“Under the Merovingians in Neustria (an archaic subdivision of Normandy), administrative districts were named after the name of the watercourse which constitutes its central axis. On both sides of the river « La Telle » (the old name of « La Béthune ») which waters the Pays de Bray, appears LE TALOU, hence the area known as Talou. Similary thanks to the river « La Vimeuse », we see the emergence of the area we know as « Le Vimeu »..

Le Talou (Pagus Tellaus) apparently corresponded to the valley between the Picardy plateau and the cauchois plateau between the rivers « La Bresle » and « La Scie ». It extends to the interieur as far as Aumale. Further to the south, it extends towards the river « L’Epte » and to Rouvray(-Catillon), but its limits often fluctuated during the centuries..

The Talou was preserved by the carolingian administration and it is maintained this area became a Norman market following the agreements of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911. Duke Richard I, died in 996, distracted the western part which, according to the historian Guillaume de Jumièges, he erected as Count of Ou (Comté d’Eu). The western part briefly became the Count of Talou (Comté du Talou) which soon took the name of its principal commune – Arques.” (Gaudefroy Ghislain. Le comté d’Eu au fil du temps, Editions Page de Garde, Elbeuf, 2003, 326 p.)

Below are illustrations of fortifications in Talou, being the ancient North East frontier between the Duchy of Normandy and the kingdom of France.

Vallée de LA BRESLE : Rive gauche (Seine-Maritime) : Eu, Guerville, Guilmécourt, Saint-Germain-sur-Bresle / Brétizel, Monchaux-Soreng, Aumale – Rive droite (Somme) : Gamaches, Bouillancourt-en-Séry, Sénarpont – Plateau sud Bresle (Seine-Maritime) : Conteville / Neuville-Gouvion (Fossé du Roi)

The last tower of the Gamaches castle

Two towers (XIIth C.) of the Bouillancourt-en-Séry castle
Remains of Sénarpont castle after fire
Château de Guerville
In the center of this aerial view, the round bailey of Guerville castle
Remains of Hubaut castle at Bretizel (Saint-Germain-sur-Bresle)
Remains of Monchaux castle today covered by vegetation
La Neuville-Gouvion : see « Fossé du Roi »

Vallée de L’YERES : Criel / Saint-Léonard, Cuverville-sur-Yères, Saint-Martin-le-Gaillard

Cuverville - Vallée de l'Yères
The entrance of Cuverville-sur-Yères castle.
It has been restaured recently.
Criel - Vallée de l'Yères
Aerial view of Bel castle at Saint-Léonard (Criel-sur-Mer)
Remains of Saint-Martin-le-Gaillard castle covered by vegetation (7-2020)

Vallée de L’EAULNE : Mortemer, Wanchy, Pont-Trancart

Remains of the keep of Mortemer castle, smaller twin of Conisbrough castle (Yorkshire)
Wanchy, la motte féodale - vallée de l'Eaulne
The bailey (motte) of Wanchy castle near river Eaulne

Vallée de LA BETHUNE, de L’ARQUES : Dieppe, Arques-la-Bataille, Berneval (château des 40 acres sur le plateau au nord de Dieppe), Bures-en-Bray, Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Beaussault, Gaillefontaine

Neufchâtel - Vallée de Béthune
Neufchâtel-en-Bray (Drincourt) fortifications and castle in 1592.
Today we only can see the bailey (motte) and the moat.
Arques - Vallée de la Béthune
Panoramic view of Arques castle.
On the right, the Norman square keep
Château de Beaussault - Vallée de la Béthune
The entrance of Beaussault castle
Château de Bures - Vallée de la Béthune
The upper bailey of Bures-en-Bray castle
Château de Gaillefontaine - Vallée de la Béthune
The moat of Gaillefontaine castle
Dieppe castle is today a beautiful ivory museum

Vallée de LA VARENNE : Bellencombre / La Grande Heuze, Saint-Saëns, Torcy-le-Grand

Torcy Le Grand - Vallée de la Varenne
Remains of Torcy-le-Grand castle on river Varenne
The bailey (motte) of Saint-Saëns castle
Château de la Grande Heuze - Vallée de la Varenne
Plan of the round bailey of La Grande Heuze castle (Bellencombre)

Vallée de LA SCIE : Hautot-sur-Mer, Longueville-sur-Scie

Hautot - Vallée de la scie
Remains of Hautot-sur-Mer castle
Longueville - Vallée de la Scie
The main entrance of Longueville-sur-Scie castle