• The Baguette
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
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July 2014
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Tuesday 22 july 2014 2 22 /07 /Jul /2014 10:07

139 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

There is so much information about this town online that it is overwhelming. I’ll try to be concise and too the point but if you are interested in all the facts just check out their link online. After a long day of hiking and visiting old churches, I had one more stop to make in Saint-Germain-sur-Ay to see the old church and its priory as well as the old harbour now known as le havre which is watched over by the corps de garde, a 17th century guardhouse. 140 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe Église Saint-Germain dates from the 12th century and has simple architectural design with an absence of a monumental gate. It therefore respected the Benedictine Rule which did not seek distractions of the mind. It is on the 14th century fortified bell tower that you can see a noticeable effort with sculpture—here there are eight windows, of which four have grotesque faces carved into corbels above the arches. 138 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe tower also has false battlements which are simply decorative and devoid of openings for shooting. Despite this, the false machicolations were intended to strengthen the defensive tower and deter invaders. Indeed, in the 14th century English raids were frequent and deadly. The tower was part of a network of fortified churches in the Cotentin that could allow local populations to use them as defensive positions when needed. The inside has a single nave and two side aisles separated by simple Romanesque arches. 146 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe choir and the nave are separated by another large Romanesque arch. Motifs of animals and plants adorn many of the capitals above the columns in the choir. 149 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe nave is the part of the building with the least amount of decoration and has undergone the most changes over the last century which included new wood vaulting installed in 1954. 150 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyA staircase beneath the tower leads to the three bells of the church. Inside, the church has two works listed as historical monuments: 145 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe medieval baptismal font...151 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay...and the 15th century statue of the Virgin and Child. 148a Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe wooden altar from 1828 is painted in faux marble with two kneeling angels at the top. On either side are statues of Saint-Germain and Saint-Lo with a painting depicting Christ’s Resurrection at the center. 152 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-AyI found a source that says the crucifixion is from the medieval era but I really doubt that since it isn’t in the correct fashion for that time.  154 Église Saint-Germain de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay160 L'ancien prieuré bénédictin de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay158 L'ancien prieuré bénédictin de Saint-Germain-sur-AyIn the shadow of the church is the 12th century priory which was the home to Benedictine monks. 164a Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)168 Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)172 Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)The corps de garde (guard house) has very old origins and is without a doubt part of a defence system whose purpose was to protect the region from Viking invasions. Although driven out of France in 1450, the English continued to harass the commercial fleet and to carry out raids in the country on the beaches by seizing merchandise, animals and boats at the quayside. 161 le havre de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay161a le havre de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThey attacked the ports of Cherbourg, St-Vaast, Carteret, Portbail and St-Germain-sur-Ay. Guard posts were built all along the west coast of the Cotentin in order to ensure the surveillance and protection of the marine traffic, particularly boats in the process of landing and unloading. The harbor (called, le havre in French) of St-Germain was much bigger than it is today, protecting the village of Salines, that you can see on the other side of the bridge, and possessed a very busy port receiving boats of 400 tons specializing in the commerce of wood, sea salt cereals and animals. The small village of les Salines owes its name to the practice of extracting salt which was done at this period. 164 le havre de Saint-Germain-sur-AyThe sea, with the passage of time silted up the harbor and the commercial traffic collapsed. The guard house was built in 1659 on a rock five meters high, allowing one a view of the whole of the harbor. Under military command, it was run by 2 officers and 10 men. As a reprisal for the help given to the Protestants in La Rochelle, Richelieu ordered the destruction of the port facilities but the guard house was not touched. 174 Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)It was transformed into a chapel on the July 29, 1945 and assumed the name of Notre-Dame du Rosaire, but was called Notre-Dame du Grappillon (from the name of the place where the sheep of the salt marshes fed in the harbor) by locals. 178 Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)The families Deshayes-Alliot gave it as a gift to the commune on condition that it was to be restored to its original state. The commune accepted it and from 1977, at the instigation of the committee of preservation created that same year, volunteers carried out considerable restoration work.

181 Le corps de garde de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (Chapelle du Grapillon)

163 le havre de Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

By The Baguette - Community: travel tips and what not
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Tuesday 22 july 2014 2 22 /07 /Jul /2014 09:00

136 Église Saint-Pair de Gerville-la-Forêt

I’ve not much to say about the Église Saint-Pair in Gerville-la-Forêt except that it is from the 17th century and was closed on the day I visited. It’s the little church I came across while looking for the chapel in Vesly. The church gets its name from Saint-Paternus (or Saint-Pair) of Avranches who is said to have been born in Poitiers, become a monk at the Abbey of Marnes in France and retreated with his fellow monk, Saint Scubilion to the forest of Seicy in the diocese of Coutances before the Bishop of Coutances made him a priest in 512. The town itself is now part of Vesly but its name derives from the name of the old lords of the land, les Gervilles and the addition of la forêt which is a reference to the nearby forest of Lessay. You learn something new every day.

137 Église Saint-Pair de Gerville-la-Forêt

By The Baguette - Community: All Things French
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Sunday 20 july 2014 7 20 /07 /Jul /2014 15:57

119 Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, Vesly

Well, this was one of those pleasant surprises that you just don’t come across that often. After visiting the church in Vesly, I wanted to find the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Consolation but was disappointed when I couldn’t find any signs in town leading me there. I ended up driving in the wrong direction and found myself in Gerville-la-Forêt where I came across another church called Église Saint-Pair (which happened to be closed). Fortunately, there was a large map posted just in front of the church that gave directions to the chapel. So, I drove back into Vesly and found it without any further problems. It is nestled at the highest part of the town at the top of a path leading to the parsonage, past the local soccer field in amongst a small copse of trees. The chapel has been restored several times over the centuries. Information in a variety of languages can be found inside but there is very little information about the history of this chapel online. I’ll reprint what I found here: 121 Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyIn the 13th century, a gentleman was riding in the vicinity of the place where the chapel is now standing. Suddenly, he came across a boar which rushed at the horse. The horse bolted and knocked the knight down. Unfortunately, one of the knight’s feet got stuck in the stirrup and he was dragged by the bolting horse. When he was about to die, the gentleman promised the Blessed Virgin that he would build a chapel at the very place where his life would be spared. His foot being released, the gentleman soon set about fulfilling his vow. He dedicated the chapel he built to Our Lady of the Stirrup (Notre-Dame de l'Étrier) or of the Saddle (Notre-Dame de la Selle). Such is the origin, according to legend, of the Vesly Chapel. 120 Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyAs for its cloister, in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was used as the burial place for the local gentry. Over the years, many old sarcophagi have been found here during archaeological digs. In 1650, Father John Eudes, preaching a mission in Vesly, found the chapel nearly in ruins. It was a long time since Mass had been said. The missionary announced a procession to the chapel on Easter Tuesday. The parishioners of Vesly and of the neighbourhood responded to the appeal. Father Eudes then felt a desire to restore the chapel of the Blessed Virgin during his stay in Vesly. This task was undertaken so eagerly that the missionary was able to say Mass in the newly restored chapel at the end of his mission. Seeing this achievement as a good sign from the Blessed Virgin that his mission was a success, Father Eudes then dedicated the chapel to Our Lady of Consolation which is now its name. The interior has eight statues: 123 Ste-Jeanne d'Arc et St-Jean Eudes, Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslySainte-Jeanne d'Arc and Saint-Jean Eudes 126 Ste-Marie-Madeleine Postel, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslySainte-Marie-Madeleine Postel 128 Notre-Dame de l'Huis-ouvert, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyNotre-Dame de l’Huis Ouvert 125 St-Antoine de Padoue, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslySaint-Antoine de Padoue 127 Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslySainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus 122 Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyNotre-Dame de la Consolation 124 St-Ortaire, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslySaint-Ortaire

The windows are of note also for being from the workshop of famous glass maker Mauméjean. 129 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe first one depicts Saint-Joseph carrying the infant Jesus. 130 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe second one depicts the apparition of the Virgin to Ste-Catherine Labouré in the chapel at the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris. 131 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe third one depicts the apparition of the Virgin to the knight who built the chapel in Vesly. 132 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe fourth one depicts the Virgin blessing the mission of Father John Eudes to Vesly. 133 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe fifth depicts the Virgin appearing to children in Pontmain. 134 Mauméjean, Chapelle Notre-Dame de Consolation, VeslyThe sixth window depicts the apparition of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes.

By The Baguette - Community: Castle church fortification
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Saturday 19 july 2014 6 19 /07 /Jul /2014 15:22

090 Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly

Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly is a large and beautiful 13th century Gothic church located in the town of Vesly. It was built on the site of a Merovingian necropolis. 098 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe reconstruction of the church after World War II led to the discovery of many sarcophagi underneath the foundations which show that Vesly was an important town with many influential people during the Merovingian and Carolingian times. Another cemetery of several sarcophagi is the necropolis that existed around the chapel of the Virgin located 300 meters north of the church. The church is cruciform with two side aisles but no ambulatory. 093 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe transept however is very prominent and is marked with a triumphal arch above which is mounted an 18th century crucifix. 103 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyTo the right of the arch is the wooden pulpit which dates from the 1720s. 104 Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly094 Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly095 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe nave and transept are 13th century as is the lower part of the bell tower.  Be sure to check out the decorative heads along the nave.  It is thought that these were once part of some vaulting that is now missing.  117 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyOutside, along the bell tower are some interesting corbels too that display some grotesque faces. 116 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyIn 1472 the western porch was added and above the door is the following inscription: "The year of our Lord one thousand four hundred seventy-two this portal was made by and donated by nobleman Pierre Le Poupet. In his lifetime Lord of Besneville. God grant him paradise. Amen.” 096 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe west facade is illuminated by two, arched lancet windows topped by an oculus. These lancets are the oldest element of the church and date from the early 13th century. The oculus however is from the 15th. 100 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyOn the left of the main portal is the baptismal font made from limestone from Valognes as well as a Gothic style lectern. 097 Ste-Walburge, Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyTo the right of the main portal is the 16th century statue of Sainte-Walburge. This saint was widely venerated in the region and was invoked especially by mothers of sick children as well as sailors or those suffering from hydrophobia. 101 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe arcades of five bays of the nave are supported by squat cylindrical columns that rest on square bases. 102 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslySome of them have Latin inscriptions from the 1600s. 105 David, Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly107a Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly107 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyIn the choir are six Renaissance style corbels which represent the four evangelists as well as the prophet Isaiah and King David. 108 St-Nicolas, Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly109 St-Sebastien, Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyOn either side of the main altar are two 18th century statues in polychrome wood of Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Sébastien. 111 Église Saint-Pierre de Vesly112 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyThe stained glass was placed in the church during restorations after World War II and were designed by master glassmaker Hubert de Sainte-Marie. There is a small tower along the southern wall which makes up part of the transept. 114 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyI can’t find any information about it but I’m pretty sure it is very old too. 092 Église Saint-Pierre de VeslyIt even has some writing (which I can't make out) above one of the small lancet windows.

By The Baguette - Community: Castle church fortification
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