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(Canton of Louviers, Eure)

Fortified Church, 11th-12thc.

    Situated in the ancient dependency of the ducal domain of Vaudreuil, the church was first mentioned in a deed of 1025, citing a donation by Richard II to the Fécamp Abbey. In 1336, it was burnt down by Roger de Tosny in retaliation for the destruction of his domain in Acquigny by Henri I Beauclerc’s troops.
The oldest part is the choir, undoubtedly from the 11th century, which was quite widely restored, in the 19th century. It terminates with a semi-circular apse and straight bays with an exterior decoration of plaster arcading. One of the openings on the southern side has a sculpted archstone where one can see a motif inspired from a sacred monogram juxtaposing Alpha and Omega. This motif is probably a poor copy of a plaster cast Merovingian sarcophagus (e.g.: look at the sarcophagi panel in Rosny-sur-Seine, moulded in the Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint-Germain-en-Laye).
The most original element of the church is its large western tower, resembling a keep. Constructed in ashlar, with enormous angled buttresses 9.20 metres square, the thickness of its walls varies from 1.20m to 2.40m. The doorway is surmounted by an arch with three layers of smooth, simple archstones. There is a corkscrew staircase in the circular turret, at the south-east angle, leading to the upper level. Concerning the upper chambers, only the first floor remains, housing the Saint-Sauveur chapel, looking onto an opening towards the interior of the nave. The ensemble seems to have been constructed, “in one go” around the beginning of the 12th century, verified by some elements of decoration at the level of the turret staircase (corbels, string courses). It seems to be a defensive tower, constructed by the monks of Fécamp during the feudal wars, which devastated this part of the lower Eure valley after 1119. Around the doorway, the exterior face of the masonry has traces of a violent fire, which could correspond to that of 1136, following an attack by Roger de Tosny on Saint-Etienne-du-Vauvray. 


- J. le Maho, “Notes de castellologie Haut-Normandie: châteaux à motte, enceintes et églises fortifiées (XI-XII)”, Autour du château médiéval, Société Historique et Archéologique de l’Orne, Mémoires et documents n° 1, 1998, p. 237-243.