La chapelle Saint-Germain is located atop a hill, 600 meters from the shore of Querqueville, overlooking the sea. Since 1856 it has been listed as a Historic Monument due to its early-Christian elements that make it one of the earliest surviving Christian worship sites in Normandy. It was open last weekend for the Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days). Some stories suggest that it has been a religious site since the 5th century when in 450 “Germain le Scot” (son of an Irish prince) landed in what is now Diélette and began converting the local pagans and Roman settlers in La Hague to Christianity. Around 480, when he was preaching in Rouen, his words upset a local chief named Hubalt who then used his sword to decapitate Germain. Most historians and archaeologists agree that evidence supports the construction of the chapel from somewhere between the 9th and 12th centuries. Its advantageous position at the top of the hill allowed for monitoring of the sea for possible enemies wishing to come ashore. The name Querqueville actually comes from the Norse word “kirkja” which means "church" and the Norman word “ville”, which meant “agricultural realm”; Querqueville means literally the "realm of the church." La chapelle Saint-Germain is a small building oriented east to west and consists of a small rectangular nave with three semi-circular apsidal projections called cul-de-four. The steeple was created in 1655 and the small stained glass windows were installed in 1985. One enters through the narthex and descends three small steps to the original foundation level of the chapel, uncovered during excavations between 1975 and 1977. Soundings and other investigations at that time found the existence of a very old cemetery complete with four sarcophagi underneath the choir. These two photos show the layout of the four sarcophagi found to be under the choir. They also found original columns and wall foundations, coins from different eras as well as a granite mortuary slab with the carving of a croix nimbée (cross with a halo) near the entrance of the northern apse. Ancient frescoes uncovered on the apsidal walls represent a man carrying a Bible, a tonsured figure with donkey ears and several other characters. On the floor of the southern apse lies a 16th century large crucifix of polychrome wood. This used to hang on the northern wall near the entrance but due to recent works, it has been set out of the way. The southern apse has the remains of a sarcophagus unearthed during the excavations in 1975-1977. There are three statues resting in front of the altar. The first statue is of Saint-Hélier in polychrome stone. It dates from the 15th century. He holds his decapitated head in his hands. Companion of Saint-Marcouf, Saint-Hélier helped to evangelize the island of Jersey in the mid-6th century. He was beheaded by a horde of Saxons in 559. The statue in the middle is of Saint-Clair in polychrome stone holding his head in his hands. The third one is also of Saint-Clair in polychrome wood and placed in the chapel in 1791. It comes from La chapelle Saint-Clair de Nacqueville and is especially interesting since the statue depicts a priest wearing his cap, surplice and stole and extending his hands in a gesture of giving. Most statues of Saint-Clair (like the one in the middle) depict the saint without his head. He was born in England and landed near Cherbourg in 860 to evangelize the local people. He established his hermitage in the forest of Nacqueville. One of his followers is said to have cut off his own hand while chopping wood but through the prayers of Clair the hermit, he was healed. Other stories have Clair casting out demons and bringing people back to life. His martyrdom came about when a rich and powerful woman set her sights on the handsome young monk. Fearing her carnal intentions and wishing to escape the notoriety that came from performing miracles, he fled to Vulcassum in the Val-d’Oise region. The frustrated and implacable woman had her soldiers pursue Clair until 12 years later they finally found him. When asked if he knew of someone named Clair, he replied, “No.” As the men began to turn away, Clair felt he committed a sin by hiding the truth and called out, “I am Clair.” Then, kneeling with his head down he said, “Perish the body that may be the subject of a criminal love.” One of the men cut off his head and threw it into a fountain. When the killers fled, Clair dived into the water, grabbed his head and went to his oratory. From there he went to the church where he finally died beside the altar. The fountain is said to have healing powers. It is EXCEPTIONALLY difficult to find detailed information about La Chapelle Saint-Germain unless one visits during the Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days). Knowing that so much information is not yet on the internet, I took photographs of the charts and detailed excavation histories which hang within the chapel: The photos above detail the excavation works and soundings taken by archaeologists between 1975 - 1977.The map above shows where things are located but is not very recent since the statues are no longer placed throughout the chapel but rest at the foot of the altar. The following four pages are difficult to read since they are in terrible handwriting but if you have the courage and can read them, feel free to give them a go! They tell the story of the chapel and the histories of the saints found inside.