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MELLE, a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Deux-Sevres, on the left bank of the Beronne, 21 m. E.S.E. of Niort by rail. Pop. (1906), 2231. Melle has two churches in the Romanesque style of Poitou, St Pierre and St Hilaire, the latter ornamented with sculptured arcading. The hospital has a richly carved doorway of the 17th century. The church of St Savinien (nth century) serves as a prison. The town has trade in farm-produce, mules and other live stock; distilling is carried on. Melle (Metallum) derives its name from the lead mine worked here during the Roman occupation and in the early middle ages. At the latter period it had a mint. In later times it was a possession of the counts of Maine.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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