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(Canton of Caudebec-en-Caux, Seine-Maritime)

Abbey of St Wandrille

    The abbey founded by saint Wandrille in 649 in the Fontenelle valley is still active and the current monks take their meals in a refectory whose construction dates from the beginning of the 11th century. In the following century, the walls were decorated with an elegant arcature whose intersecting arches descend onto small columns via capitals with a décor of flat leaf patterns.
This Romanesque refectory 33.50 m long by 9 m wide did not survive in its original state. The current roof which is a visible framework in oak dressed with a broken staff motif panelling dates from the early 16th century. But the most significant transformations were intended to let in more light into this vast Romanesque nave. During the first half of the 14th century, a radiating window was opened in the east gable wall. In 1450, eight large crown-shaped windows were let into the North wall. The windows in the south wall were modified during the 17th century.
The whole building was impressively restored between 1993 and 1997. 

Henry Decaëns


- Le plus ancien réfectoire monastique d'Occident. Saint-Wandrille, une restauration. - N° bis juillet-septembre 1998, n° spécial de Gesta, revue de l'abbaye Saint-Wandrille