Heritage Day 2013, Second part: On the ropes of Chamblac and crooked photos in Giverville

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And I promise, soon there will be animals again.

In Chamblac the church Notre-Dame was open and a member of the city council showed us around. He was very nice and he even allowed me to ring the church bell.. a bit. The ringing mechanism is not electrical, a rarity in the area. It was the first time I ever rang a church bell. It was impressive. Takes ages to swing the bell enough to make it ring and it feels as if it would fall on ones head.

Alain and Jeannine go into the church Notre-Dame of Chamblac. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The bell ropes. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The new bell-ringer, photo by Alain Cardinal

The new bell-ringer, photo by Alain Cardinal

Und ziehen! Foto von Alain Cardinal.

Puuuulllll! photo by Alain Cardinal.

The church Notre-Dame (‚Our Lady‘) was built in the 16th century. And the town council does a lot to restore it. There were very interesting carved heads on the beams at the ceiling. Very difficult to take a photo of them with my cheap camera. One day I might buy a better one, until then you got to deal with photos like this:

Deckengesicht, 16. Jahrhundert. Eigenes Foto, Lizenz: gemeinfrei

Ceilingface, 16th century. Own photo, licence: public domain

The church contains some statues of saints from the 14th to the 16th century. And not even one of the photos I took of those statues was okay. You’ll see later, that I was not very ambitious. Apart of the statues the church contains some religious banners of the local Confrérie de charité (‚Brotherhood of charity‘). More about the Brotherhoods of charity later, when we come to Giverville.

Religious banners, 19th century. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

We went up in the bell tower. The woodwork was just restored. The bells can only be reached by a ladder. I would not go up there. I felt already giddy on the platform under the bells.

Up there are the bells. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Then we drove to Giverville. I was often in Giverville, but I’ve never seen the church interior before. The church Notre-Dame (they don’t seem to be very creative concerning their church names, considering, that the Catholics got around 1628 saints) was built in the 16th century. The choir was built in the 17th century. Some of the windows are original. Outside the church, on the cemetery, stand huge yew trees, that are guiding the souls to heaven. Very practical.

The 13th-century baptismal font is even older than the church itself. It is one of the official Monuments historiques (‚historical monuments‘). The 17th-century retabel is richly decorated. It is also a historical monument.

The church Notre-Dame of Giverville. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The triumphal beam, 17th century. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The triumphal beam carries the inscription „VENEZ A MOY VOUS TOUS QUI ESTES FATIGUES ET CHARGE JE VOUS SOULAGERAY MATH CH II N 28“, ‚Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.‘

The photo is crooked. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The photo is crooked. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Das Foto hängt schon wieder schief und ist britzelig. Eigenes Foto, Lizenz: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The photo is crooked again and the lights are dazzling. Own photo, licence: public domain

At the side of the church i found an interesting grave. François Guilbert, born in 1757, was Vikar of Bazoques in 1791. In the time of the French Revolution (1789-1799). He was elected as „constitutional parson“ in Fontaine-la-Louvet but didn’t want to obey to the laws (instead of the church). He refused to become parson and fled to (Protestant) England in 1792. He returned to Normandy after the Revolution and became priest of Giverville, where he died in 1819.

Grave of a rebellious priest. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The Confrérie de charité of Giverville is still active. The brotherhoods of charity were mainly responsible for (cheap) burials. That was before private undertakers were forced upon the population by law. That was not very nice of Napoleon I.

Members of the brotherhood used to carry or drag or half carry half drag the dead body out of the house. The corpse was fully dressed and there was straw in his pants to make them stiffer. The defunct was layed in the coffin in the church. The coffin was closed, a nice pall was put on the coffin and after some religious ceremonies the brotherhood carried the coffin out through the southern door of the church. This door was also called paradise-door because it led the soul into paradise. Very practical.

This door leads into paradise. Maybe it was already made before the deluge. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Pall, clothes and bells of the brotherhood. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Clothes of the Charitons (name for the members of the brotherhood). Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

I really like that 19th century painting. During their history, the brotherhoods of charity were not always in compliance with regulations of the church. Sometimes they acted, as if they were more important, than the priests. And that’s why the church gave them new, more restrictive regulations frequently. During the Revolution the brotherhoods had been prohibited. In the course of the concordat of 1801 the brotherhoods were allowed again. In 1805 Jean-Baptiste Boulier, the bishop of Évreux, published the new rules of the brotherhoods of charity. The brotherhoods were subordinate to the local Gendarmerie Nationale as well as the clergy. In 1842 the bishop Nicolas-Théodore Olivier published new rules, that were even more restrictive. It was not allowed anymore to worship crucifixes outside of a church and the free choice of saints was interdicted. Some of the brotherhoods prefered to disband. The situation after 1842 is depicted on the painting. The Charitons don’t seem to be very happy.

Sad charitons and a pompous bishop. The painting was donated to the brotherhood in 1865. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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8 thoughts on “Heritage Day 2013, Second part: On the ropes of Chamblac and crooked photos in Giverville

  1. How lucky to be able to pull that bell – glad you let go and didn’t get a quick lift to the bell loft! Great to see the trimmings the brotherhood used in their services.

  2. Thanks for a wonderful tour to Chamblac and Giverville. I wish we would have no automatic bells here too, the noise at 7 am in the morning is annoying :o)

    • You’re welcome. I’m sorry to hear about that local alarm-church. Maybe it would help if you tell them, the traditional Breton way demands manual bell ringing? Could wear a red cap while saying that.

  3. That is fantastic! What fun it must have been to ring that bell!

  4. You seemed to be enjoying pulling that bell. An interesting story, sounded like it was a great trip.

  5. Hej Stanzebla! Ich wünsche dir einen gutes Jahr 2014 !LG Xeniana

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