Comps-sur-Artuby is a small village in the Haut-Var where no less than 378 inhabitants were counted in 2014. This commune covers an area of 63 square kilometers with an average altitude of 900 meters. The market day is Saturday as well as Castellane. The village of Comps-sur-Artuby is part of the geological reserve of Haute-Provence. It is also one of the 46 communes that make up the Verdon Regional Natural Park. A village very close to the white water activities offered in the region.
Comps-sur-Artuby also includes several hamlets such as Chardan, Saint-Bayon, Sauvechane, Cuiros, Oribau, Don, Doureisse, Jabron, Guent and Endosse. They were formed after the siege led by Charles III also known as Charles de Duras during the XIVth century. Indeed, to escape these unfortunate events, the inhabitants took shelter in the outskirts. Some of these hamlets were expropriated by the military camp of Canjuers. Created in the 1960’s but designed in 1950, the Canjuers military camp is the largest artillery firing center in Europe, covering nearly 35,000 hectares. It covers almost two thirds of the territory of Comps-sur-Artuby.
Comps-sur-Artuby, Templars and Hospitallers
A simple glance at the village’s coat of arms reveals that it has something to do with the crusades. A past linked to the chivalric orders of Palestine. The Templar order was already running a commandery probably before the 12th century. They probably planned the projects that were to be carried out later by the Hospitaller order.
Indeed, after the abolition of the Templar order and the confiscation of their property by Phillipe IV le Bel in 1307. It was the Hospitallers of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem who recovered and administered the Templars’ property. However, it was not until 1530 that the village was placed under the authority of the Hospitaller Order, also called the Order of Malta.
Two grandmasters of the order bear the name of the lord of Comps. They are Arnaud de Comps who was the 4th Grand Master of the Hospitallers from 1162 to 1163. But also Bertrand de Comps, 17th Grand Master of the order from 1236 to 139 or 1240. It is good not to attach too quickly these two characters to Comps-sur-Artuby. Indeed, there are about twenty communes of the same name spread over several French departments. In view of the number of centuries that have passed, it is impossible to know from which “Comps” they originated.
These two orders have left three Romanesque buildings on the territory of Comps, three buildings dedicated to worship;
church of Saint André, known as the “Templars”, built in 1100
The chapel of Saint Jean Baptiste, on June 24, the rising sun enters the chapel through an opening located above the chevet.
The chapel of Saint Didier
Comps-sur-Artuby, the legends
In such a setting, it is not surprising that some stories have become legends over time.
It happened in one of the abandoned hamlets of Canjuers. On the evening of Pentecost, one could meet gnomids, a kind of evil goblin. The latter, with the help of cries and richly adorned jewels attracted their victims to drag them into the depths of the earth.
The haunted house
Under the church of Saint André there was a haunted house. Since no one could get rid of the ghosts, the house was torn down and a church was built over it. The church was then surrounded by three chapels to ward off the demons.
The Evescat Bridge
It is located on an old road that connected Castellane and Comps. First of all, it owes its name to the meeting of two bishops at this place. What interests us more particularly are the indecipherable inscriptions which were engraved in its stone. Probably on a basis of ancient Greek or a Phoenician language. Some people are convinced that these are indications leading to the Templar treasure.