Local History

Cressier, St. Martin. Bild/Photo: TES.

Cressier a Catholic enclave

Cressier is a village of about 1 900 inhabitants between the lakes of Neuchatel and Biel on the edge of the Thielle canal. This canal connects both lakes. The village does not distinguish itself economically from the surrounding villages: viticulture is an important economic activity.

The village has a medieval history, which is closely linked to the nearby Le Landeron. The wealthier citizens of Le Landeron built their houses in Cressier, which eventually became an independent municipality in the county of Neuchâtel.

The most important political decision in the Middle Ages was the agreement between the (last) Countess of Neuchâtel, Isabelle (1335-1395), and the town of Soleure in 1376. As a member of the Eidgenossenschaft, Soleure would remain a Catholic at the time of the Reformation and would be a loyal ally of France.

The powerful Vallier family, which also had the imposing castle of Cressier of 1616 (see Swiss Spectator 18.09.2020 under Monuments), guaranteed both the Catholic faith and the relationship with the French king.

The successors of this dynasty, the De Roll family from 1716 and De Diesbach from 1752, would maintain this relationship with the French king, even when the Prussian king became Prince of the territory of Neuchâtel from 1707.

Cressier would also remain a Catholic enclave in Protestant Neuchâtel. The Catholic church of St. Martin from 1872 still bears witness to this. It replaced the medieval chapel Du Rosaire.