Saint-Mary is a municipality in the north-east of the Charente located 5 km west of Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure. The village of St. Mary is located in a deep valley, through which runs the river Marillac, a tributary of the Bonnieure. I know it is a deep valley, as my legs complain when I cycle through it!!
The office of the Maire (the Mayor - who runs the commune or local district)
The Bibliotheque (library)
I presumed that this was one of the old gateways from the village up to the Chateau of St. Mary. I need to explore further, as there must be a larger entrance on the other side.
The Chateau St.Mary.
The parish of St. Mary had a certain importance during the middle ages, gained not least from the strategic position of the chateau; it was called a fortress - fortalicium - in 1274, but probably built earlier and it was sited to monitor and defend the pass through the Bonnieure Valley. There is a lot of history written about St. Mary and the chateau, but my French is is not good enough to translate it correctly. For those who have no problem with French I suggest taking a look at Wikipedia
The church of St. Mary is an ancient priory that depended on the Abbey of Our Lady of Nanteuil, but the date of its founding cannot be precisely fixed . This church is remarkable for the purity of its architectural style (according to my research!!).
The main road through the town is the D27, a two lane modest but scenic country road from Chasseneuil to Mansle. It runs along the right bank of the Bonnieure, passing a cave at Artenac, a hamlet adjacent St. Mary. St. Mary has been occupied by man since time immemorial and in 1995-1996, two fragmentary humanoid skull bones were uncovered during excavations in the cave. The two bones are relatively fragmentary, but sufficient detail has been preserved, including the shape of the forehead, to establish their identity as Neanderthals.
The Marillac river
These two were keeping a careful watch on me while I walked around taking photographs; they probably thought I was a bit odd ;-)
Having looked briefly around the village and looked up some of the history, which unfortunately for me is all written in French, I feel I must return to try to find out a bit more. It may be better to go there on a weekday when the library is open, to see if I can find some less complicated information that is easier for me to translate!
N.B. Google seems to be playing tricks on me again and only a few of these photos will enlarge. I have not found out the answer to this - some enlarge perfectly but others.......
To all my followers and fellow bloggers, I wish you all the very best for the forthcoming holiday season and I hope there is a message below for most if not all who celebrate ......
Nginifisela inhlanhla ne mpumelelo e nyakeni
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
Buone Feste Natalizie
God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar
Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Kung Ho Hsin Hsi. Ching Chi Shen Tan
Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Sawadee Pee Mai
Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova