Sens săNs [key], town (1990 pop. 27,755), Yonne dept., N central France, on the Yonne River. Leather tanning and the manufacture of safes, electrical equipment, gears, and pharmaceuticals are the chief industries. Sens was the capital of the Senones, a Gallic tribe, and was later a Roman metropolis. The town was attacked by the Saracens in 731 and by the Normans in 886 and was annexed by the French crown in 1055. Sens was an archiepiscopal see almost without interruption from the 8th cent; its prelates had jurisdiction over Paris until 1622 when that city became a separate archdiocese. A council held in Sens in 1140 condemned the teachings of Peter Abelard. The town was a stronghold of the Holy League during the early 16th cent. A massacre of Huguenots took place at Sens in 1562. The Cathedral of Saint-Étienne (begun 1140), one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals, was largely built by William of Sens, who also reconstructed much of Canterbury Cathedral in England.

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