The commune takes its name for the Orcher part from the Aurichier family, who built the château.
Its industrial vocation from the 19th century (foundry, rope-making) increased further in the 20th century (Total, Hispano-Suiza which became Aircelle and then Safran). It consists of three districts: Gournay en Caux (the oldest) Mayville and the plateau.
It was built in the 12th century by the Auricher family. Situated at the top of a cliff (90m high), the fortified Château d’Orcher dominates the Seine estuary and helps to protect it. Over the centuries, it changed hands by dispossession, sale or inheritance. The financier John Law de Lauriston, father of finance and the use of paper money,became its master in 1719.
The new owner in 1735, Thomas Planterose de Melmont had it transformed to the taste of the 18th century, which meant that the large north-west keep and the two north towers and curtain walls were removed. It is to Madame de Melmont that we owe the superb park whose contours she had drawn up and its many trees planted. New restorations in the middle of the 19th century gave it its present appearance. It is now the property of the Harcourt family.
Open from early July to mid-August, public tours mean you can discover the grand salon and its beautiful woodwork, classified as historical monuments, the façades, the outbuildings and the staircase, not forgetting the guard room which has become a library. Since 1993, every year, over three days during the second weekend of October, the “Esprit de jardin” association has organised the “Plants in celebration” event where, within the château, professionals and the general public come together for exhibitions, conferences and sales of plants, furniture and garden equipment.
Dating from the 15th century, the Dovecote (Colombier) is a lost witness to the past in the centre of the commercial city. Listed as a historical monument, the Manoir de Bévilliers is an elegant 16th-century building of Renaissance architecture, formerly the Senitot manor house. The chimneys and keystones bear the coats of arms of the Viennens and Ercambourg families, the first owners. Now a reception venue, its surrounding land has become a 9-hole golf course.
At the end of the Second World War, the Americans set up transit camps, financed by their major tobacco companies, to accommodate soldiers upon their arrival or while waiting to return home. Gonfreville-l’Orcher hosted the Philip Morris camp, a real town-within-a-town, which contained shopkeepers, a cinema, a hospital…
On the departure of the Americans, given the current housing shortage (caused by the destruction of Le Havre), this set of barracks, which had now become available, was used to accommodate families who had lost so much. As a duty of remembrance, the town of Gonfreville-l’Orcher has undertaken to conserve and restore two of the three buildings. The scenography highlights the history of the former inhabitants of these provisional towns: in the first barracks, the first room is dedicated to the US presence (items, archive images…) while the second room sheds light on life in these towns, with supporting testimonies. The second building is a reconstruction of an interior from the 1960s, highlighting the way people lived in these spaces.