Historical overview, XVIIth to XVIIIth centuries

XVIIth century

1624

Lignières is exchanged for Bournevesin, Pérouse and Miécourt

(AEN 914-CH / NE / 09)

The bishop of Basel Guillaume Rinck von Baldenstein ceded his seignory of Lignières to Henri II de Longueville, i.e. all the rights that still existed, in exchange for Bournevesin, Pérouse and Miécourt, fiefdoms dependent on the county of Neuchâtel.

But as the seignories abandoned by the Prince of Neuchâtel had more value than what the Bishop had in Lignières, the latter still gave the Duke of Longueville, to compensate him, the rights he had over a house and vineyards in Serrières, the land existing between two Ruz near the Landeron and a sum of 3000 guilders.

The act was signed by the bishop on February 14 in Porrentruy and by the Prince in Paris on January 28, 1625. Thus ended three centuries of joint property of sovereignty in the territory of Lignières.

The act of November 15 bearing the oath of fidelity of the Communiers of Lignières to their new Prince and the promise of maintenance and confirmation by the latter of the various rights that the Communiers had enjoyed in the past is expressed by the Prince's envoy in l church of Lignières in these terms:

We promise you in his name that he will maintain your freedoms and franchises, one each according to his quality and condition and in your good written and unwritten customs, rights, uses, pastures, commons, prels, bochéages, joux, forests, paquiers, brévardies, messeleries, Justice, Majorie of the said Lignières ...

1694

Tolls Rights, confirmation by Guillaume Jaques (AEN CC1)

On a very humble request from the Community of the Village of Lignières, addressed by Abram Junod, Justice and Governor, and Jacques Gauchat, Clerk & Deputies both from the Community of Lignières.

Then that by the said letter of franchise, there appears no exemption of the said toll, as well as for the cattle of which one held traffic. The toll must always be paid, both by foreigners and by Subjects.

We remain with this ancient practice and customary rights, with the addition that the cattle that suppliants buy for their use or need for their household are not included.

Given in Council on February 19, 1694.

(Signed): Guillaume Jacques

XVIIIth century

1705

Agreement ending the territorial disputes (AEN 914-CH / NE / 09)

A project, already developed in 1665, was finally ratified on June 20, 1705.

It was decided at Neuveville that the high boundary stones would always be used for the separation of the two sovereignties and the woods, that small boundary stones would be planted at the place where the contagion boundary stones had been placed (1535); in the interval between the high boundary stones and the small boundary stones, civil justice, as well in first as in second instance, will belong to the sovereign of Neuchâtel.

The small boundary stones were placed at a quarter of an hour from the old ones, they were eleven in number. All the lands between these two landmarks were free from lods.

Here is their location:

The first will be planted near that which is put for the separation of the cattle of the two Communes in times of contagion bearing the arms of Lignières and Nods.

The second stone will be planted in the Drevin meadow and will tend also at noon to the

Third which will be planted ten paces below an old boundary stone which had also served in times of contagion and will also tend in a straight line around noon at the

Fourth, planted near a large pebble or rock which also served as a limit in times of contagion, near the path of Val de Ruz, tending to the

Fifth in the same straight line towards noon, which will be placed near another contagion boundary stone at the foot of a Cherry tree below the main road leading to

Sixth, from the Orient side, planted near a boundary stone at the Merceier also serving for the contagion towards the North of the path and towards the midday of the stream, tending to the

Seventh planted near the Praron boundary stone which was used for the contagion tending to the right runs to the

Eighth, which is close to the Fiette boundary stone, tending to the right runs to the

Ninth, planted near the one where there was a straw house before, tending in the right runs to the

Tenth, which is close to a terminal planted near the watering hole path tending to the right runs to the

Eleventh and last, which is planted at the top of the drinking troughs, from which a straight line will have to be drawn up to the first high boundary stone called Beilleison. They form the eastern border of the freehold territory and the current border of our canton.

This poorly shaped cut remained until 1815 and the final demarcation took place in 1820.

1714

Decree of the Municipality of Lignières - Tax on foreign women (AEN CC2)

Today February 26, 1714, the general community of Lignières being assembled as a body to attend to its particular affairs, among other things made serious reflections on the great quantity of poor people that there are in the village, who derive for the most part from of those who have taken foreign wives: For this purpose, the said community wishing for nothing so much but the good, profit and utility both of the general and of the individuals who make up their Corps, would have made and passed the following Judgment, know that all those who in the future will take women out of the village, who will not have at least the sum of Two Hundred Ecus good of belongings, and make it seen in an authentic way, will be removed from the Community and frustrated from all rights and benefits of the Municipality, they and theirs without hope of being able to return.

What was done and stopped on the aforementioned day and ordered the undersigned notary, Secretary of the Municipality, to sign and initial and then show it to the Lordship to very humbly beg her to approve it.

(Signed): Jean-Jacques Junod, with initials

1763

The 18th century, says Louis Junod, was a century of progress for Lignières, both for agriculture and for the development of education. The example of Jonas de Gélieu who, since this year cleared a portion of his land and which was only a vast area of marshes and bushes, was followed and the plain became productive.

From there started the idea that one could give more value to the grounds by varying the seeds, by introducing artificial herbs and by putting the fields in enclosures, as long as the vain pasture was not abolished; they were Sires Descombes, David Bonjour, once fierce opponents of novelty, the clerk Bonjour and Lieutenant Junod.

1785

Regulation for the Community of Lignières, tending to perfect the culture & to increase the report of the fin called Forel, approved in Council on December 20, 1785 (ACL, AAII 1785)

First article

The said fin will be closed throughout the year; & no one can graze any cattle there, not even on his own possession.

Article 2nd

All the owners who will take part in this fin, can each of them plant and sow on his land, what he sees fit; without being able to hinder the neighbors in the right to do the same on theirs.

Article 3rd

However, in order to avoid the damage and difficulties that this freedom causes between neighbors, any owner who wants to plow for this purpose, must warn the neighbors twenty four hours in advance; so that if they want to mow the edges and pick the plots or other productions, they can do so, by means of which and after such a warning, the said neighbors will be without complaint, if we tread the parts of their fields, which are contiguous to those that are plowed.

Article 4th

Instead of the grass to which the Community is entitled in the fallow years, individuals will be required to pay each year to the said community twenty-one batz per break, as they have done so far; except the exceptions & modifications declared by the following article.

Article 5th

This finance will be reduced to half, that is to say to ten batz and a half per break for the sparse funds, where we will not mow any returns; as for the planks which are not in small pieces, they will only owe every third year, that is to say in the fallow year, a finance of seven batz; still will only be if they are mowed down in those years. Finally, nothing will be paid at all for the cesaux and cheintres.

Article 6

The owners (who are) not Communiers will pay in all cases above, the double of what would pay a Communier.

Article 7th

The necessary surveys will continue to be done at the expense of the private owners of the parts to be surveyed.

Article 8

The Community will take exact and separate account of the funding it receives from this Regulation; and after having each year ascertained the total sum, it will apply the fifth portion thereof to the benefit of the riverine owners of the said fin, in consideration of the landmarks which they have to maintain, by paying them a sum per pole.

Article 9

If the execution of this regulation gives rise to any difficulty either between the community and some owners, or from individual to individual, each party will appoint an arbitrator among the members of the community. If these two arbitrators cannot agree with each other, they will themselves choose an umpire; & what will be stopped, will be carried out without revision or other figure of justice.

Article 10th

The present regulations will be in force & force only for the time and term of nine years, starting with the fallow year 1786; and at the end of nine years, the observations made and the experience acquired will be used to make, under the approval of the Government, such change as may be appropriate.

Sanction

The Community of Linières having presented to the sanction of the Lordship a regulation tending to perfect the culture and to increase the report of the fin called Forel; and the said regulation having by judgment of last September 27th been referred to the preliminary examination of the Chancellor & the Sire de Tribolet mayor of Linières, they made their report today, and proposed the said regulation to the Council in this form. On which reading having been made, after having deliberated, the Council approved the said regulation, to be in force and force during the term of nine years cy above fixed, ordered accordingly to the Sire de Tribolet mayor of Linières be to his lieutenant of hold hands in its execution; to the effect and in testimony of which the present expedition was made and recorded by order of the Council under the ordinary signature of the undersigned Councilor of State and (...)

His Majesty in this sovereignty, at the Château de Neufchâtel on December Twenty, seventeen hundred and eighty-five. (Signed Boyve?)