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The surveyor’s rôle was to draw the boundaries of the bastide, those of all the equal plots composing the town, taking into account the relief of the land, an estimation of the number of inhabitants, the communal areas (commerce, church…).

As soon as the paréage was agreed, the surveyor was one of the important people. He proceeded first of all to the establishment of a general boundary of the land. This meant, on the one hand, the definition and marking of the extent of the land included in the paréage, and on the other hand, on the geometry on the interior of this boundary in execution of the clauses in the deed, to fix precisely the boundaries of the land intended for constructon : « The future bastide, the lands around that were to serve it exclusively and constantly: (vegetable gardens known as cazalères, vineyards, orchards….) and lastly to indicate lands to be worked, cultivated and harvested and who would be the farmers of these lands ». Once he had finished this work, there were particular surveys to be carried out.

Basically, this was the measuring of building plots or ayrals, all of the same size and which would be the basis for the formation of the network of streets, public squares and some public buildings (church, presbytery and annexes, covered and open market, weighbridge, communal oven, sometimes a mill, and lastly, the positioning of the clausura, the walls that would enclose the bastide and protect it from invasions or intrusions, night and day.

The bastide ground plan was and remains orthogonal and regular as were some Roman towns. Surveyors reproduced Pythagoras’ Theory using a rope of 13 knots. All that remained was to measure the nearby plots outside the bastide and finally the lands to be cultivated.

The Middle Ages surveyor’s tools were simple, inexpensive and easily made :

A wooden set-square or right-angle, a rope, a compass.


The surveyor: « I don’t often get asked this kind of thing... I’ve been contacted to plan the streets, the squares, to measure the plots. But to conceive the idea of a passage of such a distance and in such conditions, why, I would never do it ! » Word 10/11 : Square.     

Cross Place Voltaire to find the outcast...                                                            

the surveyor: Event
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