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(canton of Saint-Lô, Manche)

Collegiate church of St Gilles

    From the outside, the collegiate church of St Gilles expresses a sense of order, regularity, and verticality (through the repetition of its buttresses and long straight lancet windows). This is a very refined gothic architecture of the 13th century. Only the tower adds a note of substance and robustness, as it is the only remnant of the Romanesque church (mid 12th century). Its north and south faces are pierced by a trio of high round-headed openings and at the top there is an elegant corbel table referred to as ‘of the Beauvaisis region’.
St Gilles, a hermit and Benedictine monk, whose miraculous history was recorded in the 10th century, was one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages, and was the subject of a major pilgrimage to Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, the starting point for one of the roads to Compostella (via Tolosana). In Normandy, the saint, who is always shown with the doe (the "bęte Saint-Gires") that he had saved from the hunters' arrows, was the protector of children and calmed their nocturnal fears.

Bernard Beck


- Thibout, Gabrielle. " Saint-Gilles ", in Dictionnaire des Eglises de France, IVB Normandie, Robert Laffont, 1968