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The town twinning movement started very soon after 1945, with the passionate support of mayors and citizens who vowed that Europe should never again be torn apart by war. Most of the twinnings were between towns from countries that had, till recently, been divided by war. The promotion of this new twinning movement was one of the main priorities of the Council of European Municipalities (as it then was) in 1951, and the 1950s saw a huge increase in the number and range of twinning’s.Downham Market1

The earliest form of town twinning in Europe was between the German city of Paderborn and the French city of Le Mans in 836. Later, Keighley, West Yorkshire, England had a twinning arrangement with Suresnes and Puteaux, France starting in 1905.This was later formalised and became the first recorded modern twinning agreement in 1920 following the end of the First World War. This was initially referred to as an adoption of the French town, with formal twinning charters not being exchanged until 1986.
The practice was continued after the Second World War as a way to bring European people into a closer understanding of each other and to promote cross-border projects of mutual benefit. For example, Coventry twinned with Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and later with Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation, all three cities having been heavily bombed during the war.

Here is a list of places in our region which are twinned with a town or village in the United Kingdom. So I have found 23 places, there may be more so please let me know if I have missed your town out. Northamptonshire seems to be the most popular county in Britain as far as twinning goes and the earliest twinning was between Angoulemme and Bury.

Angouleme                            Bury in Greater Manchester 1956
Beurlay                                 Burley in Hampshire 1993
Cerizay                                 Ongar in Essex 1984
Champagne Vigny                  Mathry in Pembrokeshire 1989
Chatellerault                          Corby in Northamptonshire 1979
Cisse                                     Desborough in Northamptonshire 1989
Civray                                   Downham Market in Norfolk 1976
Cognac                                  Perth in Perthshire 1991
Couhe                                   Swaffham in Norfolk 1967
Coulon                                  Irchester in Northamptonshire 1985
Fleac                                     Inchture in Perthshire and Kinross 1993
Iteuil                                     Bugbrooke in Northamptonshire 1994
Jarnac                                   Dalkeithin Midlothian 1960
Liguge                                   Sonning in Reading 1995
Magnac sur Touvre                 Fochabers in Moray 1993                                                                         Mansle                                  Watlington in Oxfordshire 1990
Neuville-de-Poitou                  Desborough in Northamptonshire 1986
Niort                                     Wellingborough in Northamptonshire 1977
Nueil-les Aubiers                    Attleborough in Norfolk 1997
Poitiers                                 Northampton in Northamptonshire! 1979
Rouelle-sur Touvre                 Banbridge in County Down 1994
Saintes                                 Salisbury in Wiltshire 1990
St George des Ballargeaux      Denmead un Hampshire 1994
St Maxient-l’Ecole                  Horsham in Sussex 1982
I have recently posted two blogs about towns in Poitou-Charentes which are twinned with towns in Norfolk, one is about Downham Market, twinned with Civray and the other is about Swaffham, twinned with Couhe.

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