The church of Appeville-Annebault and its pigeons

The church Saint-André in Appeville-Annebault was mentioned in the 11th century for the first time. I bet the whole village was mentioned in the 11th century for the first time. But it sure wasn’t the same church Appeville-Annebault has today. The choir of the “modern” church was built in 14th century but the nave and the bell tower were rebuilt in 1518 and the following years for the still famous Claude d’Annebault (imagine you’d be dead since over 400 years and still get a Wikipedia article, not that it would make any difference concerning being dead though). He must have been quite wealthy. Strange enough the right of patronage belonged to a monastery, the priory of Saint-Philbert-sur-Risle and later to Bec Abbey, and not to the local seigneur.

I went there on the last warm days 2014. Everybody in Normandy knew it were the last warm days. And everybody was out there on the streets in their car. I had my terrier Rudi with me. He likes to go by car, mainly because he gets a treat if he has to wait. We reached the church and found no parking. There was a one way road and one parking place for the parson. None for the visitors. Maybe they don’t want visitors. On one side of the church runs a route départementale, a big road with lots of traffic. At the side of the church was a lot of space. really a lot of space. With a “No waiting”-sign. I had no choice if I wanted to take photographs of the church, I had to leave my car somewhere. I hoped Rudi would explain to any police officer, that we’re not waiting and I hoped he would drive away if necessary. Would have been a good idea to take the Bernese mountain dog with me as well, he looks so much like a driver.

In front of the gate to the cemetery, that surrounds the church, lay a dead pigeon in a decomposed state. They really don’t want any visitors. After fiddling around with the gate mechanism for 10 minutes I finally opened it and entered the cemetery.

l'église Saint-André
All the photographs in this article are my own. They are on Flickr and somehow I can’t get Chromium to tag or rather describe them here correctly. This is the church Saint-André (Saint Andrew).

Front of the church Saint-André
The picturesque façade of the church.

Musical angels over the entrance
Musical anges over the left front door.

Musical angels over the entrance
Musical anges over the right front door.

Kleiner Fuchs auf verzierter Säule
There’s a small tortoiseshell butterfly sitting on the decorated pillar next to the entrance of the church.

I like gargoyles, there were several gargoyles in good condition and some other sculptures.

Gargoyle on Saint-André

Gargoyle on Saint-André

Saint Andrew holding a cross
This gargoyle had a Saint Andrew above him.

Pigeon playground
This one was a pigeon playground.

Ape and pigeon

This apelike figure is holding a coat of arms with a St. Andrew’s cross. It’s not an ape though. It’s a lion. Go figure. The coat of arms of Admiral Annebault wasn’t like this. It showed two silver branches of rowan berries draped like a double necklace under a blue and white chequered chief.

Appeville Südtür
The southern door, that led the defunct’s soul directly into heaven. Very practical custom, if one believes in it of course.

Kopf ist ab, Schwanz noch dran
A dragon. His head is missing.

Türmchen auf der Kirche Saint-André
On the roof were lots of pigeons and some finials. I liked those finials. They look like thistles.

épi de faitage sur l'église Saint-André

And last but not least a weathercock with “balls”.

Coq avec boules

The “balls” have holes and I guess they are rather loops. Maybe they were used to pull he weathercock up with a rope. No idea. Only some older weathercocks in the area have those loops.

I took those photographs in no time. Was relieved that nobody asked Rudi to drive the car away. It wasn’t the only car standing in the “No waiting”-area though. There were two other cars and a trailer of a truck. But you’ll never know. Rudi appreciated the treat and we drove happily home.

Sources and further reading

The church Saint-André in the Base Mérimée

French Wikipedia, where a user by name of ‘Redbeauty’ has written some completely unsourced content They wrote about the lion.

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

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.

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

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The basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture in Bernay

The church Notre-Dame de la Couture in the south of the city Bernay was built from 1340 until around 1400 and enlarged in the 16th century. It stands on the foundations of an older building and historians estimate, that the crypta was constructed in the 11th century. The church tower has been rebuilt after 1615. The outer walls consist of sand stone, lime stone, flint and pudding stone. The flint and the other stones are arranged in a chequerboard pattern. The church received the title basilica minor in 1950 by the future Pope John XXIII (1881-1963). In 1906 the building received the status as a National Heritage Site. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the additional name “Couture” is derived from “culture” in the sense of plant culture. The place where the church stands, high over the city on the flank of a hill, must have been a field before the first church had been built there.

View of Bernay and a corner of the basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture. On the left you can see the square of war graves. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by/SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Western side, main entrance. Nowadays they use an entrance on the northern side. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

One of the entrances on the northern side. This one isn’t in use and needs restauration. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

This door looks locked, but it’s in use. It’s the main entrance at the moment, not very impressive. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The church has nice gargoyles. Own photo on Wikimedia commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

On the church tower are bartizans. I don’t even want to imagine how scary it must be to stand guard there, it makes me feel giddy. Maybe the bartizans have only decorative purpose?

Higher part of the western façade. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

transept, southern side. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Original main entrance. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

And a bit nearer because the door looks so nice. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

One of the bells was was cast in 1658. It was donated by the abbot of the monastery Notre-Dame (which stood in the middle of the city) and several inhabitants of Bernay. The bell is listed as well as the 22 beautiful church windows. They were made in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th century. I don’t have the material to take proper photos of those windows. Some of them, especially the oldest ones, are very high in the mid of the nave.

On the occasion of the Heritage Days 2012 the local association Amis de Bernay (friends of Bernay) showed an exhibition of liturgical vestment of the 19th century in the choir. But on Saturday there were two baptisms and thus I had to hurry, the exhibition was closing early.

Entrance to the crypta. Doesn’t it look mysterious? And dark. The interior of the crypta is decorated with pastel wall paintings by a local artist. France has no freedom of panorama and the artist wasn’t even dead yet. Takes 70 years to wait after the death of an artist before I can upload photos. Own photos, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Chasubles (19th century). Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Copes (19th century). Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The nave, the priest guides the people who take part in the baptism ceremony. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Altar. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Ascension of Jesus, 16th century window. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence, Lizenz: CC by/ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Jesus enters Jerusalem, 16th century window. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Pulpit. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Statue of Saint Fiacre. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

A sculpture of Saint Genevieve, and a statue of Saint Joseph (only guessing it’s him because he holds lilies). Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

References

Basilique Notre Dame de la Couture (French)

Bernay in der Base Mérimée des Ministère de la Culture (French)

Bernay in der Base Palissy des Ministère de la Culture (French)

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Tidy dead-end streets in le Theil-Nolent

Me and Rudi went to Le Theil-Nolent on September 9, a hot and sunny day. Le Theil-Nolent had 221 inhabitants in 2009. It is a village in the canton of Thiberville. Last year its mayor, Michel Millard de Montrion, most likely a member of a more or less noble family, visited us and complained a lot about our village. No idea what his problem was, he liked neither the castle nor the rest of the village.

City limit sign on the southern side of Le Theil-Nolent. The village is part of the Remembrance Way because it lies at the former RN13, the road over which the Canadian Army came in 1944 to free the north of Eure. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

I entered the municipal territory from the north and immediately lost the way. The village seems to consist of dead-end streets, tidy dead-end streets. I stopped at a lavoir with some benches and a table for a picnic. lavoirs at small ponds make we wonder, how the people are supposed to clean their clothes in the standing water. Nowadays those lavoirs are often used by (optimistic) fishermen. I stared at my maps to find out where the heck I was. Somewhere in a web ob dead-ends north of the town centre.

The lavoir. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

I went south past some dead-end streets, left the village in the south, re-entered it, went east and finally found the town hall.

Rudi in front of the town hall. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Everything was very tidy, except maybe the adjustment of the poles on the parking place, and an exemplary disabled parking spot. There’s only one house in the vicinity though, all the other people seem to live in the dead-end streets.

It was a hot day. We had some water and a bowl in the car. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Opposite the town hall, at the other end of a vast place, stands the church Sainte-Colombe with the inevitable war memorial.

War memorial. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

The church is very nice, it was built in the 16th century and enlarged in the 18th century. Patron saint is Columba of Sens. The village belonged to Bec Abbey from 1065 until the French Revolution (1789-1799). Since the 17th century the village had a second seigneur, the family Coudray. They built a manor house, which I couldn’t find. Sigh. The above mentioned mayor owns a 19th century castle, which I couldn’t find either.

The church Sainte-Colombe. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Southern side of the church. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

The timber-framed parts of the façade are decorated with patterns of black silex and flat bricks. Own photo at Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

In the shadow of the wall around the cemetery stood a cute horse. It was really a hot day.

This house is already tanned. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

And Charolais-cattle in the background. They were probably just getting a sunstroke. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

I followed one of the marked hiking trails north. There was a statue next to the road. That statue of the saint Colomba was created in 1997 and because of the lack of freedom of panorama (FOP) in France, I can’t upload photos of it. Behind the statue starts a grove with muddy, rectangular basins that were probably once used to breed fishes. This grove was dark and not tidy at all. On the path I found feathers and other rests of a dead bird. That made me think of traps. There are often traps to catch foxes in the woods around here. I went back. At the road a couple of Charolais looked at me rather reproachful. It was time to get out of Le Theil-Nolent.

The grove. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

I guess these muddy basins are full of cheekily tourists, that threw candy wrappers on the main street. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

These cows and calves don’t seem to be amused. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Further Reading

Bienvenue sur le site du Theil-Nolent (french)

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The church in Morsan on Heritage Days 2012

I can only drive the car until the end of the year. That’ll end my motorised photo-tours. At the moment the weather is quite bad, but I’ll certainly take as many photos as possible as long as I can. I had a lot of work on the property and in the castle and therefore I couldn’t post much and there’s a couple of photos waiting to be posted. Since someone asked me about it, thanks for reading my articles Mr S, I start with the church de la sainte Trinité in Morsan on September 16, Sunday of the Heritage Days 2012.

église de la Sainte-Trinité de Morsan

On the outside everything was different. The door was open and bicyles were lying under the huge yew tree. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Before the lecture started, I grabbed the historian and told him about the last Marquis Le Sens of Morsan. About his extravagance and his parties. I didn’t want to listen to the sad and untrue story of the evil Germans that ruined him 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War. He lived until the 1930s. The historian accepted what I told him and quoted me later. During his speech he must have quoted several of the women around, he was looking at us, when he was reflecting our knowledge.

Carrying a not very historic bench outside. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The historian in the sanctuary in front of the 17th century altar. Own photo, licence: © stanzebla (stanzebla.wordpress.com). All rights reserved.

The whole village was there, and above that Pierre Roussel, der head of the AMSE (Association of Friends of the Monuments and Sights in Eure), several members of that association, the mayor and an artist who has a gallery in Saint-Georges-du-Vièvre.

This time I managed to take a photo of one of the listed 18th century cantor-stools. There are only two of the 5 stools left. The others had been taken by the government. They were supposed to get restored, but never came back. They are somewhere, but nobody knows where.

Cantor-stool. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC 0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The 17th century high altar is very impressive. François Le Sens donated him to the church on the occasion of his marriage. And he made similar donations in favour of the church of Notre-Dame-d’Épine. The altarpiece was added in the 19th century, it was a gift of Napoleon III (1808-1873). The historian looked at the mayor and said it would be thrilling to find out what is under this painting, maybe an older and more avluable one (that’s what they always hope). When the village has enough money, they’ll examine the painting.

The high altar with the altarpiece. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

After the Council of Trent (1545-1563) the interior of the churches was changed as a result of the Counter-Reformation. The interior of the churches was now supposed to improve the evangelization by means of better knowledge of the Roman-catholic creeds. Baptisms and confessions were only allowed in the nave, which represented the aspect of penance. The choir represented the triumph of the church, the heaven. That’s why the altar is highly decorated with statues of saints and angels. On top it shows the Trinity. Originally it was painted very colourful. Today the wood is painted like grey marble.

The church tabernacle. These two angels were originally carrying a crown. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Die Seitenaltäre wurden zusammen mit dem Hauptaltar gefertigt.

Baroque angels on a side altar. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Der trabes doxalis (joist of glory, poutre de gloire) is made of wood, but it looks as if it was metal. It can’t carry the weight of the triumphal cross. The cross is attached to the church vault.

Joist of glory and triumphal cross. own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The coat of arms of the Le Sens of Morsan shows three frankincense burners, because the French word for frankincense is l’encens and the pronunciation of l’encens is about the same as the pronunciation of Le Sens. All French words sound alike. Coats of arms are never very funny.

The coats of arms of the Le Sens of Morsan. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

An exceptional find are several handstitched 19th century sashes of the Confrérie de charité (brotherhood of charity) of Morsan. They show naïve motifs. In the 19th century sashes of this kind were usually manufactured. These sashes are not listed yet, but it is likely, that they will be listed soon.

Handstitched sash. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Sash of 1834. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Mortcloth of 1908. Own photo, licence: C0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The vestments of the priests were made of the old dresses of the Marquise. That’s why many of them are very colourful and show flower motifs. The original free standing altar was destroyed during the French Revolution (1789-1799). There was never made a new one. The priest uses a provisorial altar today. It is covered with old vestments.

The free standing altar. Own photo, licence: C0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The dresses of the Marquise turned into flowery vestments. 18th century? Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Altar bells. Own photo, licence: C0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The litre seigneuriale (band of mourning) is not fully recovered yet, but on two places the coat of arms of the Le Sens gleams through the paint.

The red tincture of the field of the coats of arms of the Le Sens under the paint. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The 19th century windows sadly aren’t as tasteful as the altars.

Pietà. Mary’s heart pierced by seven daggers. 19th century window. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Annunciation. Own photo, licence: CC0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

No idea what this depicts. Maybe it’s better not to know. Own photo, licence: C0/ Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

After the lecture we met outside on the unhistorical benches and talked a bit. Monsieur C. was making jokes. “Facebook? Yes, I got Facebook, face of a buck.” The pronunciation of book and buck is the same in French. Then we went on to other monuments.

13th century window on the westside. Own photo, licence: CC by SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


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