Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Visit to Cellefrouin, Part 2

I always like to get a photo of the village sign!!

 This sign doesn't warn one that there is a steep climb from this point, which is down on the "high street", up a track to the lanterne in the cemetery, higher up the valley. The road loops round between the two points, so it was lucky we were driving!

I have written before about Lanterne des Morts HERE

 This lanterne, as the direction sign says, was built in the 12th century. An oil lamp at the base of the spire was lit at night to encourage travellers to come and pray for the dead. It's all in good shape after so many years; it's not really leaning - blame the photographer!

Back in the main street, here we are at St Nicholas's church, an historic monument since 1907.  A lot of restoration work is now being done  and the church leaders are asking for donations towards the cost of €200,000! With only 500 residents in the village, much of the money to be raised will have to come from outside benefactors.

The church was founded as the abbey of St Peter about 1025 by Arnaud de Villebre, the bishop of Perigueux (a town in the Dordogne some 100 kilometres away - big diocese!). At this time, the it was likely to have been of wood. A stone building was commenced about 1060 and, so the scholars believe, completed about 1100-1120, to become one of the most important churches in the region. German Wikipedia tells me that it was spared damage in the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) due to its remote location but was attacked and damaged by the Protestants in the Wars of Religion (1562-98). Once peace was restored, the building was rebuilt and re-dedicated to Saint Nicholas in the 16th or 17th century. You have 700 or so years of history there in a nutshell!!

Signs of earlier archways and alterations on this elevation, next to the road.

  The west entrance, framed by a Gothic portal from the 15th century.  Frost and age have nibbled at the stone of the front doorway and one hopes that it will be fully restored. (A start has been made on the column at lower left in the photo).


The building's stonework is quite complex for such a small church, with its 3 naves and vaulted roofs.The main nave is above, but those pews look uncomfortable!



Two photos above - Unusual little features in the wall plasterwork. Good workmanship!




The baptisal font, I guess, all carved from one big block!


P.S. I also have a daily photo dairy, sometimes interesting sometimes very boring!  http://photodiarydps.blogspot.fr/ 




 
See also - My Life Before Charente Updated 06/12/12

65 comments:

  1. I love to see the old churches. The architecture is so magnificent. Too often, we find the doors locked. That is very sad. Great photos.

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    1. Susan the old churches are very special and thankfully most are being restored. It is sad to find churches closed and it does happen often. I find though that the churches here are open far more that in the UK where there seems to be more vandals, Very sad. Keep well you two Diane

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  2. I love the interiors of the churches here, so simple, but so beautiful and I love being within these spaces. It is a shame that the most churches are locked up now, both here and in the UK. Years ago I would go into a church when the world was being a grey place for me, and I would always come back out with my batteries recharged, but that was in the days when such places were respected and not looked upon as a places to rob or injure. Nice photos as always.

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    1. Vera the architecture in the old churches here is amazing. I find most of our local churches I can go into which I certainly could not in the UK. There are some of the smaller ones though that appear to be closed a lot of the time though. I would guess that there is not a permanent priest at these, and so unless someone living close by has the keys they would be closed. Keep well and have a good weekend. Diane

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  3. I have been looking forward to part two of my virtual visit to Cellefrouin and I was not disappointed. Thanks for the virtual tour Diane.

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    1. Linda glad that you enjoyed this tour, my thoughts were definitely that I had saved the best to last :-) Keep warm and dry. Diane

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  4. Beautiful old church. There is so much history in these churches.

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    1. Horst sometimes it is very difficult to track down all the history of these old buildings and it is even more difficult when you do find it in French or German as we did here. Take care. Diane

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  5. what a wonderful tour! thank you so much!

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  6. I like your photos and old churches and am glad this one is getting some needed work done. I hope they raise the money needed to complete the restoration.

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    1. Terra it is really good that restoration is being done and that there is activity to raise money for further work. Stay well Diane

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  7. I take photos of the signs so I can remember where I was. They could have put those people on the sign walking up hill. ;)

    This stonework is mind boggling and to think it has stood the test of time so long. Sure glad there's some restoration being done. And looks like the church is still in service.

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    1. Gaelyn, yes it is good practise to take photos of the signs when travelling. When getting home with several hundred photos it is not easy to remember what is what! I will go and draw a sloping line under those people so it looks like a hill, good idea:-)
      Yes the church is very much in use and I guess it will remain so through all the restoration, they will work so it can be so. Diane

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  8. A nice little village but I bet it gets cold in that church in winter. But you are going south - Casablanca for Christmas! That I would enjoy. I went to Marrakesh once right after Christmas but there was snow in the mountains close by. Enjoy yourself and thanks for coming to my blog.

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    1. Vagabonde many of the churches here have heating in them, but I have to admit to not noticing any on this one, if not, yes I bet it is cold especially as it is in a valley close to a river!

      I am hoping that we will have some warm sun though I don't mind looking at snow in the distance:-) Keep well Diane

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  9. the church is really impressive and seems to be preserved as it exactly was!
    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

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    1. Ola they seem to work hard at preserving churches as they were here. Lots of work is being done all over the place. Have a good weekend Diane

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  10. A wonderful tour of an interesting village, as you know so well how to show us with great photos!
    The Lantern is exquisite!
    Cheers Diane!

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    1. Thanks Noushka for your kind comment. I am fascinated by the Lanterne des Morts, I have seen 3 now all totally different. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  11. What a treasure! I find the French churches to be very interesting -- not least because the condition is so varied. Sometimes I've been in a church I expected to be well looked after, only discover it very sadly neglected -- a prominent church in St. Cirq Lapopie comes particularly to mind as it is a very prominent feature from a long distance away. When we visited it there were holes in the roof and pigeons flying around! On the other hand, the church in our local village, which is 12th century -- is in the process of being renovated. Since the village is not particularly well known and doesn't seem to have many people attending it surprised me. I guess that symbolically the church is important to the local people.

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    1. The Broad the whole village is a treasure, so much to see in such a small place. I seldom see churches that are completely neglected. Most are have restoration of some kind, though I agree some are very much in need of help but there is not always the money available. It is an expensive job! Have a wonderful weekend Diane

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  12. What a lovely spot. It always amazes me about the history of a town..sometimes, I wish the walls could speak..and I guess in a way they do.
    Thanks for the visit to a beautiful little town..xoCarolyn

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    1. Carolyn you are so right if only walls could talk. Our house is 200 years old and we know little about it other than it was originally 3 homes. Glad that you enjoyed this trip. Have a good weekend Diane

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  13. I always love it when you explore your surrounding areas & share with us. Awesome photos!

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    1. Thanks Pam it is good to know that you enjoy these tours. Have a good weekend Diane

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  14. What a lovely church. I agree with Rosebud. If only the walls could speak. I have back pain and all I could think of when I saw those benches was "oh my." I guess it's crazy to ask, but does any one ever bring a pillow?

    Have a great weekend.
    Sam

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    1. Sam I so often see the elderly here walking around with pillows, and sometimes the not so elderly as well. Take care Diane

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  15. I love these out of the way French villages. They are so incredibly rich with history and are quite charming.

    As always, thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

    Velva

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    1. Velva it amazes me just how much history is attached to even the smallest of villages here and to think I hated history at school!! Have a good weekend Diane

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    1. Sonia thanks for comment and visit. Have a good weekend Diane

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  17. Really, really lovely Diane, always I enjoy your pictures especially like these but I love the church, the gotic style and all, reallu nice, thanks by sharing, take care xo

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    1. Gloria thanks for the visit and the kind comment. I am more than happy than you have enjoyed this post. Take care Diane

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  18. Just stopping by in a hurry Diane. Thank you for your message of sympathy.
    anni

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    1. This is Belgium, thanks for stopping by I know that you have many other things on your mind at present. Take it easy Diane

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  19. I just love your wee French villages. Always picturesque. That church is quite stunning isn't it?
    Have a great weekend. :)

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    1. Ellie I love them as well they ooze so much character and history it just amazes me. Hope all well with you Diane

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  20. Hi Diane .. it's just lovely to see the French countryside, villages and towns - love your tours .. one day I shall get back to France for a visit .. and me too - I'd rather drive up the hill. What an incredible monument .. while the church is extraordinary too ... I'm so pleased they're being looked after - slowly but surely ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary I am sure that one day you will be back in France again, it is really not that far :-) It is great to see the renovation going on in the large buildings, but sad to see the small farm houses falling apart. The young people here cannot afford to renovate, so there are small new houses going up like mushrooms all over the place, meanwhile the old places quietly fall down. Very sad Keep well Diane

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  21. Its so beautiful, I've always loved your photography and your walk-through tours. Makes me want to visit so much more!

    Hope you have a great day! ^^

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    1. Bou Shin I am very happy that you enjoy these walks, it makes me enjoy them all the more when I know that my followers appreciate them as well.Take care Diane

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  22. La France reste un beau pays avec toute son histoire et ses différents styles.
    See soon.

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    1. Nadji, Il ya beaucoup d'histoire en France. J'aime à découvrir. Bonne semaine. Diane

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  23. I always love reading about your walks. I think you have already put together a great collection of churches and wonderful architecture.

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    1. Olga there are so many beautiful little villages in France and each has an historic church. Occasionally it is difficult to find any history but generally there is always something to be tracked down. It is fun doing the research. Take care Diane

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  24. Its amazing these structures last through wars and earthquakes and the elements and time. We just don;t have things like this where I live. Thanks for sharing with us. I needed this excursion.

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  25. De belles photos qui relatent magnifiquement l'histoire de cette église qui a traversé le temps.Souhaitons que l'on trouve l'argent pour la maintenir en état encore quelques centaines d'années!
    Bonne semaine à vous!

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    1. Lucie, C'est vraiment une belle église, il sera beau quand il est rétabli. Je suis sûr que les gens vont ramasser l'argent. Bonne journée. Diane

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  26. Great travelogue again, Diane! The church is amazing with all the arches and beautiful stone work. Thanks for the tour, my friend!

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    1. Pam I am glad you enjoy these posts as we enjoy writing them. Take care Diane

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  27. Really charming, but so hard to look after all these old places, it is the same in Italy, everywhere you turn there is a treasure that need restoring.

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    1. Alessandra I think most of Europe has the same problem. So much history but so expensive to keep it in its original state. Stay well Diane

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  28. Excelente reportagem de belo Património....
    Cumprimentos

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    1. Fernando, Obrigado, eu aprecio o seu comentário. Bom dia. Diane

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  29. Some very nice photos of what looks like a lovely area. That restoration cost is a lot for 500 people to manage. Hopefully they will get some good outside help.

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    1. Joyful I am sure that they will get outside help, but it will be hard work getting it all I am sure. It will be good in few years time to see it in all its new found glory. Keep well Diane

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  30. What a great place to visit! Charming.

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    1. Freda it is one of the loveliest little villages close by, I am amazed it has taken us so long to track it down. Keep well Diane

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  31. Wow, that church is magnificent, how fun to discover such fascinating history!

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    1. The Café Sucré Farine it is a gorgeous church and it will interesting to keep an eye on and see how long the renovations take. Keep well Diane

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  32. I hope the village will be able to raise funds for the restoration. It has always amazed me how these churches were built in the first place with such small populations...how could they raise the money needed for construction.

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    1. backroadjournal I am sure that the funds will be raised eventually but it may take time. As you say how does such a small community raise the money at the beginning. Keep well Diane

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  33. It is hard to imagine that a building could be so old. I hope the restoration is successful. It will be a living museum. Do people use the church now?

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    1. diane B yes the church is in use, I would presume that the restoration will go on around normal use as it will probably take years to restore. I know our local church which is a lot smaller took a couple of years at least. Keep well Diane

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