QR Manglieu 8
The laundresse and the village warden
In the 1880s, people strolling by the clear waters of the Ailloux would sometimes come across Marie, the washerwoman, who would offer her services to shopkeepers and anyone who could afford it. There were no laundry facilities in the village back then.
The large fountain
To wash her customers’ clothes, Marie would prepare the bujade. In a large wooden or metal vat, she would place a large quantity of ash, which had detergent properties, and carefully stack the laundry in the vat. She would then fill the container with boiling water, which would soak the linen and slowly drain out through a hole in the bottom. She would repeat this several times, the entire laundry process taking many hours. Then came the rinsing! Marie transported the laundry by cart or wheelbarrow to the river, where she would rinse it thoroughly. The washing was then dried in the sun, hanging from branches or spread out on the grass; grass was said to whiten the sheets.
Marie was married to François, the village warden. She was very proud of her husband, who was a police officer authorised by law to carry a gun. Once he was sworn in by the local Justice of the Peace, there was no shortage of jobs for him to do. He had to keep an eye on the countryside, track down fraudsters and smugglers, record offences and issue fines. But Marie’s favourite moment of all was when François, wearing his kepi, would bang his drum in the village square to announce to everyone the decisions taken by the town council.
- A laundress in Auvergne around 1910
- The commune of Manglieu has kept the drum of its last village warden.
- Alexandre Bonamy, Manglieu’s last village warden