Saturday, 22 December 2012

And now for something completely different!

Whenever I cycle down the Voie Verte from Chazelle to Cluny (formerly a railway, now a cycle track), somewhere half way I pass by a rather strange building.

The former church of Cotte (Cortambert)
Just past the former station of Massilly lies an old farm, and half of the farmhouse seems to be an old church. The church-like building appears to have been the church of Cotte, a hamlet belonging to the commune of Cortambert. The pointer on the map points to the restaurant "Au Pont de Cotte"; the church itself lies approx 200 m to the east, on the other side of the old railway.
This was the church that once was home to the baptismal font in the chapel of Collonges (see the previous blog), although I did not know that at the time.
When I told Eduard about this church, he acknowledged having heard about it, although he did not have pictures of it. We are again talking ancient history, because now one can find my pictures on this page.
A similar building can be found only a stone throw away from our house.

The former chapel of Coureau (Bray)

This farm lies approx. 800 m south of the pointer (La Tuilerie de Chazelle). The chapel is built against a farm house, the ferme de Coureau, and it is part of the village of Bray. We found out about this chapel through one of our campers who did a walk in the vicinity, and accidentally stumbled upon it.

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Former church (storage space) Saint-Laurent in Cotte (Lournand), 11th century, 3*
Former chapel (storage space) Saint-Jean-du-Bois in Ferme Coureau (Bray), ?th century, 0*

For our own website, click here.

The former chapel of Coureau (Bray)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Romanesque or not, that is the question

The last signpost to something Romanesque, along the road between Chazelle and Cluny, refers to “Collonges Chapelle Romane”.
This chapel is a cute little one, in the hamlet of Collonges (commune of Lournand). Inside the chapel there are some drawings or paintings made by Michel Bouillot (1929-2007), a writer and well known artist who has made pen drawings of almost each stone in every Burgundian house in our department.

The chapel in Collonges
I seem to remember that there was no reference to this chapel on le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne, but I cannot reproduce the correspondance between Eduard and myself on this subject. I think that I sent him some pictures of this chapel, and that his answer was that he could not find anything Romanesque on the photographs, and hence that the chapel did not qualify for an entry on his site; it was simply not a Romanesque chapel.
However, when I sent him another photograph of an information panel I had found in the church, where it was explained that the baptismal font in the chapel originally came from the Romanesque church in Cotte (in the commune of Cortambert), he changed his mind. As of then Collonges is mentioned on his site, albeit in the category 1 or 2 stars.
Lournand appears to have more to offer then the church, chapel and castle from the previous blog!

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Chapel Saint-Laurent in Collonges (Lournand) 11th century, 0*

For our own website, click here.

The baptismal font from Cotte

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Comedy of Errors

Between Chazelle and Cluny there are three different road signs, all three referring to something Romanesque. One of those signs refers to the village of Lournand.

the church of Lournand

After the quest for the Romanesque church of Massilly (see the previous blog) I decided that I could crack this one as well. Both churches, that of Massilly as wel as that of Lournand look from a distance very similar, and could have been built, as far as I could guess, in roughly the same period. On le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne I found under the 1 or 2 star churches for Lournand a former church Saint-Hubert, no pictures available.
The pictures item could be solved easily. On a fine day we drove into Lournand. The church is prominently present, and inside the church, which was obviously still in use, I found a pamphlet telling something about the history of the church. The church had been completely rebuilt in the 19th century (which confirmed my guess), but the crossing, i.e. the base of the bell tower, was the only remaining part of the original, 11th century Romanesque church. The plot thickened even further, because not only was this NOT a former church, it was also dedicated to Sainte-Marie, not to Saint-Hubert.

The cupola with trompes, church of Lournand

One of my questions to Eduard concerned the completeness of his site. He answered thus:

"Completeness is difficult to achieve, but certainly my goal. All acknowledged Romanesque churches of the calibre of Chazelle (hence 3 stars or more) are mentioned on my site. The lists of 1 or 2 star churches are most likely not 100 % complete (a church containing a Romanesque part of a wall already qualifies for an entry), but are certainly as complete as possible."

Eduard was obviously not aware of this church, since it certainly contained something Romanesque.
I had all of a sudden a new riddle to solve: where was the former church Saint-Hubert? Knowing Eduard a bit better by now I hoped to be able to crack this mystery soon. However, the Lournand story was not over yet. When we left the church we saw a vague acquaintance sitting on a balcony of the house opposite the church. We knew she lived in Lournand, but we never knew where. She asked us in, and after some chitchat she told us that the other side of her house had a beautiful view on the château. A château in Lournand? Never heard of!

The castle of Lournand

And indeed, one of her rooms had a nice view, it looked out over a ruin, possibly of an old fortress. However, it could also have been the remains of an old factory. What we saw was a very long bit of wall from which 9 pieces of walls were protruding like raised fingers.
After having said goodbye, we decided to leave the village via a different road. We were quite surprised to find all of a sudden a long part of a defence wall on the road side, with at a certain point a semicircular part of wall which well could have been a defence tower.
As soon as we reached home I sent Eduard an email wit questions concerning the Sainte-Marie of Lournand and the Saint-Hubert.
The answer came almost instantaneously with a photograph of the chapel Saint-Hubert; that turned out to be the piece of wall I had assumed to be a tower.
 Looking back now, this seemed to be a comedy of errors. I thought Eduard had made a mistake in the name of the church, and Eduard thought that Lournand church had nothing Romanesque.
Who will maintain, after reading this story, that coincidence does not exist?

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Church Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption in Lournand, 11th century, 0*
Former chapel (ruin) Saint-Hubert in Lournand, ?th century, 0*
Castle (ruin) of Lourdon in Lournand, 11th century, 0*

For our own website click here.

Chapel Saint-Hubert in Lournand

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A persistent misunderstanding on my part

When we go to Cluny, and that happens at least twice a week, we always pass through the village of Massilly. And every time we pass the main street there, we see a sign saying "Eglise romane".

The church of Massilly
The church is perched on a hill top, and when we climbed up there to have a look at this church, we were not really impressed, to say the least. But what is printed in black and white must be true, so this was obviously a very boring, uninteresting, Romanesque church. Because there was no mention of this village and church on le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne, and because I did not want to be told that I had it wrong again (!), I searched the internet for more information.
The church goes back to 1856, and was built near the demolished, most likely Romanesque Saint-Denis. However, this did not exactly solve the mystery of the sign "Eglise romane". A couple of weeks after the discovery of the birth date of the church, and after passing the sign along the road for the 200142-nd time, all of a sudden a penny dropped.

Directions in Massilly
On one side of the road there were three signs : “Flagy”, “Salornay / Guye” and “Eglise Romane”.
On the other side there were two : “Flagy” and “Eglise Romane”.
The sign obviously did not refer to the church of Massilly at all; most likely it was referring to the church in the nearby village of Flagy! And Flagy was certainly mentioned on Eduard's unsurpassed list of Romanesque churches, albeit without pictures.
The next time we came back from a shopping spree in Cluny we turned off at Massilly and followed the signs to Flagy, and bingo, that is where we found a cute Romanesque church.
In the meantime Eduard has incorporated some of my pictures on his web page for Flagy.
That it took me about 7 years to figure out that the sign did not point to Massilly church, but to that of Flagy, makes one wonder about one's faculties....

For some more pictures of the church of Flagy, click here.

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Church Saint-Thibaud in Flagy, 12th century, 3*

For our own website click here.

The church in Flagy

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I wouldn't be seen dead there

One day I discovered on le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne that there were two churches in the capital of our canton Saint-Gengoux-le-National, one church with 3 star status dedicated to Saint-Gengoult, and another, former church with 1 / 2 star status dedicated to Saint-Gengoul.

The "new"church of Saint-Gengoux

A question was emailed to Eduard, and the answer arrived promptly. It said:

"Saint Gengoux, indeed two monuments. The first is the well known church, which has its own page on my site. The second one is unknown; there are remains of a 10th century predecessor of the other church, in the cemetery. I don't have any pictures of that one, do you know it?"

I am always in for a little treasure hunt. Saint-Gengoux is the place where we buy our wine from the pump, where we are actively involved in the Office de Tourisme, in a word, we come there quite often.

Medieval facade in Saint-Gengoux

On top of that, the town boast a nice small medieval centre, and it is unrivalled as a tong twister with our camping and gîte guests. Most people don't come much further than "Saint-Jen-Joo-mumble-mumble..." The J is pronounced as in John. Absolute champions are two regular campers; For them Saint-Joo is more than sufficient. It is quite obvious : we have a soft spot for Sen-Jean-Goo.
One day, it was dry, but there was a threat of rain, we went to Saint-Gengoux and entered the graveyard there. In the middle of it, amongst the gravestones stood a little building, which could well be a small part of a possible church. The door was locked, but I managed to take some pictures of the outside before the clouds opened.
Eduards answer came in promptly:

"Wow, that was quick! So the chapel exist, this must be it. However, I do not see any Romanesque traces on the outside, so maybe we should doubt the possibility that the church was built in the 10th century. Or would there be traces on the inside?". Talking of Unemployment Relief Works!

For all my pictures of this church, click here.

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Former chapel or church Saint-Gengoul in Saint-Gengoux-le-National, 10th (?) century, 0*
Was taken off the website, for reasons explained in a later blog (to be published).

For our own website click here. 

The choir of the original church of Saint-Gengoux

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Again : a wall with Opus Spicatum

In a book about Cluny, which I regularly consult, I had found reference to a church called Saint-Mayeul, dedicated to the 4th abbot of Cluny, the predecessor of Saint-Odilon.

The remains of the church Saint-Mayeul in Cluny

The book is called “Cluny en 200 questions/réponses”, written by Gérard Thélier, a colourful and well known inhabitant of Cluny who knows a lot about Cluny's history. The description of the church was brief : the only remaining wall of the church is visible from the road behind Tour Saint-Mayeul. Fortunately there was a photograph of the wall, so at least I knew I did not have to look for a low garden wall. The website le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne mentioned the church, but had no pictures available.
Armed with my bible, and hence with a photograph, and knowing where to find the Tour Saint-Mayeul, on a fine day I went into Cluny.

The remains of the church Saint-Mayeul in Cluny

The tower was easy to find, it was opposite Cluny's cemetery. And indeed, the church wall is clearly visible from the Chemin des Trépassés. It is part of a private residence, and when I walked around the building it also seemed that the fortified walls of old Cluny were built against the house.
For all my pictures of this former church, click here.

After my visit to the former Sainte-Marie in Bonnay I feel like I am an expert in recognising "Opus Spicatum". That must be something typically Dutch, because every Dutchman who has ever eaten shawarma or hummus will adevertise him or herself as a Middle East expert!

Opus Spicatum - Saint Mayeul in Cluny

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Former church (ruin, habitation) Saint-Mayeul in Cluny, 10th century, 0*

For our own website, click here.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A clandestine church?

I found a reference to a former church Saint-Odilon in Cluny on the website le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne, a church with one or two stars. The site distinguishes buildings with a number of stars, ranging from 6 to -combined- 1 & 2 stars. For reference : Cluny III has a 6 star rating, the bit of church wall in Bonnay has a 1 / 2 star rating.

Porte Saint-Odile in Cluny
We know Cluny quite well, but I had never heard of a Saint-Odilon church. However, we knew the Saint-Odile gate, or Porte Saint-Odile.
After consulting Eduard van Boxtel we learned that what he mentioned on his site were the remains of the choir of a small church, mentioned for the first time in 1075. The chapel is dedicated to the 5th abbot of Cluny, who died at the end of 1048 or beginning of 1049 during a visit to the priory of Souvigny (03). Saint-Odilon shares a grave there with his predecessor Saint-Mayeul.
Only after I received more information about the location of this "church" the penny dropped. The "church" was a bay of the choir, located inside a private house along the Rue du 19 Mars 1962, just outside the Gate Saint-Odile.
Did we not, long time ago, visit a private house around there, on one of the Journées du Patrimoine, which opened to the public just for those days? And were we not a bit cheesed off then, after having paid € 1 in order to have a quick look at the remains of some Romanesque columns, capitals and arches half built in a wall?

Grave of Saint-Odilon en Saint-Mayeul in Souvigny (03)

It was not so difficult to retrace our steps, even though we went there several years ago. In the meantime the gate was equipped with two signs, one saying “Site Clunisien”, the other “Saint Odilon 1064”. This was indeed the house we had seen before. The question was: how to get in this time. I walked towards the house and saw that somebody was home; I started pacing up and down, in the hope that someone might spot me. That happened quickly. The owner came outside, asked what we were doing in her garden, was happy with my explanation that we had seen the signs, that we were very interested in Romanesque churches, and that we would be very grateful if we could actually have a quick look inside the house. When she asked how we knew about this church I fibbed, telling her that we were on holiday on a quest for Romanesque churches. I must have hit the right note, because we were asked in, and I even could take some pictures, with the restriction that I would not publish them on the internet.
And funnily enough, this time it was different. We knew that we were looking at the remains of the oldest still existing church in Cluny, and that made it just that little bit more interesting than the first time we saw these remains.

Location of the former church Saint-Odilon

A promise is a promise, hence I cannot place any of the pictures I took there in this blog, other than the ones everybody can take from the public road. As compensation however this blog has pictures of the Porte Saint-Odile and of Saint-Odilon's and Saint-Mayeul's grave in Souvigny.
For those who cannot wait till the next Journées du patrimoine (early September) : the owner is a very friendly woman, and she was more than happy to show us around.
My little white lie however is still haunting me every so often. Since our second visit to her house I have bumped into her on several occasions, ducking away each time just in time. Because I would feel really stupid to be tackled for this little fib. So every time I am walking through the streets of Cluny I am ready to duck behind someone else, a tree, a pillar, just not to be seen by her!

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Former chapel (habitation) Saint-Odilon in Cluny, 11th century, 0*

For our own website, click here.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Wailing Wall

As I have mentioned before, the website "le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne" offers a big variety of data on the subject. Reading through the churches in the vicinity I stumbled upon Bonnay, a village just down the road. The site mentioned about the church : dedicated to Sainte-Marie; a former church; a building that does not rank very high when it comes to impressive architecture.
I am not a Roman Catholic, and I am certainly no expert when it comes to architecture. Despite this I think that even a lay man can see that this church cannot be much older than 150 year. And to which Saint this church could be dedicated is something I certainly could not even start to guess.

The new church in Bonnay

Eduard van Boxtel held the key to this mistery. The building of this church (the Sainte-Marie) commenced in 1881. However, before that time there had been another Sainte-Marie; the original church was demolished at the end of the 19th century. The only thing that rests was a piece of wall, with stones laid in a herringbone pattern (this is called Opus Spicatum by those in the know).
I like puzzles, but how does one find a piece of wall with a herringbone pattern? The pattern I knew from other churches, like the Saint-Laurent in Tournus, but was it hidden in the wall of a residence, or in the wall of the new church? In a word, how does one find this bit of wall?
First we asked some friends who lived near Bonnay, but without success. Next we found out that the mairie of Bonnay was open on a Tuesday morning, so that was the day to go there. Fortunately the mayor was at the mairie, and he knew where to find this wall. According to him it was a piece of garden wall at the Place de l'église, near the new church, on a little border with some shrubs. The mayor made it very clear that all resemblance with a proper church would be purely coincidental.
Anyway, we went to the Place de l'église and found a small garden wall, not even 3 feet high and a couple of yards long, in which the herringbone pattern was easily recognisable.
For all my photographs on the subject, click click here.
One thing is sure; if there are more of these hidden or lost churches around here that need to be found, we will not become bored very soon!

The remains of the old church in Bonnay

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel) :
Former church (ruin) Sainte-Marie in Bonnay, 10th century, 1*

For our own website click here.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Why not still another blog?

Quite some time ago I stumbled upon a website about Romanesque architecture in Burgundy, le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne, which is a subject I am certainly interested in. This site (in French) suggested that it was an inventory of every Romanesque church in Burgundy. Please note the word every!
My first impulse was to look up the church in our own village, Chazelle. Not being hampered by lack of patience I could not find Chazelle, at least not in the alphabetically ordered list of thumbnails of churches, hence I decided to contact the web master of this site. Mr. van Boxtel, a Dutchman running this site answered promptly; below the list of thumbnails were more lists (only text) of churches in this area, and lo and behold, Chazelle was mentioned there. I found soon out that if there was a thumbnail shown on the site, there were more pictures of the church available; was a place only mentioned in the lists there were no pictures available, at least not yet. Obviously then there were no pictures for Chazelle (now there are!).

The church of Chazelle by night
Since that first set of emails I have been in regular contact with Mr. van Boxtel, and we have found consensus with respect to how we could benefit from each other. If I have questions on the subject I can ask him, and in exchange he has by now received all the pictures I have ever taken of Romanesque churches in mainly Saône-et-Loire. So bit by bit my knowledge increases and his site becomes more and more complete. This way everybody is happy!
During our contact, which is still continuing, Mr. van Boxtel posed the question whether I was going to do "anything else" with my own pictures in the future. I had never given that any thought, apart from using some photos in an occasional blog, but his question made me think of writing a blog about the lesser known churches in the area, and mainly the ones which are mentioned on his site, but of which he does not want to (for whatever reason) publish any pictures.
And that is what the next blog posting will be about! 

Practical information (courtesy of Eduard van Boxtel)
Church Notre-Dame in Chazelle (Cormatin), 12th century, 3*

For our own website click here.