La mémoire percheronne

L’abbé Fret, curé de Champs et historien de Perche, mérite d’être redécouvert.

Abbé Fret2

Abbé Fret, curé de Champs

Né à Bretoncelles en 1800, il devient curé de Champs à 23 ans et y restera jusqu’à sa mort en 1843.

Isolé dans ce petit village du Haut-Perche aux multiples collines, accessible par des chemins boueux, selon lui « incarrossables, iniquitables et même  souvent impédestrables », il va occuper sa solitude de promenades, d’observations et de lectures qui le conduiront à devenir un historien du Perche.

Il publie en 1837, à Mortagne-au-Perche, les Antiquités et Chroniques percheronnes, en trois volumes, véritable oeuvre d’archéologue et d’historien, menée avec des moyens dérisoires.

Mais son originalité, reconnue, réside dans les almanachs intitulés Le Diseur, qu’il publie à partir de 1838, recueils de récits, contes et articles historiques. Succès inouï pour l’époque (jusqu’à 6000 exemplaires produits à Paris), ils représentent une tentative innovante de garder la mémoire des choses pour les confier aux générations futures.

En 1838, il remarque: « Comme on ne peut trop blâmer  l’insouciance et l’incurie de tant d’ecclésiastiques qui, témoins d’une foule d’événements aussi curieux qu’intéressants dont leurs paroisses respectives ont été le théâtre, n’en ont jamais transmis les moindres vestiges à la postérité … je commencerai le premier à donner l’exemple d’une conduite plus soigneuse, en laissant chaque année, à la fin d’un registre, un mémorial des choses tant soit peu curieuses et utiles qui se seront passées ou faites dans la paroisse de Champs ».

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