|Saint-Martin de Boscherville
(canton of Duclair, Seine-Maritime)
Saint-Georges Collegiate Church
The collegiate church was founded near the end of the 1050s by Raoul, William the Bastards great chamberlain of Tancarville family stock. Following the example of a number of secular chapters in Normandy the existence of this establishment was rather short-lived. The canons were chased off to be replaced by a community of Benedictine monks and all the buildings, including the church, were replaced.
An important archaeological campaign that took place between 1978 and 1993 discovered the vestiges of the collegiate church under the cloister and the abbeys conventual buildings. Constructed in the wing of the former chapel, which itself had been built on a ancient Gallo-Roman temple, the church had a narrow nave without an aisle, a transept with an apse on each of its arms and a large rectangular choir. A bell tower stood at the crossing. The nave was built with a flint course and would have been covered with a simple wooden roof. On the other hand the western parts used ashlar and were probably vaulted. At the northern side of the church, excavations have revealed vestiges of a small wooden cloister built with a framework of posts stuck in the ground. This cloister was entirely reconstructed before the beginning of the 12th century on a framework of stone plinths (a low foundation wall). There were several common rooms next to the cloister, the northern one was probably the kitchen or the refectory. It would be usual for clerics to reside in individual accommodation in a collegiate church, which would not necessarily be close to the cloister. The excavations found only one of these canonical houses possibly the chaplains against the churchs southern wall. Currently Saint-Georges de Boscherville is the only site where the organization of secular collegiate churches, which flourished in the duchy in the 12th century, can be seen. They were all to disappear under the challenge of the monarchy without leaving any architectural heritage.
Jacques Le MahoBibliography
- J. Le Maho, « Une collégiale normande au
temps de Guillaume le Conquérant : Saint-Georges de Boscherville, daprès
les fouilles de 1981 », dans Les mondes normands (VIIIe-XIIe s.), Actes du IIe
Congrès international dArchéologie médiévale (Caen 2-4 octobre 1987),
Caen, 1989, p. 103-111.
- J. Le Maho et N. Wasylyszyn, Saint-Georges de Boscherville, 2000 ans dhistoire, Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville, 1998, p. 14-19.