Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.
is now standing, probably owes its existence.  The nave is evidently of much more modern construction:  it is thrice the width of the other part, from which it is separated by a circular arch.  The eastern extremity differs from that of any other church I ever saw in Normandy or in England:  it ends in three circular compartments, the central considerably the largest and most prominent, and divided from the others, which serve as aisles, by double arches, a larger and smaller being united together.  This triple circular ending is, however, only observable without; for, in the interior, the southern part has been separated and used as a sacristy; the northern is a lumber-room.  In the latter division, M. le Prevost desired us to notice a piece of sculpture, so covered with dirt and dust that it could scarcely be seen, but evidently of Roman workmanship, and, probably, of the fourth century, if we may judge from its resemblance to some ornaments[65] upon the pedestal of the obelisk raised by Theodosius, in the Hippodrome of Constantinople.  Our friend’s conjecture is, that it had originally served for an altar:  perhaps it might, with equal probability, be supposed to have been a tomb.—­The corbels on the exterior of this building are strange and fanciful.

[Illustration:  Sculpture, supposed Roman, in the Church of St. Paul, at Rouen ]

St. Gervais also stands without the walls of Rouen; but at the opposite end of the town, upon a hill adjoining the Roman road to Lillebonne, and near the Mont aux Malades, a place so called, as having been selected in the eleventh century, on account of the salubrity of its air, for the situation of a monastery, destined for the reception of lepers.  Upon this eminence, the Norman Dukes had likewise originally a palace; and, it was to this, that William the Conqueror caused himself to be conveyed, when attacked with his mortal illness, after having wantonly reduced the town of Mantes to ashes.  Here, too, this mighty monarch breathed his last, and left a sad warning to future conquerors, deserted by his friends and physicians the moment he was no more; while his menials plundered his property, and his body lay naked and neglected in the hall[66].

The ducal palace, and the monastic buildings of the priory, once connected with it, are now completely destroyed.  Fortunately, however, the church still remains, though parochial and in poverty.  It preserves some portions of the original structure, more interesting from their features than their extent.  The exterior of the apsis is very curious:  it is obtusely angular, and faced at the corners with large rude columns, of whose capitals some are Doric or Corinthian, others as wild as the fancies of the Norman lords of the country.  None reach so high as the cornice of the roof, it having been the intention of the original architect, that a portion of work should intervene between the summit of the capitals and this member.  A capital to the north is remarkable for the eagles

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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