Deutsche Version: hier.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.‘
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.
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.
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.