Boats at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, Picardy, France. The village is historically significant as the site where William the Conqueror assembled his fleet before sailing over to England in 1066. During the many wars between the French and the English the village passed between French, English and Burgundian ownership. The English destroyed the abbey and cloister in order to strengthen the nearby St Valery castle. In 1431, Joan of Arc captive of the English was held prisoner in the local prison where she was then conveyed to Rouen and burned. The cell in which she stayed can still be found near part of the old village walls. The village was popular during the 19th-century with artists and writers and Victor Hugo, Jules Verne, Sisley and Degas all had villas in the village at one time.