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cliquez ici pour consulter l'album photographique Chef-du-Pont
(canton of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, Manche)

Church of Sainte-Colombe-en-Cotentin

    The nave with side aisles, which was transformed in the 17th century, retains only its overall structure and its west porch from the Romanesque period. The choir, however, underwent no changes and is a fine example of rural architecture of the second quarter of the 12th century.
It is made up of two rib-vaulted bays completed by a flat east end lit by three window openings with deep voussoirs. Blind arcades, supported by small engaged columns, run around the choir walls.

The double arches, round-headed and elevated, have two orders. Their refined mouldings without decoration and the heavy ribs of the vault, are supported on composite pillars formed by clusters of small engaged columns whose capitals are of exceptional quality. Basket weave patterns, scale patterns, foliage patterns, animals confronting each other and above all interlace are executed in many ways and handled with virtuosity. There is an unusual unity of inspiration and execution.
The ribbed vaults have a form identical to those of Lessay: thick with a small torus on each edge and a wide central half-round moulding. The revolutionary vaulting of the abbey church of Lessay was applied in the second and third quarters of the 12th century to a whole group of rural churches in the Cotentin region which have nothing in common other than the still fairly clumsy application of this technique, limited in each case to the choir bays.
The south doorway to the church, called the "Porte-ès-Hommes" [‘men’s door’], with two main orders and multiple voussoirs is decorated with a range of S-hook patterns on the hood mould, and on its tympanum has a low relief representation of Samson fighting a lion. This is one of the rare examples of this type of sculpture in Normandy

Bernard Beck


- Melot, Michel. " Chef-du-Pont ", in Dictionnaire des Eglises de France, IVB Normandie, Robert Laffont, 1968
- Since, Marie-Hélène. " Chef-du-Pont ", in Art roman dans l'est du Cotentin, Art de Basse-Normandie, n° 68, 1976