Goudet, the oldest village of the Haute-Loire… This is what many scholars claim.
After a long and patient historical search Laurent Tavernier-Brioude has achieved a marvellous book entitled «Goudet, Notes on a village in Velay».
The information hereafter come from this publication.
The first remains of the village date from the prehistoric times. Historians have even talked about the date of 5 000 BC.
The first village of Goudet settled at the Bord de l’Eau camp on the 5th century. The origin of the word Goudet would come from a celtic word ‘Godit’ meaning prayer area.
At the IXth century we hear of a seigneur « of Goudet » leaving inside tree trunks surrounding the Pipet rock on which was built a wood dungeon.
At the XVIIIth century, the capitation census of 1734 differentiates the community of the Goudet priory and its 194 fires from the château de Beaufort community and its 62 fires, which makes a total of 256 fires. Knowing that at this time there was a fire for each 5 people, it means that the population amounted to a little less than 1 300 inhabitants….
At the beginning of the XVIIIth century starts in the village a lead exploitation that will rapidly cease its activity due to the high costs of exploitation.
In 1750 the hat production begins. There are about thirty hat workshops and no less than 16 to 18 000 hats are made each year.
During the French Revolution, in 1790 thanks to the creation of the Haute-Loire department, Goudet becomes the historic cantonal capital including the Arlempdes and St Martin de Fugeres townships.
Today there are about 60 permanent inhabitants in Goudet and a good number of secondary residence owners who are willing to keep the oldest village of the Haute Loire alive.