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

Cressier a Catholic enclave

Cressier is a village of around 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 from the surrounding villages: viticulture is an important economic activity.

The village has a medieval history, which is closely linked to 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. Soleure would remain Catholic at the time of the Reformation and was a loyal ally of France.

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

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

Cressier is still a Catholic enclave in Protestant Neuchâtel. The Catholic church of St. Martin (1872) is a witness. The church replaced the medieval chapel Du Rosaire.