Gouttières is a former commune in Eure, Normandy. In 2019, they had 181 inhabitants. Gouttières and 15 other communes merged in 2016 and formed the new commune Mesnil-en-Ouche. The main religion in Eure is Roman Catholic. The church of Notre-Dame in Gouttières is a Roman Catholic church.
Around 1060 William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford, Lord of Breteuil (1011-1071) – companion of William the Conqueror (1028-1087) – included the church of Notre-Dame of Gouttières in the founding charter of Lyre Abbey in La Vieille-Lyre (Eure). The first church of Gouttières is said to have been built on the other side of the valley, though.
The church that exists now, was built in the 12th century. Notre-Dame (‘Our Lady’) was a frequent name for churches in France in the 12th century. From its Romanesque origin, this church retains some remains in the apse and on the south wall.
The nave was rebuilt in the first half of the 16th century, a vast chapel was then attached to the south of the nave and an inscription attests that the choir was restored in 1575. The church was provided with a set of stained-glass windows, one of which shows the name of the donors and the date of its construction in 1559. All the churches in the region have been restored after the Council of Trent in 1545. These measures were part of the Counter-Reformation.
This building consists of a nave, extended by a narrower choir, and a vast chapel acting as a transept arm to the south. An octagonal spire covered with slate is located at the entry side of the nave. The choir is the oldest part of the building and dates back to the 12th century. It is built in masonry of rubble stones of flint, limestone and grison (a grey bog iron found in wet plains in the natural region Perche) embedded in mortar. This grison is embedded in the oldest wall of the church, the small part to the right.
A part of the south wall of the nave, in coated rubble masonry, retains a few limestone keystones in the lower part of the wall, corresponding to an older window or door probably closed with a limestone frame in the 16th century. The south chapel is the most homogeneous part of the building. Its window to the east looks like the windows in the nave, but the southern window is bigger and built in the style Flamboyant (late Gothic architecture).
I noticed now, that I never wrote a complete article about the Confrérie de charité. So let me quote myself:
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.
Nestled in a height of 40 m in the belfry of the church Saint-Nicolas in Beaumont-le-Roger, Régulus represents a Roman soldier. Wearing a plumed helmet, and dressed in a red tunic, he carries a sabre attached to his belt and has his calves encased in half-boots. Régulus has articulated arms at shoulder level and holds a hammer in each hand. He strikes two bells 40 and 50 cm in diameter placed behind him, the smaller one every 15 minutes. He nods his head up and down when he strikes the big bell on the full hours.
Régulus, symbol of justice, was born in 1826 thanks to Étienne Charles Martin, a carpenter from Saint-Aubin-le-Guichard (now Mesnil-en-Ouche), passionate about watchmaking and automata, who settled around 1796 in Beaumont-le-Roger near the church. Designed in oak wood and wrought iron, Régulus is 2.16 m high and weighs approximately 80 kg.
The last time he touched the ground was in September 2013. For three hours, two alpinists ensured the dismantling of all the bolts of the mechanism, dismantled the head and arms of the automaton and then lowered Régulus, wrapped like a mummy, with a rope to the ground.
Régulus’ restoration was carried out by a specialized company from the Paris region. The same company that gave Régulus a facelift in 1985. In 2013 people estimated that his next restoration would take part in around 30 years. I took a photo of Régulus this year and to me, it looks as if the cracks in the paint are already deeper. Nothing compared to his bad state in 2013 though (there’s a picture in the last link I added below).
Earlier restorations have been made in 1845 by Monsieur Martin and his son, in 1854 and 1909 by other horologists.
I will write about the lost church of Pierre-Ronde another time. This building deserves an article. But today I want to concentrate on the litre funéraire. The first church on this place in Pierre-Ronde, which is now part of the municipality Mesnil-en-Ouche, was built in the 10th century (found out with radiocarbon dating) in Romanesque style. What’s left of the 10th century church are foundations and part of the nave. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century. The bell tower was made in the 15th century, but remade in 1716. The choir was rebuilt in 1746. In the 19th century the hamlet of Pierre-Ronde lost most of its inhabitants and the priest left. The church wasn’t in use any more and was sold in 1966. It was owned by different people until 1992. It was completely forgotten, and the interior was completely emptied. In 1992 somebody found the church (“Oh look, we got a church there”). And the town bought it back. Some sculpted stones of the 15th- and 16th century were found in 2016 in a shed of a private person. The church is being restored by an association of inhabitants of the town. The church was not far away from Beaumesnil castle. And it seems that the noble families were using the church at least in the 17th century. The church Saint-Nicolas in Beaumesnil was built in the 19th century.
This is an old postcard. Either from the late 19th or early 20th century. To the right you can see the priory, the walls and the entrance of the gallery. Behind the people and to the side of the carriage, there are houses hanging at the walls of the galleries. The holes of the wood construction that kept them up there are still visible today.
Here’s another shot of the houses at the street. Probably the same image though. The postcard is from 1904.
This shows the gate into the woods. I don’t think there is a gate today. Will have to check.
Turns out that my husband took this picture in March 2019.
Here you can see a bit of the ruins of the castle at the top of the hill. There is much less vegetation than today. Many of the houses in front of the priory have been destroyed in World War II.
The abbey in Bernay (Eure) was founded in 1013 by Judith of Brittany (982–1017), Duchess of Normandy and wife of Richard II (996-1026). She gave lots of land to that abbey, many villages.
One of the villages was Beaumont-le-Roger. At that time, Beaumont had the name of “Belmont” (beautiful mountain?). In 1030 Belmont was ceded to Onfroy († around 1050), seigneur (lord) of Pont-Audemer (Eure). Onfroy’s son, Roger (1015-1094) inherited the domain.
In 1048 Roger married Adeline de Meulan (1014/1023-1081). Chronology lacks detail, but sources show more and more often a presence of Roger and his family on the territory of Beaumont after 1050. In 1066 Roger made a first donation to a religious establishment on the site of Beaumont. Around this time Roger started to call himself Roger de Beaumont, instead of Roger, son of Onfroy. It is possible that he built a first motte-and-bailey castle and founded the church Saint-Nicolas, as well as fortified the town of Beaumont. But the sources are rather vague. The only reason to assume the existence of an earlier church than the Collegiate Church of the Trinity, is the donation Roger made in 1066.
Onfroy, Roger and his brother Robert were close to the Duke William the Conqueror (1028-1087), and Roger helped the Duchess Matilda of Flanders (1031-1083) in conducting the duchy during the conquest of England (1066-1070). The duke gave Roger land. Land that used to belong to Bernay abbey. Not only as a reward for his services, but also to create a protective fortress against the rebellious house of Tosny.
The 1077 marriage between Raoul II of Tosny (1027-1102), seigneur of Conches-en-Ouche (Eure) and Isabelle de Montfort-sur-Risle (1057-1102) allowed the Tosnys to become Châtelains of Nogent-le-Roi in Eure-et-Loir (until around 1200). The family possessions of the Tosnys thus stretched as far as the border of the duchy of Normandy. What I don’t understand about this, is that at least one of the Tosnys was with William the Conqueror in England and got land there as a reward.
To mark his presence, Roger built a big fortified castle, and founded in 1070 a religious establishment: the collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity. That’s only 4 years on from his donation in 1066. And in my opinion it is possible, that somebody wrote 1070 instead of 1066 because 1070 is an even number. Roger built castle and church of course with the consent of the duke. Roger founded those buildings to show that he was the feudal lord, “seigneur”, of the place. The castle and the church were government institutions. The “castrum and collegiate” (build a castle and a church) is part of a strategy of administrative and military structuring set up by William the Conqueror and followed by his sons.