|Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition||Public Domain via Project Gutenberg|
a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Deux-Sèvres, 48 m. N. of Niort by rail. Pop. (1906) 4561. The town is situated on an eminence overlooking the Dolo, a tributary of the Argenton. It is the centre of a cattle-rearing and agricultural region, and has important markets; the manufacture of wooden type and woollen goods is carried on. Bressuire has two buildings of interest: the church of Notre-Dame, which, dating chiefly from the 12th and 15th centuries, has an imposing tower of the Renaissance period; and the castle, built by the lords of [v.04 p.0500]Beaumont, vassals of the viscount of Thouars. The latter is now in ruins, and a portion of the site is occupied by a modern château, but an inner and outer line of fortifications are still to be seen. The whole forms the finest assemblage of feudal ruins in Poitou. Bressuire is the seat of a sub-prefect and has a tribunal of first instance. Among the disasters suffered at various times by the town, its capture from the English and subsequent pillage by French troops under du Guesclin in 1370 is the most memorable.