Auguste Le Prévost, historical science in Normandy

Auguste Le Prévost (* 3 June 1787 in Bernay in Normandy; † 14. July 1859 in La Vaupalière was a French archaeologist and historian. Le Prévost and Arcisse de Caumont (1801-1873) are considered to have been the founding fathers of historical science in Normandy.


buste auguste le prévost

Bust of Auguste Le Prévost by Jean-Marie Bonnassieux (1810-1892) in the museum of Bernay. licence: public domain, because the author died more than 70 years ago

In 1813 Le Prévost joined the “Académie des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Rouen” (Academia of science and fine arts). In August 1814 he became the subprefect of Bernay. But he already retired from office in November 1815 and applied himself to his studies about the history of Normandy. He learned several historical and modern languages, English, Italian, German, Swedish, Sanskrit, Hebrew, classical Greek and Latin. He studied classical philology, toponymy, geology, botany, ancient history and archaeology.

In 1818 the writers Charles Nodier (1780-1844), Isidore Taylor (1789-1879) and Alphonse de Cailleux made a two-month journey through the Haute-Normandie, to collect material for their book series “Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France” („Picturesque and romantic voyages through ancient France“). In the Haute-Normandie Le Prévost acted as their guide, he showed them around, explained the monuments he showed them and even gave them his records. During this journey a friendship developed between Nodier and Le Prévost and after the journey the writers and Le Prévost kept up a correspondence. Le Prévost was sending them more of his records for the book series. The first book was published in 1820, the second book in 1825, both dealt with Normandy.

rue auguste leprevost

Half-timbered house in the rue Leprevost (Leprevost street), source archives of the département of Eure

Le Prévost presided for several years the learned society “Société centrale d’agriculture de la Seine-inférieure” (Society for agriculture in Seine-inférieure) and the “Société libre d’agriculture, sciences, arts et belles-lettres de l’Eure” (Society for agriculture and fine arts in Eure). In 1825 he published his “Discours sur la poésie romantique”. In 1830 he went into politics and became 1831 general council of the canton of Bernay. From 1834 to 1848 he was a member of the chamber of deputies of France. In 1838 he joined the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. From 1838 to 1852 he edited the “Historiæ ecclesiasticæ libri tredecem” by Ordericus Vitalis.

Le Prévost was a founding member of the “Société des antiquaires de Normandie” (Society of antiquarians of Normandy). He composed pioneering works about architectural science. He categorized the post-Roman architecture of Normandy in romanesque art, gothic art, renaissance and modernism. His system was built upon Thomas Rickman’s (1776-1841) classification of mediaeval architecture of England.

Le Prévost’s “Mémoires et notes de M. Auguste Le Prevost pour servir à l’histoire du département de l’Eure” have been published after his death between 1862 and 1869 by Louis Passy (1830-1913) and Léopold Delisle (1826-1910). A bust of Le Prévost was inaugurated in 1883 in Bernay. In the center of Bernay is a street named after him “rue Auguste Leprevost”.

Sign of the rue Auguste Leprevost in Bernay. Own photo, licence: public domain


Société des antiquaires de Normandie (editor): Mémoire sur la collection de vases antiques trouvée, en mars 1830 à Berthouville; published in 1832 by T. Chalopin in Caen

Anciennes divisions territoriales de la Normandie; published in 1839 by Crapelet in Paris

Dictionnaire des anciens noms de lieu du département de l’Eure; published in 1839 by Ancelle fils in Évreux

Notes pour servir à la topographie et à l’histoire des communes du département de l’Eure au moyen age; published in 1849 by A. Hérissey in Évreux

Léopold Delisle, Louis Paulin Passy (Editors): Mémoires et notes de M. Auguste Le Prevost pour servir à l’histoire du département de l’Eure; published between 1862 and 1869 by Auguste Herissey in Évreux, volume 1, 2 und 3


Adolphe-André Porée: Note sur Auguste Le Prévost et Charles Nodier; published in 1903 by L. Gy in Rouen

Gilles Rossignol: Eure, published in 2001 by La Renaissance du Livre in Tournai; page 16f, ISBN=978-2804605070

Matthias Noell: Classement und classification. Ordnungssysteme der Denkmalpflege in Frankreich und Deutschland, page 2+5, 2 April 2005 (pdf)

This article was published by myself on 27 May 2010 on German wikipedia. Version history, my user page.

Sadly I have to publish this under the terms of theGNU Free Documentation License.


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