On the other hand, when romans wanted to supply water to the capital city of Saintes, they originally did their first capture in Fontcouverte (Copertus Fons).
 

Middle Ages
The town Fontcouverte is also crossed by the road linkind Saintes to Saint-Jean d'Angely. This main road was used by pilgrims since the Middle Ages, the "jaquets" from Northern Europe and France, going to Compostela. It was the main path, going through Tours, hence the denomination of Via Turonensis.
The year 1999 was the "Pilgrim’s year”, that’s why those paths were tagged by boundary local stones, on which was carved the famous shell. Thanks to the General Council and the déparemental Committee of tourism, Fontcouverte benefited from this action : 14 stones now indicate to pilgrims the way to Saint-Jacques.
In the year 1307, Pope Clement V (Bertrand de Got), traveling through our country staid for three days in Fontcouverte. In 1308, in his way back from Poitiers, the Pope made another stop in the town. There must probably had a castle or monastery in Fontcouverte, in which the pope could have been received with all its vast suite. According to popular tradition, a bishop's residence would have existed at a place called "the Evécots" or "Avécots" but nothing helps, for now, to prove this hypothesis.

 

Revolution
Fontcouverte was proudly represented during the French Revolution, by its participation in the “Federation of the Champ de Mars” festival, in Paris, July 14, 1790. Its representants were led by Benjamin Berton, who carried the Fontcouverte’s banner, embroidered with two sentences : "In support of the nation" and "To the King’s glory". This banner, having dimensions of 100 x 100, quite fragile, but still very colorfull, is conserved in Angers Museum.
At this moment (January 1790) was created and defined the department called “Inferior Charente”. Saintes became the capital of the department (September 16, 1790).

 

The Second Empire (1852-1870)
The newly elected members of municipal council had to swear fidelity to the Emperor.
Upon the proclamation of Third Republic, Prussian armies invested Paris on 18 September. Therefore, the town Council of Fontcouverte was summoned in an extraordinary session, on September 15, 1870, according to a special permission. At this meeting, the town Council proceeded to the election of officers and corporals of the National Guard, (17 men), then asked the Prefect for some guns and swords, to arm as fast as possible the National Guard of Fontcouverte.

 

The twentieth century
In the early 1900, extensive works have been undertaken to create a new railway line linking Fontcouverte to St Jean d'Angely, and Saujon, through Saintes.
This work necessitated the expropriation of some people, for public utility, according to the law of  April 1st, 1901. Workers had, indeed, to dig a tunnel of 420 m long, and build a 63 m long viaduc in the town. This work necessitated many workers. For proof, we just have to look at the population numbers of Fontcouverte: the increased from 613 in 1901, to 1184 in 1906, falling again to 714 inhabitants in 1911. This sudden increase in population forced the local Municipality to call policemen during the time of construction, in order to keep order. Two policemen were assigned to this task, indeed, because the usual constable was sick and couldn’t ensure the police service anymore. This police station will be removed on February 1st, 1911, because of the reduction of the working population.
The local primary school Fontcouverte also had to face a huge increase of students. On October 27, 1904, the school had 22 girls and 53 boys, so 75 students. On October 27, 1905, the number of students increased to 138, and 176 in October 15, 1906, reaching 185 to November 28, 1908. Then, the number decreases in the following years.
To see the first train and take it, people had to wait until June 11th, 1911. At this time, Fontcouverte only was a single stop on the line St Jean d'Angely – Saujon; four trains stopped there every day. But it soon became clear to users that those 4 daily stops didn’t supply the needs of local people whose relationship with Saintes were mainly concerning the selling of the farm products. For this reason, the Town asked to the Railways company, two more daily trains.
Among important events of Fontcouverte’s history, man should not forget that of May 25th, 1913 electricity was distributed throughout the town for the first time.