Architectural Antiquities of Normandy
by John Sell Cotman
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse












An artist, engaged in the illustration of the Architectural Antiquities of England, could scarcely do otherwise than often cast a wistful look towards the opposite shores of Normandy; and such would particularly be the case, if, like Mr. Cotman, to a strong attachment to his profession and the subject, he should chance to add a residence in Norfolk. This portion of the kingdom of the East-Angles, in its language and in its customs, but especially in the remains of its ancient ecclesiastical architecture, abounds in vestiges of its Teutonic colonists. The richly ornamented door-ways of its village churches have, in particular, long been the theme of admiration among antiquaries. Bred up in the midst of these, and warmly partaking in the admiration of them, Mr. Cotman devoted his pencil and his graver to the diffusion of their fame. Common report, aided by the suffrages of the learned, and in some degree by locality, designated them as Saxon: at the same time, when they were compared with what is left in Britain, of workmanship avowedly Norman, the points of dissimilarity appeared trifling or altogether vanished. Was it then to be inferred that, between Norman and Saxon architecture, there was really no difference; and, carrying the inference one step farther, that the hordes of barbarians denominated by these different appellations, although they might not have embarked at the same port, were only cognate tribes of one common origin, if not in reality the same? The solution of the first of these questions, the only one immediately in view, seemed best to be sought in that province of France, where the Norman power had been most permanently established, and where it was therefore reasonably to be expected, that genuine productions of Norman art might, if any where, be found. With this view, Mr. Cotman crossed the channel; and the result of three successive journies, in the years 1817, 1818, and 1820, is here submitted to the public.

Those who find pleasure in inquiries of this description, will join in the regret, that an undertaking like the present was so long delayed. Incalculable had been the advantages, had it but commenced previously to the period of the French revolution. That fearful storm burst with tremendous violence upon the castles of barons, the palaces of kings, and the temples of religion. Many of the most sumptuous edifices, which had mocked the hand of time, and had been respected amidst the ravages of foreign or domestic warfare, were then swept from the face of the earth. Others, degraded, deserted, neglected, and dilapidated, are at this moment hastening fast to their decay. Yet no small portion of what is valuable has been happily left. The two royal abbeys of Caen, though shorn of much of their former grandeur, are still nearly entire. Chateau Gaillard, the pride of Richard's lion heart, and the noble castles of Arques and of Falaise, retain sufficient of their ancient magnificence, to testify what they must have been in the days of their splendor: the towns and chateaus, which were the cradles of the Harcourts, Vernons, Tancarvilles, Gurneys, Bruces, Bohuns, Grenvilles, St. Johns, and many others of the most illustrious English families, are still in existence; and, of more modern date, when the British Edwards and Henrys resumed the Norman sceptre, numerous buildings of the highest beauty are every where to be met with. In his researches after these, Mr. Cotman had the advantage of being assisted by the kindness of three of the most distinguished antiquaries of the present day, M. le Prevost, M. Rondeau, and M. de Gerville, but particularly by the last, whose friendly help has likewise extended towards the preparing of the letter-press for many of the articles from the western part of the province. It were ungrateful not to acknowledge the assistance derived from Mr. Cohen, in the same department. The value of his aid, which has been most freely contributed, can be duly appreciated by those alone who have had opportunities of judging of the accuracy and extent of his knowledge.

In the selection of subjects for engraving, attention has been principally paid to two points, excellence in the objects themselves, and certainty as to dates; but the greatest stress has been laid upon the latter. The author of a work which professes to be in any degree didactic, can never impress too strongly upon his mind the value of the Roman precept, "prodesse quam delectare;" and an artist, accustomed by his habits to the contemplation of the beautiful and the picturesque, requires above all men to be warned on this head. Many of the buildings here represented, might easily have been exchanged for others, more perfect, more elegant, or more ornamented; but it is hoped that they could not have been exchanged for those that would have been more instructive. The main object of the publication has been to exhibit a series of specimens of Norman architecture, as they actually exist in Normandy itself; and, by taking those whose dates are best defined, to enable the antiquary and the amateur of other countries, not only to know the state of this extraordinary people, as to their arts, at the epoch of their greatest glory, but also to compare what is in Normandy with what they find at home. Another volume, devoted to the illustration of the same description of architecture, in the south of France, in Italy, and in Sicily, would fill a hiatus, whose existence has long been regretted. In Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, it is to be feared that little remains; and, thanks to the spirit of English artists and to the patronage of the English public, what is in this country is already in a great measure recorded. To an Englishman, it is hoped it may be a source of venial self-congratulation, that the first publication upon Norman architecture originates in his own island: he will likewise probably not be displeased to find, that this collection of the finest remaining specimens of Norman art upon the continent, contains nothing which he cannot rival, indeed surpass, at home.

But, at the same time that the principal end proposed in this work has been to set before the public those edifices, whether sacred, military, or domestic, which were erected during the age most properly designated as Norman, the aera anterior to the union of the ducal coronet with the crown of France, it has been felt that, in whatever light the publication might be regarded, it would be incomplete without the addition of other buildings of a subsequent period. A farther number of specimens has therefore been admitted, conducting the series through the style of architecture, commonly termed Gothic, down to the time when that style finally disappeared before an Italian model, more or less debased.

In the descriptive portion of these volumes, attention has been almost exclusively directed to two points, the historical and the architectural. On the latter of these, so much has been said under each separate article, that whatever might be added in this place could be little more than repetition; and the history of Normandy, from the establishment of the dukedom to the beginning of the thirteenth century, is so interwoven with that of England, that it has been considered needless here to insert an epitome of it, as had at first been intended. In lieu of this, a Table is subjoined, exhibiting the succession, marriages and progeny of the Norman Princes, copied from Du Moulin; and such Table can scarcely be regarded otherwise than useful, as bringing the whole under the eye in a single point of view: a Chronological Index, it is hoped, may in a great measure answer the same purpose as to architecture. It is only justice, however, to add, that, in this Index, much has necessarily been left to conjecture; and, where it is so, the author naturally expects that others will occasionally differ from him in opinion; especially as no opportunity is afforded him of detailing the grounds whereby he has formed his own. Upon the subject most likely to create doubts and difficulties, the very early date assigned to the employment of the pointed arch, he begs the attention of the reader to those authorities, which, in his judgment, warrant the conclusion he has drawn. If mistaken in this, or in any other point, he will be most thankful for correction; and, in the language of that author, who is, as he long has been and probably always will be, more than any other the object of quotation, he takes leave, with the well-known valedictory lines,

"Vive, vale; si quid novisti rectius istis, Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum."


In the following list, an Obelisk is affixed to the dates which depend upon conjecture. Those preceded by an Asterisk denote the year of the dedication of the building.


53. Rouen, Crypt in the Church of St. Gervais before + 1000 13. St. Sauveur le Vicomte, Castle before + 1000 69. Lillebonne, Castle + 1000 48. Caen, Chapel in the Castle + 1000 89, 90. Falaise, Castle—Keep of + 1000 83. St. Sanson sur Rille, Church + 1020 67. Anisy, Church + 1030 68. Perriers, Church—Nave of + 1030 97. Cerisy, Abbey Church 1040 95. Mount St. Michael, Abbey Church—Nave of 1048 87, 88. St. Lo, Church of the Holy Cross—(some of the sculpture probably of the ninth century) + 1050 1. Arques, Castle + 1050 84. Foullebec, Western door-way of the Church + 1050 70. Briquebec, Castle—(the multangular tower probably of the fourteenth century) + 1050 5-10. St. Georges de Bocherville, Abbey Church 1050 92-94. Coutances, Cathedral * 1056 17. Tamerville, Church + 1060 44-46. Lery, Church + 1060 54. Rouen, Church of St. Paul + 1060 73-75. Lisieux, Church of St. Peter 1060 55, 56. Caen, Church of St. Nicholas 1066 24-33. Ditto, Abbey Church of the Holy Trinity * 1066 82. Montivilliers, Abbey Church—Towers and door-way + 1066 2, 3. Jumieges, Abbey Church * 1067 60, 61. Fontaine-le-Henri, Church + 1070 21-23. Caen, Abbey Church of St. Stephen * 1077 57. Cheux, Church + 1080 98. Oyestraham, Church + 1080 58, 59. Bieville, Church + 1080 * 33. Caen, Tombstone of Queen Matilda 1083 37. Haute Allemagne, Tower of Church + 1100 16. Than, Church + 1100 18. Caen, Tower of the Church of St. Michel de Vaucelles + 1100 12. Graville, Church 1100 99, 100. Seez, Cathedral * 1126 14. St. Sauveur le Vicomte, Abbey Church + 1130 96. Mount St. Michael, Knights' Hall 1130 39-41. Gournay, Church of St. Hildebert—Interior of the nave, and capitals of columns + 1140 20. Statue of William the Conqueror + 1150 91. Creully, Church + 1150 11. St. Georges de Bocherville, Sculpture in the Chapter House 1170 42, 43. Rouen, Chapel of the Hospital of St. Julien + 1190 80, 81. Chateau Gaillard 1195 51, 52. Rouen Cathedral, West front—Northern Tower 1200 47. Colomby, Church + 1200 68. Perriers, Church—Choir + 1230 38. Gournay, Church of St. Hildebert—West front + 1250 4. Jumieges, Entrance to the Knights' Hall + 1280 76. Rouen, Church of St. Ouen 1340 71. Fecamp, Southern entrance of the Church of St. Stephen + 1340 35. Dieppe, Church of St. Jacques—Western front—(the tower probably fifty years earlier) + 1350 72. Eu, Screen in the Church of St. Lawrence + 1360 66. Treport, Church 1370 19. Caen, South Porch of the Church of St. Michel de Vaucelles + 1380 82. Montivilliers, Abbey Church—Chapter-House 1390 36. Dieppe, Eastern end of the Church of St. Jacques + 1400 79. Louviers, South porch of the Church + 1420 85, 86. Tancarville, Castle + 1420 89, 90. Falaise, Castle—Talbot's Tower 1430 34. Dieppe, Castle + 1450 51, 52. Rouen Cathedral, Western front—Southern Tower 1485 95. Mount St. Michael, Abbey Church—Choir 1500 78. Rouen, Palace of Justice 1500 77. Ditto, Fountain of the Stone Cross 1500 68. Caen, House in the Rue St. Jean + 1500 62, 63. Fontaine-le-Henri, Chateau + 1500 49, 50. Rouen Cathedral, Southern Transept 1500 51, 52. Ditto, Western Front—Porch 1509 15. Andelys, Great House + 1530 64. Rouen, House in the Place de la Pucelle + 1540



1. Castle of Arques to face page 1 2. Abbey Church of Jumieges, West Front 2 3. — — — — Parts of the Nave 3 4. — — — — Arch on the West Front 3 5. Abbey Church of St. Georges de Bocherville, West Front 4 6. — — — — — — General View 4 7. — — — — — — West Entrance 5 8. — — — — — — South Transept 5 9. — — — — — — Sculptured Capitals 5 10. — — — — — — Ditto 6 11. — — — — — — Sculptures in the Cloisters 6 12. Church of Graville 7 13. Castle of St. Sauveur le Vicomte 8 14. Abbey Church of St. Sauveur le Vicomte 11 15. Great House at Andelys 13 16. Church of Than 16 17. Church of Tamerville 17 18. Tower of the Church of St. Michel de Vaucelles, Caen 18 19. North Porch of Ditto 18 20. Statue of William, Duke of Normandy 20 21. Abbey Church of St. Etienne, Caen, West Front 21 22. / 23. — — — — Compartments of the Nave 24 24. Abbey Church of the Holy Trinity, Caen 27 25. — — — — East End 32 26. — — — — East End of Interior 32 27. — — — — North Side of the Choir 32 28. — — — — Arches under the central Tower 33 29. — — — — East Side of South Transept 33 30. — — — — Interior of the Nave 33 31. — — — — South Side of the Nave 34 32. — — — — Crypt 34 33. — — — — Capitals 34 33.* Inscription on the Tomb of Queen Matilda 35 34. Castle of Dieppe 35 35. Church of St. Jacques, at Dieppe, West Front 38 36. — — — — East End 38 37. Tower of the Church of Haute Allemagne, near Caen 39 38. Collegiate Church of St. Hildebert, at Gournay, West Front 39 39. — — — — — — View across the Nave 41 40. — — — — — — Capitals 42 41. — — — — — — Capitals 42 42. Chapel in the Hospital of St. Julien, near Rouen, South Side 43 43. — — — — — — Interior 44 44. Church of Lery, near Pont de l'Arche, General View 45 45. — — — — — West Front 46 46. — — — — — Interior 46 47. Elevation of the Church of Colomby, near Valognes 47 48. Chapel in the Castle at Caen 48 49. Cathedral Church of Notre Dame, of Rouen, South Transept 50 50. / 51. — — — — — — West Front 51 52. / 53. Crypt in the Church of St. Gervais, at Rouen 56 54. Church of St. Paul, at Rouen, East End 57


N. PRINCE OF LOWER DENMARK. -+ GOURIN, killed in Denmark. 2nd wife, POPPEIA, ROLLO, 1st Duke = 1st wife, GISLA, daughter daughter of Berenger, = of Normandy. of Charles the Simple, Count of the Bessin. A.D. 911. King of France. + - - SPROTE, daughter of = WILLIAM, LONGA-SPATHA, GERLOC, wife to the Count of Senlis. 2nd Duke of Normandy. William, Count of A.D. 917. Poitiers. 1st wife, EMMA, daughter = RICHARD I. 3rd = 2nd wife, GONNOR, of Hugues le Grand, Duke Duke of Normandy. originally his of France. A.D. 944. concubine. - - - -+ ROBERT, MAUGER, EMMA, HAVOISE, MATILDA, Archbishop of Count of Queen of wife of wife of Rouen, Count Corbeil. England. Geoffrey, Eudes, of Evreux. Duke of Count of + -+ Brittany. Chartres. 2nd wife, = RICHARD II. called = 1st wife, JUDITH, da. PAPHIE, or THE GOOD, 4th of Geoffrey, Duke of POPPEA. Duke of Normandy. Brittany. A.D. 996. + - MAUGER, WILLIAM OF ARQUES, Archbishop Count of Talou. of Rouen. - - RICHARD III. WILLIAM, ALICE, ELEANOR, PAPIE, N. died 5th Duke of Monk at wife of wife of wife unmarried. Normandy. Fecamp. Rinaldo, Baldwin, of Guibert A.D. 1026. Count of Count of of St. Burgundy. Flanders. Vallery. NICOLAS, Abbot of St. Ouen: and two daughters, one of them married to Walter of St. Vallery, the other to the Viscount of Bayeux: all illegitimate. ROBERT, 6th = ARLETTE, Duke of daughter Normandy. of Foubert, A.D. 1028. citizen of Falaise. WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, = MATILDA, daughter 7th Duke of Normandy, of Baldwin, Count and King of England. of Flanders. A.D. 1035. - - - RICHARD, WILLIAM RUFUS, CECILIA. killed in King of England. CONSTANCE. the New ALICE. Forest. - AGATHA. N. his = ROBERT, COURT-HOSE, = SIBILLA, MISTRESS. 8th Duke of daughter Normandy. of William, A.D. 1087. Count of Conversans. RICHARD, WILLIAM, N. wife to N. da. of Marquis = WILLIAM, died from a killed in Helie de Renier, and sister Count of surfeit, in the St. Saen. to the Queen of Flanders. hunting. Crusades. France. ADELA. = STEPHEN, Count of Blois. - + WILLIAM. THEOBALD, HENRY, STEPHEN, = MATILDA of Earl of Bishop of King of Boulogne. Blois. Winchester. England. + -+ EUSTACE, 10th Duke of Normandy. A.D. 1135. + + 1st wife, = HENRY I. King = 2nd wife, MATILDA, da. of England, ADELIZA, of Malcolm, and 9th Duke daughter of King of of Normandy. the Duke of Scotland. A.D. 1107. Louvain. + - - WILLIAM ADELIN, 1st hus. = MATILDA. = 2nd hus. drowned after his HENRY V. GEOFFREY, marriage. Emperor. Count of Anjou, and 11th Duke of Normandy. A.D. 1143. - + ELEANOR, = HENRY PLANTAGENET, GEOFFREY, WILLIAM. Countess of 12th Count of Poitiers and Duke of Normandy. Nantes. Duchess of A.D. 1150: Aquitaine. Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine, and King of England. + - - WILLIAM. RICHARD COEUR- JOHN LACKLAND, King DE-LION, King of of England, 14th MARGARET, = HENRY THE England, and 13th and last Duke of of France. YOUNG, Duke of Normandy. Normandy. A.D. 1199. crowned King A.D. 1189. of England. - GEOFFREY, Count = CONSTANCE, of Brittany. daughter of Conan, Duke of Brittany. ARTHUR, Duke of Brittany, killed by his uncle John.




The town of Arques, situated in the immediate vicinity of Dieppe, is a spot consecrated by the historical muse, and one upon which a Frenchman always dwells with pleasure, as the place that fixed the sceptre in the hands of the most popular monarch of the nation, Henry IV.

The sovereign, fleeing from the superior forces of the league, here, in the very confines of his kingdom, finally resolved to make his last stand; urged to the measure by the Marshal de Biron, but doubtful in his own mind, whether it would not be the wisest as well as the safest plan, to seek refuge in the friendly ports of England. Reduced to the utmost extremity, "a king without a kingdom, a husband without a wife, and a warrior without money," he stopped at Arques, in a state bordering upon despair; and yet, when the Count de Belin, who was brought in prisoner shortly before the battle, assured his majesty, that, in two hours, an army of forty thousand men would be upon him, and that he saw no forces there to resist them, the king replied, with that gaity of mind that never forsook him, "You see not all, M. Belin, for you reckon not God, and my just claim, who fight for me."

Henry's whole army consisted of only three thousand infantry and six hundred cavalry: the hostile forces amounted to more than thirty thousand, commanded by the Duke of Mayenne, one of the ablest leaders of the league, but the Fabius rather than the Marcellus of the party. The occasion, however, needed the sword rather than the buckler: Henry's soldiers fought with the courage of desperation; but every thing seemed lost, when, according to the account given by Sully, the fog, which had been very thick all the morning, cleared suddenly away, and afforded the garrison in the castle of Arques a full view of the enemy's army, against which they discharged four pieces of artillery with such effect, as to kill great numbers of them. Their progress was thus effectually stopped; and the guns from the castle continuing to play upon them, they were soon thrown into disorder, and retreated to their original position.

From this time, the aspect of the king's affairs changed: his well-known laconic epistle to Crillon, "hang thyself, brave Crillon, for we have fought at Arques without thee," shewed his own sense of the important results that might be expected from the battle. The most important of all was, that he was immediately joined by an auxiliary force of four thousand English and Scotch, sent by Queen Elizabeth to his aid; and that, almost immediately afterwards, another, still more considerable reinforcement, was brought him by the Count of Soissons, Henry of Orleans, Duke of Longueville, D'Aumont, and Biron; so that the Duke of Mayenne was obliged to retreat in his turn, and Henry saw himself within a few days under the walls of the capital; in a situation to dictate terms to his rebellious subjects.

The castle of Arques had on this occasion essentially served the royal cause; but it seems to have been suffered from that time forwards to fall into decay. All mouldering, however, and ruined as it is, its walls and towers may yet for many centuries bid defiance to wind and weather, unless active measures are used for their demolition.

At the revolution the castle became national property, and as such was sold: it has now fallen into the hands of a lady who resides in the neighbouring town.

The present plate, which represents the principal entrance, will serve to convey some idea of the general character of the building, as well as of the immense size of the massy towers, and of the crumbling appearance of their surface. Two piers only remain of the draw-bridge, by which they were approached; and the three successive arches of the gateway are torn into little more than shapeless rents. It would be very difficult to convey, by means of any engraving, an adequate idea of the grand character of the whole ruin, or of its imposing situation. Still more difficult would be the attempt to represent its masonry. The walls have certainly been in most places, and probably in all, covered with a facing of brick, of comparatively modern date; and in some parts this facing still remains, or, where it is torn off, nothing but rubble is visible. In other places they appear to have been constructed of alternate layers of brick and flint, disposed with the same regularity as in Roman buildings; and the thin form of these bricks leads also to the impression that they are of Roman workmanship.

If such a supposition may be allowed to be well founded, the first establishment of a fortress in this situation is probably but little posterior to the Christian aera; and many antiquarians are disposed to believe that such was really the case. At the same time, even allowing the truth of this surmise in its fullest extent, it is most probable that the Roman castle had fallen into ruin and disuse long before the Norman conquest.

Both William of Jumieges and the chronicle of St. Wandrille expressly mention, that William, son to Duke Richard II. received from his nephew, the conqueror, the earldom of Arques, and built a castle there. Other writers ascribe the origin of the fortress to the eighth century, and others to the latter part of the twelfth. Nothing is now left sufficiently perfect to determine the point, nor any thing that can justly be considered decisive of the style of its architecture.

The situation of the castle is very bold: it crowns the extremity of a ridge of chalk hills of considerable height, which commencing to the west of Dieppe, and terminating at this spot, have full command of the valley below. The fosse which surrounds the walls is wide and deep. The outline of the fortress is oval, but not regularly so; and it is varied by towers of uncertain shape, placed at unequal distances. The two entrance towers, and those nearest to them to the north and south, are considerably larger than the rest. One of these larger lateral towers[1] is of a most unusual form. It appears as if the original intention of the architect had been to make it circular; but that, changing his design in the middle of his work, he had attached to it a triangular appendage, probably by way of a bastion. Three others adjoining this are square, and indeed appear to partake as much of the character of buttresses as of towers.

The castle is internally divided into two wards, the first of which, on entering, is every where rough with the remains of foundations: the inner, which is by far the largest, is approached by a square gate-house with high embattled walls, and contains towards its farther end the quadrangular keep, whose shell alone is standing. The walls of this are of great height: in their perfect state they were carefully faced with large square stones, but these are principally torn away. The crypts beneath the castle are spacious, and may still be traversed for a considerable length.


[1] See Account of a Tour in Normandy, I. p. 37, t. 3.



Before the revolution despoiled France of her monastic institutions, the right bank of the Seine, from Rouen to the British Channel, displayed an almost uninterrupted line of establishments of this nature. Within a space of little more than forty miles, were included the abbeys of St. Wandrille, Jumieges, Ducler, and St. Georges de Bocherville.

The most illustrious of these was Jumieges; it occupied a delightful situation in a peninsula, formed by the curvature of the stream, where the convent had existed from the reign of Clovis II. and had, with only a temporary interruption, caused by the invasion of the Normans, maintained, for eleven centuries, an even course of renown; celebrated alike for the beauty of its buildings, the extent of its possessions, and the number and sanctity of its inmates. Philibert, second abbot of Rebais, in the diocese of Meaux, was the founder of this monastery. He migrated hither with only a handfull of monks; but the community increased with such surprising rapidity, that in the time of Alcadrus, his immediate successor, the number was already swelled to nine hundred, and, except upon the occasion just mentioned, this amount never appears to have experienced any sensible diminution.

The monastery of Jumieges reckoned among its abbots men of the most illustrious families of France. In early times, Hugh, the grandson of Charlemagne, held the pastoral staff: it afterwards passed through the hands of Louis d'Amboise, brother to the cardinal, and of different members of the houses of Clermont, Luxembourg, d'Este, and Bourbon.

The abbatial church, as it now stands, (if indeed it does now stand, for in 1818, when drawings were made for these plates, its demolition was proceeding with rapidity,) was chiefly built in the eleventh century, by Robert the Abbot, who was translated from Jumieges to the bishopric of London, and thence to the archiepiscopal throne of Canterbury. The western front (see plate 2) is supposed to be certainly of that period, and all very nearly of the same aera, though the southern tower is known to be somewhat the most modern. The striking difference in the plan of these towers, might justly lead to the inference, that there was also a material difference in their dates, and that they were not both of them part of the original plan; but there do not appear to be any grounds for such a supposition. On the other hand, the contrary seems to be well established; and those who are best acquainted with the productions of Norman architects, will scarcely be surprised at anomalies of this nature.

The interior of the nave (plate 3) is also a work of the same period, except the lofty pillars that support the cornice, and the symbols of the evangelists that are placed near the windows of the clerestory. These were additions made towards the latter end of the seventeenth century. The pillars were rendered necessary by the bad state of the roof: the symbols were added only by way of ornament. They are of beautiful sculpture, and, as such, have lately been engraved upon a larger scale, in an Account of a Tour in Normandy, in 1818, (II. p. 27) which work also contains a general view of the ruins of Jumieges, and a representation of some ancient trefoil arches that are very remarkable.

Of the square central tower one side only is now remaining. This tower was despoiled of its spire in 1557. The Choir and Lady-Chapel are almost entirely gone. They were of pointed architecture; and it appears that they were erected during some of the latter years of the thirteenth century, or at the commencement of the fourteenth.

In the Lady-Chapel lay the heart of Agnes Sorel, who died at the neighbouring village of Mesnil, on the ninth of February, 1450, while her royal lover, Charles VII. was residing at Jumieges, intent upon the siege of Honfleur. Her body was interred in the collegiate church of Loches in Touraine. Upon her monument at Jumieges was originally placed her effigy, in the act of offering her heart to the Virgin. But this statue was destroyed by the Huguenots, who are said to have been guilty of the most culpable excesses in this monastery. Agnes' tomb remained till the revolution, when it was swept away with all the rest, and, among others, with one of great historical curiosity in the neighbouring church dedicated to St. Peter; for the convent of Jumieges contained two churches, the larger under the invocation of the Holy Virgin, and a smaller by its side, sacred to the chief of the apostles.

The tomb here alluded to was called by the name of le tombeau des Enerves, or de Gemellis; and so much importance was attached to it, that it has even been supposed that the Latin name of Jumieges, Gemeticum, was a corruption from the word gemellis. Upon the monument were figures of two young noblemen, intended, as it is said, to represent twin sons of Clovis and Bathilda, who, for sedition, were punished by being hamstrung and confined in this monastery.

The third plate of Jumieges, which is copied from a drawing by Miss Elizabeth Turner, represents a noble arch-way, the entrance to a porch that leads to a gallery adjoining the former cloisters, and known by the name of the Knight's Hall. It is a remarkably fine specimen of a very early pointed arch, still preserving all the ornaments of the semi-circular style, and displaying them in great richness and beauty. There is no authority for the date of this gallery: nor does it appear that any historical record is preserved respecting it. The style of the architecture would lead to the referring of it, without much hesitation, to the latter part of the thirteenth century.



In a work like the present, devoted expressly to the elucidation of the Architectural Antiquities of Normandy, and more particularly intended to illustrate that style of architecture which prevailed during the time when the province was governed by its own Dukes, it has appeared desirable to select one or two objects, and to exhibit them, as far as possible, in their various details.

Under this idea, the abbey church of St. Georges de Bocherville has been taken from the upper division of the province, and that of the Holy Trinity at Caen from the lower. Both of these are noble edifices; both are in nearly the same state in which they were left by the Norman architects; and both of them are buildings whose dates may be cited with positive certainty.

The abbey of St. Georges was situated upon an eminence on the right bank of the Seine, two leagues below Rouen. It owed its origin to Ralph de Tancarville, lord of the village, about the year 1050. A rage for the building and endowing of monastic establishments prevailed at that period throughout Normandy; and this nobleman, who had been the preceptor to Duke William in his youth, and was afterwards his chamberlain, unwilling to be outdone by his compeers in deeds of piety and magnificence, founded this monastery and built the church in honor of the Virgin and St. George. Both the conqueror and his queen assisted the pious labour by endowments to the convent; and Ordericus Vitalis relates how, upon the decease of the monarch, the monks of St. Gervais, at Rouen, where he died, made a solemn procession to the church of St. Georges de Bocherville, there to offer up their prayers for the soul of their departed sovereign.

At the revolution the abbatial church was fortunate enough to become parochial, and it thus escaped the ruin in which nearly the whole of the monastic buildings throughout France were at that time involved. Its previous good fortune in having been so very little exposed to injury or to alteration, is even more to be wondered at.

The general view of the church, (plate 6) for the drawing of which the author is indebted to Miss Elizabeth Turner, is calculated to convey a faithful idea of the effect of the whole. Whatever is here seen is purely Norman, except the spire; and upon the subject of spires antiquaries are far from being agreed: some regarding them as a comparatively modern invention, while others, on the contrary, believe that the use of them may be traced to a very remote period. The semi-circular east end, with a roof of high pitch, the windows separated by shallow buttresses, or by slender cylindrical pillars, and the grotesque corbel-table, are, all of them, characteristics of the early Norman style: a greater peculiarity of the present building, and one indeed that is found in but few others, lies in the small semi-circular chapels attached to the sides of the transepts.

The west front (plate 5) exhibits a deviation from the general style of the church, in the two towers with which it is flanked. The shape of the arches in these plainly indicates a later aera; but they are early instances of pointed architecture. The grand entrance is displayed upon a larger scale in the seventh plate. The ornaments to this door-way are rich and varied, and there are but few finer portals in Normandy. But in specimens of this description the duchy is far from being able to bear a comparison with England. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to assign a satisfactory reason for this circumstance; and yet the fact is so obvious, that it cannot fail to have occurred to every one who has paid any attention to the architecture of the two countries.

In the interior of the church there is scarcely an architectural anomaly to be discovered. The only alterations are those which were rendered necessary by the injuries done to the building in the religious wars, during the sixteenth century; and the repairs on that occasion extended only to a portion of the roof, and of the upper part of the wall on the south side of the nave. As a satisfactory specimen of the character of the whole of the inside, the south transept has been selected for the subject of the eighth plate. In this, however, as well as in the opposite one, there is a peculiarity which requires to be noticed; that, within the church, at the distance of a few feet from the end wall, is placed a column, from which an arch springs on either side, occupying the whole width of the transept, and thus forming an open screen. The screen terminates, above, in a plain flat wall, which is carried to but a very short distance higher than the arches, so as to be nearly on a line with the triforium. The same arrangement exists also in some other churches in Normandy; as in that of the royal abbey of St. Stephen at Caen, in the abbey church at Cerisy, in the abbey church at Fecamp, and in the cathedral at Seez. In the two last mentioned buildings, it is found connected with the pointed architecture. At Cerisy, a church, erected A.D. 1030, by Robert, father to the Conqueror, the screen is surmounted by a row of seventeen semi-circular arches, which rise to about half the height of the columns of the triforium, and form an elegant parapet. It is possible that there may have been originally some decoration of the same kind at St. Georges. At Fecamp, the screen is carried up to the roof by three tiers, each consisting of three arches; and the recess thus made, is still used as a chapel, having an altar at the east end, and, in the centre, an ancient font. Such may have been originally the case at St. Georges; and thus we may account for the small semi-circular additions to the transepts, one of which is visible in the general view of the church. Mr. Cotman, however, suggests another idea, which may have entered into the mind of the architect of St. Georges; that, by means of this screen at the end of the transepts, the aisles of the nave would receive apparent length; from the columns, which form the screen, ranging in a line with those of the outer walls of the church. Among our English ecclesiastical buildings, there are similar screens in the transepts of Winchester cathedral[2], where the portion of the church that remains in its original state, greatly resembles, in its architecture, the church of St. Georges de Bocherville, and is known to have been erected at nearly the same date[3].

Within the spandrils of the arches, just mentioned, are two highly curious bas-reliefs, figured here in the tenth plate, and marked A and B. They are on square tablets, cut out of the solid stone, in the same manner as the blocks of a stone engraving; the rims being left elevated, so as to form rude frames. One of them represents a prelate, who holds a crozier in his left hand, while the first two fingers of the right are elevated in the action of giving the blessing. Below him are two small heads; but it would be as difficult to conjecture what they are intended to typify, or why they are placed there, as it would be to state the meaning of the artist, in having represented the whole of his vestment as composed of parallel diagonal lines. In the opposite bas-relief, are seen two knights on horseback, in the act of jousting; as rude a piece of sculpture, especially with respect to the size and form of the steeds, as can well be imagined; and yet it possesses a degree of spirit, worthy of a better age. The shields of the riders are oblong; their tilting spears pointless; their conical helmets terminate in a nasal below, like the figures in the Bayeux tapestry. "This coincidence," as has been observed elsewhere[4], "is interesting, as deciding a point of some moment towards establishing the antiquity of that celebrated relic, by setting it beyond a doubt, that such helmets were used anterior to the conquest; for it is certain, that these basso-relievos are coeval with the building that contains them."

The nave of the church of St. Georges is, in its height, divided into three compartments: the lowest consists of a row of square, massy piers, varied only by a few small columns attached to their angles, and connected by wide arches, which are generally without any other ornament than plain fluted mouldings; the second compartment, or triforium, is composed of a uniform series of small arches, broken, at intervals, by the truncated columns; which, supporting the groinings of the roof above, terminate abruptly below, nearly upon a level with the capitals of the lowest arches; in the clerestory, the arches are also simple and unornamented; their size nearly intermediate between those of the first and second tiers. It is almost needless to mention, that, in a perfect building, of such a date, the whole of the arches are semi-circular. The same is equally the case in the choir; but this part of the edifice is considerably richer in its architectural decorations; and the noble arch, which separates it from the nave, is surrounded with a broad band of the embattled moulding, inclosing two others of the chevron moulding. A string-course, of unusual size, formed of what is called the cable ornament, goes round the whole interior of the building.

The general effect of the semi-circular east end, shews a striking resemblance between the church of St. Georges and Norwich cathedral; and those who take pleasure in researches of this description, will do well to trace the points of similarity through other parts of the edifices. The two kingdoms can scarcely boast more noble, or more perfect buildings, of the Norman style; and there is the farther advantage, that the difference between the periods of their respective erection is but small. Our English cathedral rose in the early part of the reign of William Rufus, when his follower, Herbert de Losinga, who, not content with having purchased the bishopric for L1900, bought also the abbacy of Winchester for his father, for L1000, was cited before the Pope for this double act of simony, and, with difficulty, retained his mitre, upon the condition of building sundry churches and monasteries. Norwich has, indeed, a superiority in its tower, in regard to which, it may safely be put in competition with any edifice of the same style, in Normandy or in England. For beauty, richness, variety, and purity of ornament, there is nothing like it. On the other hand, Norwich has undergone various alterations, as well in its interior, as its exterior[5], and it has no decoration of the same description comparable with the capitals in the church of St. Georges. These are so curious, that it has been thought right to devote to them the ninth and tenth plates of this work[6]. The capitals near the west end of the church, are comparatively simple: they become considerably more elaborate on advancing towards the choir; and it is most interesting to observe in them, how the Norman architects appear, in some instances, to have been intent upon copying the Roman model, or even adding to it a luxury of ornament, which it never knew, yet still preserving a classical feeling and a style of beauty, of which the proudest ages of architecture need not be ashamed; while, in other cases, the rudeness of the design and execution is such, that it can scarcely be conceived, but that they were executed by a barbarous people, just emerged from their hyperborean woods, and equally strangers to the cultivation of art, and the finer feelings of humanity. And yet, even in some of those of the latter description, attentive observation may lead to traces of classical fables, or representations of the holy mysteries of Christianity. Thus, one of the capitals[7] seems designed to portray the good Shepherd and the Lamb; another[8] appears to allude to the battle between the followers of AEneas and the Harpies. It would not, perhaps, be going too far, to say, that many of the others have reference to the northern mythology, and some of them, probably, to Scandinavian history.

In the chapter-house, which stands between the church and the monastic buildings, the capitals are decidedly historical, and exhibit an apparent connection very unusual in similar cases. The eleventh plate contains some of these[9]. Another, and of the greatest curiosity, now lost, has been etched in Mr. Turner's Tour in Normandy, from a drawing by M. Langlois, a very able and indefatigable artist of Rouen. It represents a series of royal minstrels, playing upon different musical instruments. This part of the building is known to have been erected towards the close of the twelfth century, and is consequently an hundred years posterior to the church. It is now extremely dilapidated, and employed as a mill. The capitals here figured, are taken from three arches that formed the western front. The sculpture in the upper line, and in a portion of the second, most probably refers to some of the legends of Norman story: the remainder seems intended to represent the miraculous passage of Jordan and the capture of Jericho, by the Israelites, under the command of Joshua. The detached moulding on the same plate, is copied from the archivolt of one of these arches: the style of its ornament is altogether peculiar. To the pillars that support the same arches, are attached whole-length figures, in high relief, of less than the natural size. Two of them represent females; the third, a man; and one of the former has her hair disposed in long braided tresses, that reach on either side to a girdle. All of them hold labels with inscriptions, which fall down to their feet in front. The braided locks, and the general style of sculpture, shew a resemblance between these statues and those on the portals of the churches of St. Denys and Chartres, as well as those which stood formerly at the entrance of St. Germain des Pres, at Paris, all which are figured by Montfaucon, in his Monumens de la Monarchie Francaise, and by him referred to the sovereigns of the Merovingian dynasty; but have been believed, by subsequent writers, to be the productions of the eleventh or twelfth century, an opinion which the statues at St. Georges may be considered to confirm.


[2] See Britton's Winchester Cathedral, ground plan and plate 12.

[3] Milner's Winchester, I. p. 194.—Other authors, I am well aware, and those of great weight, have said much with regard to the Saxon work at Winchester; but, though I have examined the building itself, and the various publications respecting it, with some care, I confess I have met with no portion that did not appear to me to be truly Norman.

[4] Turner's Tour in Normandy, II. p. 10.

[5] The complete uniformity of style throughout the church of St. Georges, joined to the absence of all screens or other objects whatever, that might intercept the sight from west to east, produces an effect, not only grand, but altogether deceptive. It is impossible not to admit the superior judgment of the French, in thus keeping their religious edifices free from incumbrances; it is scarcely possible, too, not to feel persuaded, that the Norman church is larger than the English, though their respective dimensions are in reality as follows:


Length of nave 200 feet 135 feet ———— choir 183 92 ———— transepts 180 102 Width of the nave with aisles 70 64-1/2

[6] In the former of these plates, the capitals, marked Nos. 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12, are taken from the exterior of the east end; Nos. 2, 6, and 7, from the nave; and Nos. 3, 4, and 11, from the door-way. In the latter plate, the exterior of the east end has supplied Nos. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10; the nave, Nos. 4 and 9; and the door-way, No. 5.

[7] Plate 10, No. 8.

[8] Plate 10, No. 5.

[9] It may be well to remark, that this plate contains five capitals, the extent of each of which may be distinguished by the small crosses above.




The church of Graville, like that of St. Georges de Bocherville, though now parochial, was, before the revolution, monastic, being attached to the priory of the same name, beautifully situated on an eminence near the mouth of the Seine, at the distance of half a league from Havre de Grace. The origin of this monastery is referred, in the Neustria Pia[10], to about the year 1100; but nothing is known with certainty respecting it till 1203, when Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, confirmed, by his approbation, the foundation of regular canons established here by William Malet, lord of the village, which is called in the Latin of those times, Girardi Villa, or Geraldi Villa. The modern name of Graville is supposed to be an abbreviation of these. The canons thus fixed here, had been brought from St. Barbe in Auge, and were endowed by the founder with all the lands he possessed in Normandy and England. By subsequent deeds, one of them dated as late as the end of the fifteenth century, different members of the same family continued their donations to the priory. The last mentioned was Louis Malet, admiral of France, whose name is also to be found among the benefactors to Rouen cathedral, as having given a great bell of six hundred and sixty-six pounds weight, which, previously to the revolution, hung in the central tower.

William Malet, the founder of Graville, was one of the Norman chieftains who fought under the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings[11]; and he is said to have been selected by his prince, on that occasion, to take charge of the body of Harold, and see it decently interred. Writers, however, are not agreed upon this point: Knighton, on the authority of Giraldus Cambrensis, asserts that, though Harold fell in the battle, he was not slain; but, escaping, retired to a cell near St. John's church, in Chester, and died there an anchoret, as was owned by himself in his last confession, when he lay dying; in memory whereof, they shewed his tomb when Knighton wrote. Rapin, on the other hand, in his History of England observes, that an ancient manuscript in the Cottonian library, relates, "that the king's body was hard to be known, by reason of its being covered with wounds; but that, it was at last discovered by one who had been his mistress, by means of certain private marks, known only to herself; whereupon the duke sent the body to his mother without ransom, though she is said to have offered him its weight in gold." Nearly the same story is told in the Gesta Gulielmi Ductis[12], written by William, archdeacon of Lisieux, a contemporary author. Ordericus Vitalis[13] mentions William Malet two years afterwards, as commanding the Conqueror's forces in York, when besieged by the Danes and a large body of confederates, under the command of Edgar Atheling and other chieftains; and we find that his son, Robert, received from the same king, the honor of Eye, in Suffolk, together with two hundred and twenty-one lordships in the same county; and many others in Hampshire, Essex, Lincoln, Nottingham, and York. This Robert held the office of great chamberlain of England, in the beginning of the reign of Henry I; but, only in the second year of it, he attached himself to the cause of Robert Curthose, for which he was disinherited and banished. With him appears to have ended the greatness of the family, in England.

The church of Graville was dedicated to St. Honorina, a virgin martyr, whose relics were preserved there in the times anterior to the Norman invasion; but were then transported to Conflans upon the Marne. Peter de Natalibus, copious as he is in his Hagiology, has no notice of Honorina, whose influence was nevertheless most extraordinary in releasing prisoners from fetters; and whose altars were accordingly hung round with an abundance of chains and instruments of torture. The author of the Neustria Pia, who attests many of her miracles of this description, relates, that her sanctity extended even to the horse which she rode, insomuch, that, when the body of the beast was thrown, after its death, as carrion to the dogs, they all refused to touch it; and the monks, in commemoration of the miracle, employed the skin for a covering to the church door, where it remained till the middle of the seventeenth century.

Except towards the west end, which is in ruins, and has quite lost the portal and towers that flanked it, the church of Graville still continues tolerably entire: in its style and general outline, but particularly in its central tower and spire, it bears a considerable resemblance to that of St. Georges de Bocherville. Architecturally regarded, however, it is very inferior to that noble edifice; but the end of the north transept, selected for the subject of the present plate, will, in point of interest, scarcely yield to any other building in Normandy. The row of sculptures immediately above the windows, is probably unique: among them is the Sagittary, very distinctly portrayed; and near him, an animal, probably designed for a horse, whose tail ends in a decided fleur-de-lys, while he holds in his mouth what appears intended to represent another. The figure of the Sagittary is also repeated upon one of the capitals of the nave, which are altogether of the same style of art, as the most barbarous at St. Georges, and not less fanciful. The interlaced arches, with flat surfaces, that inclose the windows immediately beneath the sculptures, may be matched by similar rows in the exterior of the abbey church of St. Stephen, at Caen, and on the end of the north transept of Norwich cathedral. It appears likewise, from Mr. Carter's work on Early English Architecture, (plate 23) that others, resembling them, line the lowest story of the east end of Tickencote church, in Rutlandshire. This circumstance is the rather mentioned here, as that able antiquary regards the church as a specimen of true Saxon architecture; whereas it may safely be affirmed, that there is no part of it, as figured by him, but may be exactly paralleled from Normandy. The same may also be said of almost every individual instance that he has produced as illustrations of the style in use among our Saxon progenitors. In Graville, a series of similar arches is continued along the west side of the north transept; and, judging from the general appearance of the church, it may be believed that it is of a prior date to any of the others just mentioned.

A considerable portion of the monastic buildings is still remaining; but they are comparatively modern.—A lithographic plate of this monastery was published at Paris, by Bourgeois, in 1818.


[10] P. 861.

[11] Bankes' Extinct Peerage, I. p. 126.

[12] Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni, p. 204.

[13] Ibid. p. 512.



The origin of the castle, here figured, is coeval with the establishment of the Normans, in the province which now bears their name. The inventory of the ancient barony of St. Sauveur, shews that, in 912, the year when Charles the Simple ceded Normandy to Rollo, the new duke granted this great lordship, under the common obligations of feudal tenure, to Richard, one of the principal chieftains who had attended him from Norway. In 913, Richard founded in his castle a chapel, which, in the following year, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, by Herbert, Bishop of Coutances. Many of the descendants of Richard bore the name of Neel; and it was upon the first of those so called, that Duke William Longue Epee conferred the title of viscount, about the year 938. In 998, Richard, the second of that name, established in his castle of St. Sauveur, with the sanction of Hugh, Bishop of Coutances, a collegiate church, consisting of four prebends. At the beginning of the reign of William the Conqueror, Neel de St. Sauveur took up arms against the disputed title of that sovereign, in consequence of which, his lands were confiscated, and he himself compelled to seek an asylum in Brittany. This is supposed to have happened in 1047; but the anger of the offended duke was short-lived; for the very next year, there is an account of William's restoring to Neel the lordship of St. Sauveur, "in consideration of the services he had rendered him." The same lenity, however, was not shewn with regard to Neel's lordship of Nehou; for this was permanently alienated, and was granted to the family of Riviers, or Redvers, who, some years afterwards, became powerful in England, where they had a grant of the Isle of Wight, in fee, and were created, by Henry I. Earls of Devonshire. The collegiate church, founded in the castle of St. Sauveur during the preceding century, was suppressed in 1048, on account of some umbrage taken by the chieftain at the conduct of the canons; and he established, in their room, a convent of Benedictines, whose successors, removing without the precincts of the fortress, erected the abbey, the subject of the following plate.

The name of St. Sauveur is to be found in the list of officers who accompanied the Conqueror to England; and the records of those times also preserve the remembrance of one Neel, who was slain at Cardiff, in 1078. The troops, however, of the Cotentin, were at the conquest, commanded by Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother to the duke, who, most probably, was indebted to this near degree of relationship for so proud a mark of distinction. The family of Neel did not retain much longer possession of St. Sauveur: the lord of the castle died in 1092, leaving only a daughter, named Laetitia, who married Jourdain Taisson, or Tesson, and brought to him these possessions as her dowry. After the expiration of about a century, a similar event deprived the Taissons of St. Sauveur. Jane, the last of that family, formed an alliance with the Harcourts, and with them the lordship remained till the middle of the fourteenth century, when the domains of Geoffroy d'Harcourt were confiscated for felony, and the castle would have passed into the hands of a new master, had not the successes of our sovereign, Edward III. interfered, and stopped the effects of the confiscation.

History, from this time forward, speaks more decidedly as to the strength of the fortress: at the time of the battle of Poitiers, Geoffroy d'Harcourt maintained himself here, at the head of a numerous garrison, composed of troops from England and Navarre, and, not only bade defiance to the superior force of the French generals, but extended his ravages over the whole of Lower Normandy. The abbey of Lessay, and cathedral of Coutances, particularly suffered from his attacks. To the latter, he had actually laid siege, when a detachment sent against him, by the regent and the states of the kingdom, obliged him to turn his attention homeward; and his forces were defeated, and himself slain. The castle, on this occasion, afforded safe shelter to the fugitives; and, in consequence of Harcourt's death, passing into the hands of the King of England, was, by him, supplied with a garrison of four hundred men, under the command of Jehan Lisle, and was almost immediately afterwards bestowed, by Edward, upon Sir John Chandos, as a reward for his eminent services. The fortifications, under the care of this able captain, underwent a thorough repair in the year 1360; and it is believed that, upon this occasion, the keep was principally, if not altogether, rebuilt; the same broad square tower, which is now standing, and is the principal feature in the ruins. The labor thus bestowed upon St. Sauveur, rendered it one of the principal posts of the duchy. Rymer, by whom it is repeatedly mentioned, expressly states, that our countrymen maintained in it a numerous garrison, who, after the battle of Auray, lorded it without restraint over the neighboring parts, and were guilty of such excesses, that, in 1374, Charles V. then King of France, was induced to send against them a powerful armament, both by sea and land, under Sir John of Vienne, admiral of the kingdom, assisted by all the barons and knights of Brittany and Normandy. St. Sauveur was, at that time, in the hands of Sir Aleyne Boxhull, to whom Edward had given it, after the death of Sir John Chandos; but he, himself, was then in England; and, according to Froissart[15], he had left there as governor a squire, called Carenton, or Katrington, with Sir Thomas Cornet, John de Burgh, and the three brothers Maulevriers, with whom there might be about six score companions, all armed, and ready for defence. This handful of men made a long and obstinate resistance, which, at length, terminated in a truce for six weeks, accompanied with a stipulation, that, unless previously relieved, the fortress should be surrendered upon a certain day of July, 1375. The time came; no relief arrived; and the French took possession of St. Sauveur; though not without many remonstrances on the part of the besieged, who contended, that the treaty of Bruges, which had been signed in the interim by the two sovereigns, and had established a general truce, ought also to have the effect of superseding all partial treaties.

Mention is made, upon this occasion, of a considerable sum of money, which was to be paid to the garrison, upon their evacuating the castle. The fact, though unnoticed by Froissart and Holinshed, could not but have been notorious; for it appears, that John of Vienne assembled the three states of the province at Bayeux, for the purpose of raising the money; and Rymer tells us, that the papal legates were appointed by the respective parties, as depositaries, both of the money and the castle, till all the stipulations should be fulfilled. In this circumstance, we find an explanation of the death of Katrington, on which Holinshed dwells at considerable length, giving a most curious and interesting account of the circumstances attending it[16]. Sir John Anneslie, who had married the niece of Sir John Chandos, and, on that account, claimed the inheritance of St. Sauveur, with the lands appertaining to the castle, charged Katrington with treason, in the matter of the surrender; and, after considerable difficulties, prevailed upon King Richard II in the third year of his reign, to suffer the point to be established by single combat. The event of the contest was considered to make good the charge. According to Holinshed, Katrington, who was a very strong man, while his adversary was much the contrary, was so grievously wounded in the fight, that he died the following day. Dugdale and Fabian, however, state, that he was dragged to Tyburn, and there hanged for his treason.

The King of France, upon recovering possession of St. Sauveur, conferred the lordship upon Bureau de la Riviere, his chamberlain: from him, it passed, in 1392, into the hands of John Charles, Lord of Evry, who still held it in 1417, when our King Henry once more brought it under the sway of the English sceptre. During the succeeding unfortunate reign, this castle shared, in 1450, the fate of all the other British possessions in Normandy; and, like most of the rest, it offered but a feeble resistance to the victorious arms of France. A few days' siege was sufficient to induce its garrison, of two hundred men, to surrender, what the contemporary historians admit to have been one of the finest and strongest places in the duchy. St. Sauveur, from this time, is no longer celebrated in history, as a fortress; nor, indeed, does it even appear to be mentioned as such, except in the Memoirs of Marshal de Matignon, where a demand is stated to have been made for thirty men to garrison it. In all probability, the change produced in the art of warfare, by the introduction of cannon, caused it silently to pass into insignificance, and then gradually to sink into its present wretched state of dilapidation. Towards the close of the seventeenth century, an hospital was established within its walls; and the same still subsists, but in great poverty, in consequence of the funds having been alienated, or lost, during the revolution.

Of the ancient fortifications of the castle, the greater part exists, either entire, or sufficiently so to be traced. The most important of all, the keep, is perfect in its exterior, but has been so completely gutted within, that the original situation of the floors and beams is not to be discovered without difficulty. The two ballia likewise remain: the larger, which defended the keep; the lesser, in the form of a crescent, designed to oppose the approach of an enemy on the side of the town. Towards the north, the small river, the Ouve, formed a natural defence. On the south, are still to be seen two gates, of which, that leading to the dungeon was considerably the stronger. It was defended by the works, commonly employed from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, for the protection of the entrances to fortresses; and, under it, there yet remain, on either side, freestone seats, designed for the guard, capable of containing from fifteen to twenty persons. The rest of the outworks, which were many, have now disappeared; but people are still living in the town, who remember to have seen the fosses filled with water. At present they are obliterated; and their site is occupied by houses and gardens.

The following is a list of the lords of St. Sauveur, from the year 1450, to the revolution.—Charles VII. when first he wrested the castle from the English, conferred it, together with its extensive domain, upon Andrew de Villequier, and his heirs male; and it remained in this family till 1536, when, from default of such heirs, it reverted to the crown, and was kept in the hands of Francis I. and his successors, till 1572. At that time Charles IX. granted it to Christopher de Bassompierre, from whom it passed to Francis de Bassompierre, Marshal of France. In 1612, it again returned to the throne, then filled by Mary of Medicis, widow of Henry IV. whose son, Louis XIII. alienated it in 1620, to John Phelipeaux de Villesavey, and he held it till 1631. After him, the families of De la Guiche and Geran were, for thirty-eight years, possessors of St. Sauveur. At the expiration of this term, the lordship became once more incorporated in the royal domain, till Louis XIV. in 1698, conferred it upon his natural son, the Count of Toulouse, whose son, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duc de Penthievre, succeeded to it, by inheritance, in 1727. He shortly after gave it, in part of her portion, to his daughter, who married Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orleans, Duc de Chartres; and it thenceforward continued in the possession of the Orleans family, till the period of the revolution.


[14] The author has to express his acknowledgments, and he begs to do it in the strongest terms, to the kindness of M. de Gerville of Valognes, for very many communications towards the furtherance of this work; but particularly for those relating to the church and abbey of St. Sauveur le Vicomte, which have been so copious, that little has been necessary, but to translate them into English.

[15] Johnes' Translation, octavo edit. IV. p. 268.

[16] Quarto edit. II. p. 726.




The remains of the abbey of St. Sauveur le Vicomte, are situated within a very short distance of the castle of the same name, in the department of La Manche, near the western extremity of Normandy, about eighteen miles south of Valognes, and fifty north of Coutances. The addition of the term Vicomte, to the appellation of this domain, may have been owing to a two-fold cause;—to denote the importance of its possessor, and to distinguish the monastery from other religious establishments in the duchy, also dedicated to the Holy Savior, especially from the nunnery of St. Sauveur, at Evreux.

It has been necessary, under the preceding article, briefly to allude to the establishment of this convent, which took its rise from the collegiate church, founded in the year 998, in the castle of St. Sauveur, by Richard Neel, the second viscount; a foundation, which, only fifty years afterwards, was suppressed, and replaced by a society of Benedictines from Jumieges. Changes of this description were by no means unfrequent in those unsettled times: indeed, regarding the character of the chieftains and the clergy, it is rather matter of surprise, that they did not occur more commonly; and greater astonishment may be entertained at the Viscount of St. Sauveur having suffered a body of men, naturally imperious, and necessarily guided by interests different from his own, to remain about a century under his roof, than to find him afterwards removing them to the spot which they subsequently continued to occupy. The original charter, granted by Neel to the monks from Jumieges, is preserved among the documents in the Gallia Christiana. His brother, Roger, is said to have superintended the erection of the new monastery, in which pious task, he was assisted by Laetitia, his niece, sole heiress of Neel, and now married to Jourdain Taisson, who had, in her right, become lord of St. Sauveur. This Jourdain, with his wife, and their three sons, was present at the dedication of the church; so that the building of it may safely be referred to the early part of the twelfth century. M. de Gerville, upon the authority of the Memoirs of the Harcourt Family, states, that some of these latter also assisted in the construction; and yet he is unwilling to admit that any portion of it was erected in the following century, when the Harcourts became possessed of the domain. He contends, that "the whole style of the building indicates a period approaching the year 1100; at which time the struggle existed between the pointed and the semi-circular architecture." Setting aside the long-contested question concerning the date of the introduction of the pointed arch, I cannot help, for my own part, suspecting, that the Lady-Chapel was a subsequent erection, and, probably, of the aera of the Harcourts. Its narrow trefoil-headed windows above, and the plainer ones below, seem decisively to indicate such a period; and the deep buttresses afford another, not less positive, mark. The lower part of this portion of the church, exhibits an architectural peculiarity deserving of notice: the wall is considerably widest, where it unites with the ground; after which, it gradually decreases in size, by successive tiers, for a few feet upwards, and then it rises perpendicularly.

What remains of the western portal, is of the earlier style. It was entered by a semi-circular arch, bordered by a fillet of the nail-head moulding. In the nave, the lower arches, with the columns and their capitals, as well as the false row of arches in the triforium, are wholly Norman; while the windows of the clerestory and their accompanying ornaments, are as completely gothic. The transepts and the choir shew a similar medley.

The Harcourts, who held St. Sauveur till the middle of the fourteenth century, bestowed much pains upon the preservation of the abbey; but the last of this noble family was scarcely dead, when the convent was exposed to all the calamities of war. It was repeatedly pillaged by the contending parties, and was finally almost destroyed by the orders of King Edward III. who foreseeing, from the unfortunate complexion of affairs, that the French would be likely soon to besiege the castle, was desirous at least to deprive them of the advantage they might derive from having possession of the monastery. The heterogeneous character of the architecture of the church, is attributable to the injuries received on this occasion, and to those inflicted during the wars in the following century. The lower portion of the building, most probably, remained for a considerable length of time in the same ruined and neglected state in which it had been left after the execution of the orders of Edward III.; the clerestory and arches above, were not added till the return of a tranquil aera.

Indeed, it is matter of historical notoriety, that the finances of the monastery were, at this period, in the same state of dilapidation as the walls; insomuch, that Thomas du Bigard, who was elected abbot in 1376, and held the post for fourteen years, lay all that time under a papal interdict for the non-payment of his annats; nor did his successor, Denis Loquet, venture to accept the crozier, till he had made a journey to Avignon, and obtained, from Clement VII. the remission of what was due, as well on the election of his predecessor, as on his own. In 1422, the official of Valognes was charged by the three states of Normandy, assembled at Vernon, with the consent of the Duke of Bedford, to make inquiry into the losses sustained by the abbey. His report upon the subject is a curious historical document, little known, and, unfortunately, nearly twenty feet long. M. de Gerville has kindly supplied the following extracts from it. "Sylvester de la Cervelle, Yvon de Galles, and Bertrand de Glesquin, were, with the admiral, John de Vienne, in command of the army, at the siege of the castle of St. Sauveur, A.D. 1375.—The English had, previously to the siege, destroyed the abbey and the adjacent buildings, lest their enemies should establish themselves there, and annoy them.—The monks of St. Sauveur had, at first, taken refuge in the abbey of the Vow, near Cherbourg, and afterwards in Jersey, where the convent had some property: certain among them had also retired to foreign monasteries, there to seek a subsistence, which their own could no longer afford them.—At their return, the abbot and the clergy found their buildings destroyed; and, at the period of the inquisition, notwithstanding all their efforts and the money they could raise, they were still obliged to celebrate divine service in the refectory.—The monks and abbot, who had sought shelter at Jersey, had been obliged to quit that retreat, because the King of England put their property there under sequestration.—Those who returned first to the monastery, built themselves sheds against a wall, and there made a fire to dress, their victuals, while, for lodging-places, they had recourse to some vaults that were still left.—So great was their poverty, that it is stated by one of the witnesses, in his deposition, that they had not wherewithal to buy peciam mutonis vel aliarum carnium.—Another deposes that, during the siege, the French fired with such violence at one of the towers, that it was destroyed, fueruntque combustae novae campanae, quarum una habebat octo buccellos ad mensuram Sti. Salvatoris."

After the final expulsion of the English, John Caillot, who was appointed abbot in 1451, "rebuilt," to use the words of the Gallia Christiana, the monastery destroyed by our countrymen; and the credit must be given him of having endeavoured to make his additions in a style conformable to the original. But the difference in the workmanship is obvious to the eye; and various ornaments have been added, inconsistent with the simplicity of early times.

The length of the church was about two hundred French feet.—A list of forty-three abbots is given in the Gallia Christiana;[17] and, from the time of the publication of that work, till the breaking out of the revolution, there were two others, of whom M. de Nicolai was the last.


[17] XI. p. 923.



About forty miles, in a south-westerly direction from Rouen, upon the right bank of the Seine, and on the western frontiers of the ancient duchy of Normandy, stands the town of Great Andelys, so called, not by reason of its own positive magnitude, but to distinguish it from a village of the same name, situated in its immediate vicinity.

In early times, few places could boast to a greater degree than Andelys, "the odor of sanctity." It was indebted for its celebrity, and, probably also, for its existence, to a nunnery, founded here by St. Clotilda, which, in the seventh century, the time of the venerable Bede, enjoyed the highest reputation. But its fame was short-lived: it fell during the incursions of the Normans, and, unlike most others, seems to have possessed none of the phoenix-power of reviviscence. In its place, arose afterwards, a collegiate church, which M. de Harlay, Archbishop of Rouen, by a formal act, dated 1634, honored with the title of first collegiate church of the diocese. The distinction, thus obtained, was due not only to its antiquity, but to the unusual number of its ecclesiastics, particularly those who composed its chapter.

Though St. Clotilda's convent, however, was destroyed, the inhabitants of Andelys continued to enjoy her especial protection. The church was under her invocation; but her favor was more eminently vouchsafed to an ancient chapel and an adjacent fountain, both of which bore her name. The latter was, from the earliest times, celebrated for its miraculous qualities in the cure of various disorders; and it continues to be so to the present day. St. Clotilda, at the period of the erection of the monastery, turned its waters into wine, for the benefit of the fainting workmen. The clergy of Andelys, in commemoration of the miracle, used annually, before the revolution, upon the return of her festival, to pour large pitchers of wine into the spring. During the revolutionary fervor, St. Clotilda, together with the rest of the Romish hierarchy, lost her credit in France. She is now rapidly recovering it: miracles are again wrought at her shrine; and, in all probability, the time is not far distant, when the belief will be as strong, the processions as splendid, the throng of votaries as great, and the cures as certain, as ever. It is only to be hoped, that the good sense and the superior morality of the age, may prevent the recurrence of those indecent and scandalous scenes, which, we are told by eye-witnesses, were formerly too often practised on the occasion. Human nature must be strangely altered, before the mind of man will cease to prefer the surfeit of superstition, to the wholesome diet of sound religion: no one, but a fool or a rogue, would ever advise it to have recourse to the starvation of infidelity.

At the close of the eleventh century, Andelys appears with some historical notoriety, in the well-known exchange made between Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Walter, Archbishop of Rouen; when the king, desirous, as he states, to prevent the incursions of the enemy into his duchy, purchased of the prelate the town and manor of Andelys, by the cession of the towns of Dieppe, Bouteilles and Louviers, together with the forest of Aliermont, and the mills of Rouen. The bargain was a hard one; but the erection of Chateau Gaillard, in the immediate vicinity of Andelys, proved the correctness of the monarch's views. A subsequent treaty,[18] executed in the year 1200, between King John and the same archbishop, confirmed the exchange.

In modern times, Andelys has been celebrated on no other account, than as the birth-place of Poussin and Adrian Turnebus, and as the burial-place of Corneille.

The Great House at Andelys, the subject of the plate, existed in 1818, as it is here represented, shorn, indeed, of much of its ancient splendor, reduced from the residence of a nobleman to a granary, and most probably curtailed of full two-thirds of its size, as retaining apparently little more than that portion of the square which fronted the court-yard, together with a small part of one of its wings. It can now (in 1821) only be spoken of as a building that did exist: last year saw it levelled with the ground. The following description of it is transcribed from Mr. Turner's Tour in Normandy:[19] "Andelys possesses a valuable specimen of ancient domestic architecture. The Great House is a most sumptuous mansion, evidently of the age of Francis I.; but I could gain no account of its former occupants or history. I must again borrow from my friend's vocabulary, and say, that it is built in the 'Burgundian style.' In its general outline and character, it resembles the house in the Place de la Pucelle, at Rouen. Its walls, indeed, are not covered with the same profusion of sculpture: yet, perhaps, its simplicity is accompanied by greater elegance.—The windows are disposed in three divisions, formed by slender buttresses, which run up to the roof. They are square-headed, and divided by a mullion and transom.—The portal is in the centre: it is formed by a Tudor arch, enriched with deep mouldings, and surmounted by a lofty ogee, ending with a crocketed pinnacle, which transfixes the cornice immediately above, as well as in the sill of the window, and then unites with the mullion of the latter.—The roof takes a very high pitch.—A figured cornice, upon which it rests, is boldly sculptured with foliage.—The chimneys are ornamented by angular buttresses.—All these portions of the building assimilate more or less to our Gothic architecture of the sixteenth century; but a most magnificent oriel window, which fills the whole of the space between the centre and the left-hand divisions, is a specimen of pointed architecture in its best and purest style. The arches are lofty and acute. Each angle is formed by a double buttress, and the tabernacles affixed to these are filled with statues. The basement of the oriel, which projects from the flat wall of the house, after the fashion of a bartizan, is divided into compartments, studded with medallions, and intermixed with tracery of great variety and beauty. On either side of the bay, there are flying buttresses of elaborate sculpture, spreading along the wall.—As, comparatively speaking, good models of ancient domestic architecture are very rare, I would particularly recommend this at Andelys to the notice of every architect, whom chance may conduct to Normandy.—This building, like too many others of the same class in our own counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, is degraded from its station. The great house is used merely as a granary, though, by a very small expense, it might be put into habitable repair. The stone retains its clear and polished surface; and the massy timbers are undecayed.—The inside corresponds with the exterior, in decorations and grandeur: the chimney pieces are large and elaborate, and there is abundance of sculpture on the ceilings and other parts which admit of ornament."


[18] Copies of both these instruments are preserved in the Gallia Christiana, XI. Inst. pp. 27 and 30.

[19] II. p. 55.—In a note to this passage, Mr. Turner states an intention, on the part of Mr. Cotman, to devote a second plate to this building, for the purpose of doing more justice to the beauty and elaborate decorations of the oriel window; and it is very much to be desired that such should be the case; but it is feared that the number and importance of other subjects, will prevent the intention from being realized.




The small village of Than lies about ten miles distant from Caen, in a north-easterly direction, in a valley washed by the diminutive stream, the Meu, a little to the north of the road which leads to Bayeux. Of its "short and simple annals," few have come to the knowledge of the writer of this article; and for those few, he is wholly indebted to the kindness of M. de Gerville, who, last year, discovered at Mortain the book containing the charters of the abbey of Savigny, many of which make mention of the church of Than. The following is an extract from the most important among them: the deed itself is without a date, but is clearly of the time of Henry I. Its being anterior to 1135, is distinctly proved by the title of Earl of Mortain, which it gives to Stephen of Blois.—"In nomine Ste et individue trinitatis, notum sit universis tam presentibus quam futuris, qd. ego Guillelmus de Sto Claro, concedente Hamone fratre meo et cis, dono et concedo in perpetuam elimosinam ecclie Ste trinitatis de Savigneio et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus totam possessionem de Thaun, quam ego et antecessores mei, sive in terra dominica sive in hominibus sive in quibuslibet aliis rebus, unquam habuimus omnino quietam, ab omni consuetudine absolutam, perpetuo jure ab eadem ecclesia possidendam. Predictam autem donacionem concessit et ab omnib. consuetudinibus absolutam confirmavit Stephanus Comes Moritonii, ad cujus feodum predicta possessio pertinet, &c."—In addition to the information contained in the above charter, there is only to be added, that Cardinal Le Moine, when dean of Bayeux, at the close of the thirteenth century, founded here a chapel, dedicated to St. John; and that a lord of Than was among the companions of the Conqueror in his descent upon England.

The church has been selected by Mr. Cotman as a specimen of a religious edifice in the true Norman style, unaltered, and also uninjured, except by the loss of the southern aisle; and the removal of this is so far fortunate, as it affords an opportunity of shewing the form and disposition of the columns and arches of the nave, seen, as they are, in the lower part of the left-hand side of the plate, imbedded in the modern wall, which now constitutes the exterior of the building. Subjects like this, however necessary for a work expressly devoted to architectural antiquities, obviously afford no room for picturesque beauty, or for an attempt, on the part of the artist, to produce what is called effect. Horace's line is altogether applicable to them, that

"Ornari res ipsa negat, contenta doceri."

The great hope to be entertained is, that they may be rendered intelligible; and this, it is trusted, will be effected by means of the following references; though the multitude of parts that it seemed necessary to introduce, may have given rise to an appearance of confusion, which the author could only have avoided, by subjecting his subscribers to the expense of an additional plate.

* * * * *

A.A.A. Elevation of the tower, nave, and chancel.

The roof of the tower is of stone; and the angles are faced with slender cylindrical columns, as in the part below, terminating, in both instances, in little hooks, beneath which, the pillars are banded to the part adjoining. This kind of termination, or, as it might almost be denominated, decoration, is in itself remarkable, and perhaps unique; but it is rendered considerably more interesting, if regarded as the probable origin of the crocket, one of the most distinguished ornaments in the decorated style of pointed architecture. The date of the introduction of the crocket, and the source whence it sprung, have been the subject of many inquiries among antiquaries: neither Mr Cotman, nor the writer of these remarks, recollects to have seen any other approach to it in Norman buildings; though the towers of many churches in Lower Normandy are capped with stone roofs of similar form, and of undoubted antiquity. Such, in particular, are those of Haute Allemagne, of Basse Allemagne, and of St. Michel de Vaucelles, at Caen: such also is the roof at the east end of the church of St. Nicholas, in the same town; and, in the three last-mentioned specimens, the angles are edged with the same small pillars by way of moulding.

It is farther to be observed of this church, that the windows of the tower are simple, bold, and, for the elegance of their proportions, scarcely to be surpassed by those of any other Norman building; that the capitals of the pillars throughout the church are destitute of sculpture; and that the walls of the clerestory are altogether without buttresses. This last peculiarity is likewise observable in the nave of the church at Tollevast, an edifice of the plainest and earliest architecture. At Than, the clerestory is externally decorated with twenty-nine arches, of which every sixth (reckoning from the westward,) is narrower than the rest, and is pierced with a window. The surface of the blank ones is cut into squares, which are alternately depressed. On the corbels are not only represented grotesque heads, but some of the simplest heraldic charges, as the chief, chief indented, pale, bend, bendlets undy, fess, saltier, crosses of various kinds, chevron, &c. Such ordinaries occasionally occur in similar situations on other Norman religious edifices, but only on the most ancient. They are to be seen at Tollevast, Martinvast, the church of St. Croix at St. Lo, St. Matthieu, and Octeville. At St. Matthieu, they are found in conjunction with other sculptures, fit only for a temple dedicated to Priapus; and at Octeville, with what is probably the earliest representation of the Lord's Supper, that is known to exist from the hand of a Norman artist.

B. Elevation of the west front.

The lower part of the door-way is considerably sunk in the ground.

C. Elevation of the east end.

The irregularity of the architecture of this part of the building requires to be noticed. In the two lower compartments, the southern portion is left quite plain, while the northern is decorated with a double tier of arches, very much resembling those which still exist in the outer wall of the chancel, and which, most probably, were originally continued along the wall of the nave that is now destroyed. The broad shallow buttress which divides the east end into two parts, is not placed in the centre. Here, and indeed throughout the building, each small arch is hewn out of a single block of stone. One of the upper ones in this front, is surmounted with a broad square band, made in the imitation of a drip-stone, composed of quatrefoils, of a form not known to exist in Norman architecture, though of common occurrence in the succeeding style.

D. Portion of the clerestory in the nave.

E. Portion of the clerestory in the chancel.

F. Capital and part of the arch of the western door-way.

G.G.G. String-mouldings.



This church is situated at the distance of half a league from the town of Valognes, near the road which leads to Barfleur and La Hougue.

The whole building is ancient, with the exception of the western portal and a chapel to the north of the choir. Its general style of architecture, the columns which support the tower, the buttresses, the corbels, and the small windows of the nave, especially those fronting the north, are all indicative of a production of the early days of Norman rule, and, probably, of the period immediately preceding the descent upon England. This period of comparative peace and tranquillity was a time, when, to use the language of two nearly contemporary historians, "the noblemen of Normandy emulated each other in erecting churches upon their domains: they thus filled their continental territory; and they shortly afterwards did the same in England."

The steeple represented in the plate is in excellent preservation: it is of beautiful proportions; and, to an architect, is peculiarly interesting for the cylindrical buttress, which runs nearly to the top of the first story on the southern side, and is probably the only instance of the kind known to exist.[20] To an English antiquary, however, it may be allowed to have a claim to greater interest, on account of its general shape and proportions. In these respects it forcibly recalls the round-towered churches of Norfolk and Suffolk, most of them surmounted by octagonal lanterns. Two of the churches of the former county, those at Toft-Monks, and at Bokenham,[21] preserve the octagonal shape down to the ground; but, in both instances, it is in conjunction with early pointed architecture; and the church of Tamerville, it is feared, would not be of itself sufficient, as being an insulated specimen, to justify the assigning of a Norman origin to those just mentioned. No churches with round towers have yet come under the author's knowledge in Normandy; and yet they might certainly have been expected in the duchy, if there be any truth in the tradition which ascribes those in England to the Danes. On the other hand, supposing such report to be altogether void of foundation, it seems quite unaccountable that not one of them probably exists, which does not retain some traces of Norman architecture.

In early times, the barons of this great province seldom, if ever, used a family name. Like the chieftains of the Scottish clans of our own days, they generally adopted for their surname, that of their parish or fief. The fief or manor of Tamerville had, from before the conquest, borne the appellation of Cyfrevast, or Sifrevast, (Sifredi Vassum;) and down to the period of the revolution, the possessors of that fief were patrons of the advowson of the parochial church. One of them, and, probably, the very one who built the church now standing, followed the Conqueror into England, and obtained from him considerable grants in Oxfordshire and in Dorsetshire. In the latter county, the family continued long to flourish. Hutchins states, that the branch of them, established at More-Crichel, bore for their arms, argent, three bars gemels azure; and he quotes the epitaph of one of them, who died in 1581, from which the following is an extract:—

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse