Norman crosses in Fécamp in the early 19th century

Fécamp once boasted a number of gold and silversmiths who worked for both urban and rural clients. The notarial deeds of the town (marriage contracts, post-mortem inventories, etc) feature (out of 31 contracts in 1814 and 38 in 1815) 18 owners of jewellery, gold crosses, silver hooks and loops, gold watches and finally, a "gold cross with stones" (belonging to an elderly couple) worth 150 francs, with a gold watch worth 144 francs.

One inventory includes a "gold cross with stones" valued at 30 francs, and in another (from 1819) a "gold cross with stones" with earrings was worth 60 francs. A flax spinner betrothed to a linen merchant owned "a gold cross studded with semi-precious stones" which may well have been a Rouen cross, as the bride-to-be had money! A contract signed in Senneville features another cross with stones, belonging to a young lady with a fine trousseau who married a weaver.

Such inventories indicate that the country women from the Fécamp area were fond of crosses, which were only brought to marriages by women of means, as the husbands-to-be did not bring gifts.Between 1825 and 1850, however, women’s watches became so fashionable that crosses totally disappeared from the lists of assets brought to marriages.