Saturday, 28 May 2016

The church and the priory of Chenôves

Saint-Blaise - Chenôves
Quite some years ago I have been looking for the possible remains of a priory in Chenôves. The church of Chenôves I knew already, although we had never seen the interior, but where this priory might be (if it existed at all) stayed a mystery. Recently it was time for one of the regular inventories of still outstanding items with van Boxtel, who came up with the following suggestion.

The church seen from the parvis
Resting against the west façade of the church a slightly higher building could be seen, and this could possibly be a part of the priory.
The problem with the Saint-Blaise is its accessibility, from one (south) side only. The parvis, if this bit of garden deserves that name is quite small, and further the church is enclosed by private buildings and farms. If one wants to catch a glimpse of the west or north side of the church, one has to either make a walk through the vineyards, or creep underneath barbed wire and wade through the man-size grass of a meadow.

South facade of the possible priory from the parvis
And even then the distances from which the church is visible are great, whilst part of the church is obscured by trees and shrubs anyway.
One beautiful morning, coinciding with the opening hours of the mairie of Chenôves, we drove towards that village. Having learnt from experience we did not approach the mairie first, but tested the church door instead.

North facade of the possible priory from the meadow
And yes, lo and behold, the church door (the south portal) was open. Unfortunately the door on the north side was still locked, the neighbouring houses showed no sign of life and all the gates to the property were closed. The trip through the vineyards and defying the barbed wire and the high grass was not granted by the discovery of a glorious priory.

Church interior
Fortunately we found an arch inside the church with on each side of the arch a wall panel with a fishbone pattern (opus spicatum). Hence the trip to Chenôves had not been completely in vain!
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