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— in the middle of the 17th century, there were 200 fishermen in Cayeux-sur-Mer —
The ancient name of the city was Caldus, and it took the name of Caldis in the 7th century before it was called Caïeu in the 14th century. The city took the name of Cayeux-sur-Mer after a decision of the town council on the 6th of December 1868.
The territory was led by the Seigneury of Saint Valery-sur-Somme between the 11th and the 19th century, a fortress was even built by Count William. In 1475, Cayeux was destroyed after the orders of the French king Louis the 11th, instead of being given to the king of England. In 1653, a fire destroyed the town, like in 1727 when a royal manufacture of mirror was destroyed. On the 23rd of June 1780, the Count of Rouhault sold his possessions to the Count of Artois (brother of Louis the 16th and later Charles the 10th). According to Anatole Maupin, in the middle of the 17th century, there were 200 fishermen in Cayeux-sur -Mer. Until the beginning of the 20th century, a great part of the population lived thanks to the sea but the former village of Cayeux did not have a harbour and boats had to drop in Le Hourdel. But the product of the fishermen’s work was sold on the cobble beach all the same: small boats ran aground on the cobbles where horses were taking them out and next to the Seamen Chapel (Chapelle des Marins), on the Halles street, place of the auction.
At the end of the 18th century, a part of the fishermen from Ault came to settle in Cayeux, after being driven out of the place by a flooding, so that the population arose.
In 1929, a guide counted 16 motorboats and 12 sailboats for 66 seamen. Associated to fishing, there were also shipyards at the end of the 19th century: Bocquet-Goret, Cailleux, Lecoq and Devisme. A rope factory was next to the train station: the remains of it can still be seen (rue des corderies). Another part of the population lived of the product of the land and more particularly of breeding. Old postcards show numerous sheep flocks in the salt meadow sheep. Like in Ault, locksmith trade developed in the middle of the 18th century. 300 people were working for the industry in 1867 and, in 1904, 340 people were still working in it, for an average wage of 2 to 2.5 francs a day.
The cobble industry employed a few inhabitants called ”les ouvriers à cailloux“ (the rock workers). The cobbles, taken from the beach by men were transported to Saint Valery’s harbour by the sea on raft boats called ”plats bords“. With the development of the railroad the cobbles were taken to Deauville. The intense running of the cobbles dates back to the 19th century when the English porcelain factories needed silica. Numerous companies were born to run the cobbles business. Cobbles were directly taken from the beach or on the lands covered by the sea in the Middle Ages. In 1929, the Sanson factory settled and specialized in the burning off and spraying of cobbles tired in Cayeux (now Silmer factory). In 1939, 200 people were living of this industry in Cayeux. Finally, other jobs, mostly women works such as picking up worms for fishing were usual.
From 1870, Cayeux sur Mer transformed into a seaside resort, actually it was the 2nd seaside resort created in France after Dieppe. It was the time of the ”Sea Bathing“ and the walks along the beach hunts, which already existed!