Local History

Payerne, Le Temple. Photo: TES.

Royalty in Vaud

The first inhabitants of Payerne (canton of Vaud) belonged to the Gallo-Roman Paterni family, who would later give the settlement the name Paterniacum. In the sixth century, the Bishop of Avenches (Lausanne became the new seat of the diocese in the fifth century) built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Payerne played a ceremonial role in the Burgundian Kingdom (888-1032): the kings were crowned in the chapel. The daughter Adelaide (951-973) of Rudolph II of Burgundy (890-937) and Berthe of Swaben (907-961) married the German emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Otto the Great (912-973) and Payerne was the centre of European dynastic politics for a while.

In the thirteenth century, the Dukes of Savoy entered the stage. This encouraged Payerne to conclude an alliance with Bern, Freiburg, and Neuchâtel. In 1536, after the conquest of Vaud, Bern became the new ruler of Payerne and the city took over the Protestant faith and the monks left the city. Payerne became part of Vaud in 1803.