| Parish Enclosure In Brittany
, An architectural particularity
Posted: 19-Dec-2004, 03:53 PM
Wanderer and Vagabond
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Wytheville, Virginia
| Hello everyone!
While looking for interesting information on Brittany tonight, I found this on churches and cathedrals. This information was found at:
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Faith graven in stone
After the destruction of the Norman invasions, from the 9th century onwards, a religious revival in Brittany brought a blossoming of abbeys and romanesque churches. From the 12th to the 15th centuries, the patronage of the dukes of Brittany (the Monforts) and their nobles encouraged the reconstruction of most of the cathedrals. Finally, between the 14th and the 18th centuries Brittany?s prosperity, the pride of the farming community and the triumph of the Catholic
faith were exemplified in the building of many churches and country chapels.
The Breton cathedrals
From the 12th century onwards, cathedrals were constructed in the nine Breton sees linked to the founding saints of Armorica (Dol, Nantes, Quimper, Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Malo, Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Tréguier and Vannes). Some of these took three, four or five centuries to complete. Which is why these edifices, all handsomely constructed, mix different styles of architecture - Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance.
Some examples :
-The cathedral of Saint-Tugdual (end of the 9th -14th - 15th century) in Tréguier (Côtes d?Armor)
-The cathedral of Saint-Corentin (13th - 15thcentury) in Quimper (Finistère)
-The cathedral of Saint-Samson 12th - 13th century) in Dol (Ile et Vilaine)
-The cathedral of Saint-Pierre-et Saint-Paul (15th century) in Nantes (Loire Atlantique)
The Tro Breiz
To honour the seven founders of Christianity in Brittany, the practice seems to have spread from the 12th century onwards of undertaking a tour of Brittany (Tro Breiz) to visit their tombs, each in its own cathedral. Saint Patern is venerated in Vannes, Saint Corentin in Quimper, Saint Pol Aurélien in Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Saint Tugdual in Tréguier, Saint Samson in Dol-de-Bretagne and Saint Malo and Saint Brieuc in the towns named after them.
During the 14th and 15th centuries many thousands of pilgrims would make this journey on foot as an act of piety and reverence once in their earthly life.
This 370-mile pilgrimage gradually lost its appeal from the 16th century onwards after the wars of religion, but it has now been updated. As a spiritual and cultural tour, it can be enjoyed by bike, on horseback, by car or coach to discover Brittany?s religious heritage.
Churches and abbeys : from the Romanesque to the present day
Romanesque religious buildings - the style that is known as ??Norman?? in Britain - are not numerous in Brittany ; most of them were replaced during the Gothic and Renaissance periods when the region was very prosperous, by other larger and more ornate edifices.
From Roman to Gothic
The nave of abbey church of Saint-Philibert-de-Grand-Lieu (Loire atlantique), characteristic of Carolingian construction
The remains of the Abbey of Landévennec (Finistère)
The temple of Lanleff (Côtes d?Armor) and the church of Sainte Croix in Quimperlé (Finistère), the only two breton edifices in a circular form, built using the Saint-Sépulcre in Jerusalem as a model.
The roman church of Saint-Pierre (9th - 13th century) in Langon (Ile-et-Vilaine) and the chapel of Saint-Agathe, reusing the ancient edifice.
The church (12th century) of Brélévenez in Lannion (Côtes d?Armor).
The church of Notre-Dame de la Joie (12th century) in Merlevenez (Morbihan)
The nave (11th century) and the Roman tower with its arcades of the old abbey church of Saint-Sauveur de Redon (Ile-et-Vilaine).
The Abbey of Beauport (Côtes d?Armor)
The church of Notre-Dame of Roscudon (14th century) in Pont-Croix (Finistère)
The choir and the transept of the old abbey church of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys (Morbihan)
The church of Notre-Dame du Kreisker (end of the 14th century) de Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère)
Flamboyant Gothic (15th - 16th century)
The church of Loc-Envel (Côtes d?Armor)
The basilica of Notre-Dame in Folgoët (Finistère)
The priory church of Saint-Ronan in Locronan (Finistère)
The church of Iffs (Il-et-Vilaine)
The church of Notre-Dame in Vitré (Ile-et-Vilaine)
The collegiate Saint-Aubin in Guérande (Loire-Atlantique)
The church of Batz-sur-Mer (Loire-Atlantique)
The chapel of Saint-Fiacre in Faouët (Morbihan)
The church of Kernascléden (Morbihan)
Renaissance (16th - 17th century)
The church of Notre-Dame in Bulat-Pesivien (Côtes d?Armor)
The basilica Notre-Dame in Guingamp (Côtes d?Armor)
The church of Notre-Dame in Saint-Thégonnec (Finistère)
The tombs of the collegiate Saint-Mairie-Madeleine in Champeaux (Ile-et-Vilaine)
The chapel of Notre-Dame in Bon Garand de Sautron (Loire-Atlantique)
The style of the engineers (18th century)
The church in Pontrieux (Côtes d?Armor)
The church of Saint-Martin in Morlaix (Finistère)
The church of Guern (Morbihan)
Church of Corp-Nuds (Ile-et-Vilaine) - Romano-Byzantine style
Church of Saint-Julien-de-Vouvantes (Loire Atlantique) - flamboyant style
Church of Saint-Nicolas (1844) de Nantes (Loire Atlantique)
Chapels by the thousand
The fervour of the Breton people expressed itself in a great burgeoning of chapels, crucifixes and wayside crosses, scattered over the landscape to stir the spirit. Many chapels may be found at the end of a lane, far from the nearest house but close by a sacred well, evidence of the Christianisation of ancient spring-worship. Now, as in former days, chapels have an important place in the life of Breton people, as the countless preservation societies bear witness.
Parish enclosures - an original expression of Breton faith
A parish enclosure consists of a walled piece of holy ground entered through a trumphal arch and enclosing three edifices- the actual church and churchyard, a cavalry and an ossuary.
The calvary, which has a form particular to this region shows Christ crucified, flanked by the Virgin and the Saint John and surrounded by scenes from the Passion. The base of the cross, decorated with a number of scenes from the life of Christ or the Virgin, may take on monumental proportions.
The finistérian calvaries of Guimiliau (more than 200 figures depicted on two levels) (1581-1588), Saint-Thégonnec (1610), Pleyben (28 episodes of the life of Christ) (1555) and of Plougonven (1554) are the most spectacular.
The calvary of Tronoën (Finistère), the oldest in Brittany (1450), is rectangular and has two levels.
The finistérian calvaries of Quilinen (1547) and of Saint-Venec (16th century), similar in style, introduce a triangular form. On the back of the statue of the crucified Christ is the resurrected Christ.
The calvary (18th - 19th century) of Pontchâteau (Loire-Atlantique) is a curiosity because of its life-size statues.
The calvary of Louisfert (Loire-Atlantique).
The calvary of Guéhenno (1550) is the only group of this type in the department of Morbihan.
Since the parish enclosures are small and space for burials restricted, the remains of the dead were regularly disinterred to make room for more. The bones were then placed in ossuaries built for the purpose. Ossuaries or reliquaries usually have a colonnaded wall. Some are self-contained, within the parish close or built against its outer wall ; others are built against the church and form part of its fabric. The detached ossuaries were sometimes used as funeral chapels.
-The ossuary of Pleyben (Finistère) is one of the most remarkable ones (1550) and in addition to that its architecture is very refined.
-The ossuary (17th century) of La Roche-Maurice (Finistère) is one of the biggest in Brittany.
-The ossuary of Plouzélambre (Côtes d?Armor)
The clergy, gentry and country folk erected thousands of stone crosses throughout the Breton landscape to Christianise the countryside and to make a show of piety. They stand beside the roads, often at a crossroads or else at the gates of a manor house. Their forms are very varied : simple, Celtic, pattee ??palis?? (a style found near Chateaubriant and la Mée). Mission crosses, erected from the 16th to 20th centuries, commemorate some event in the life of the parish.
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