Saturday, 22 November 2014

It is finished

It must have been in July 2012 when I tried to get in touch with Eduard van Boxtel about his site “Bourgogne Romane”.

Orangerie - Cluny
Ever since that day a steady stream of emails went up and down between Chazelle and Rotterdam at first, Amsterdam later, with questions, answers, remarks, but mainly with pictures of Romanesque buildings in (for the biggest part) Saône-et-Loire. It started off with transferring pictures which I had in stock for possible future use on our own website. After I started studying van Boxtel’s website in greater detail I came across a number of buildings I did not know yet, but which seemed worth a visit.

Former church, now habitat - Ciergues
This soon lead to an interesting day out looking for a specific church, a quest for remains of Romanesque houses in Cluny, a long and tiring search for former churches almost unrecognisable due to renovations into a habitat, several expeditions in search of a chapel which was mentioned somewhere, but which could not be traced on any map (nor in real life after inquiring with the locals, I might add).
In the meantime, after having gotten the hang of it, I started to plot out all churches mentioned on “Bourgogne Romane” in Google Maps, which gave me even more inspiration for even more search actions…

Romanesque churches in 71
In short, the contact I built up with van Boxtel kept me until a few weeks ago off the streets (as it did van Boxtel, because he meticulously studied the pictures I sent him and put them on his site when appropriate), and it gave me and my better half, despite a bit of aggravation every so often with local authorities who did not want to play ball, two years of pleasure and satisfaction. But all good things come to an end, and even though a very small number of items on “Bourgogne Romane” still has not been solved by us (due to a combination of not interesting enough, not findable, too far away, and/or not accessible), I dare say that Romanesque Saône-et-Loire has been almost completely covered by us on the map as well as in real life with pictures.

That's all that rests in 71, folks...
That does not mean that there is nothing more to be visited; revisits sometimes bring unexpected surprises, but the big bulk of work has been done. A comparison between the number of 6, 5, 4 and 3-star churches which are covered with a separate page by van Boxtel in Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d’Or, Nièvre en Yonne speaks volumes. I really do like statistics, and that results in the following percentages (the percentage of churches with a link to one of van Boxtel's web pages related to the number of churches on his overall list):

Saône-et-Loire : 68% (281 of 411 churches) Bourgogne Romane resp. Google Maps.

Côte d’Or : 25% (76 of 306 churches) Bourgogne Romane resp. Google Maps.

Yonne : 21% (49 of 228 churches) Bourgogne Romane resp. Google Maps.

Nièvre : 16% (30 of 185 churches) Bourgogne Romane resp. Google Maps.

The 68% for S&L is rather conservative. In the category 1 or 2 star churches van Boxtel possesses pictures of the majority of those churches, but this material has not (yet) been translated into a web page. When I consider all placenames of which I am sure van Boxtel has pictures, the percentage all of a sudden goes up to 97% (400 of 411 churches).

Somewhere here lies a motte féodale - Loisy
How many churches in Saône-et-Loire already had their own web page before I started my contributions I cannot (unfortunately) retrieve. A cautious estimate is between 25 and 50%.
This however does not mean the end of this blog; during my trips I have stumbled upon sufficient interesting material to keep me going for a while. Hence: will be continued!

Revisit : capitals - Saint-Bonnet-de-Cray
The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A church just across the border

Even though the churches in Saône-et-Loire have the highest priority on my list, the interesting churches of course do not stop exactly at the border of our department.

Van Boxtel once gave me a list with churches located just across Burgundy’s border, for example some churches in Ain (01), just on the other side (on the left bank) of the Saône.

When we had an appointment to visit the church of Saint-Romain-des-Îles, it was not really much of a detour to pop by Illiat, a church which had been rated by van Boxtel as being worth 3 stars. That turned out to be an excellent guess, and certainly worth while the detour.
Apse - Illiat
The church was open (a pleasant surprise!), and despite of the rather boring exterior the interior was certainly worth its 3 stars. Again van Boxtel’s star rating turned out to be accurate.
After we had had a good look around the church, it was time to drive to Saint-Romain, where a very friendly elderly lady, the sexton, was already waiting for us. She had already opened all doors and lit all lights. This also turned out to be an interesting church once inside.

There were some remains of old frescoes in the sacristy, the nave had some arcades with interesting arcades with beautiful capitals, and the apse boasted a rather crude Christ en Gloire, with equally crude biblical figures and scenes painted underneath it in apse and choir. The brochure we received from the sexton did not mention those paintings at all, and to me they looked like they were made by a local not so talented artist in the 20-ies of the last century.
And with the visit of these two churches all Romanesque churches South of Mâcon have been visited and photographed!

Interior - Saint-Romain-des-Îles
More Romanesque churches galore can be found in the immediate vicitiy of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.