BERNAY, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Eure, on the left bank of the Charentonne, 31 m. W.N.W. of Evreux, on the Western railway between that town and Lisieux. Pop. (1906) 5973. It is beautifully situated in the midst of green wooded hills, and still justifies Madame de Stael's description of it as "a basket of flowers." Of great antiquity, it possesses numerous quaint wooden houses and ancient ecclesiastical buildings of considerable interest. The abbey church is now used as a market, and the abbey, which was founded by Judith of Brittany early in the 11th century, and underwent a restoration in the 17th century, serves for municipal and legal purposes. The church of Ste Croix, which has a remarkable marble figure of the infant Jesus, dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, that of Notre-Dame de la Couture, which preserves some good stained glass, from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, Bernay has a sub-prefecture, a communal college, tribunals of commerce and of first instance, and a board of trade-arbitrators. Among the industrial establishments of the place are manufactories of cotton and woollen goods, bleacheries and dye-works. Large numbers of Norman horses are sold in Lent, at the fair known as the Foire fleurie, and there is also a trade in grain. Bernay grew up round the Benedictine abbey mentioned above, and early in the 13th century was the seat of a viscount. The town, formerly fortified was besieged by Bertrand du Guesclin, constable of France, in 1378; it was taken several times by the English during the first half of the 15th century, and by Admiral de Coligny in 1563. The fortress was razed in 1589.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)