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.

The church at Yainville differs materially from either of the others:  its square low central tower is of far greater base than that of Lery:  the transept parts of the cross have been demolished; and, beyond the tower, to the east, is only an addition that looks more like an apsis than a choir, a small semi-circular building with a roof of a peculiarly high pitch, like those of the stone-roofed chapels in Ireland, which, I trust, I shall be able hereafter to convince you were undoubtedly of Norman origin.  But the most curious feature in this building is, that one of the buttresses is pierced with a narrow lancet window; a decisive proof, that the Normans regarded their buttresses as constituent parts of the edifice at its original construction, and that they did not add them at a subsequent time, or design them to afford support, in the event of any unexpected failure of strength.  Indeed, what are usually called Norman buttresses, such as we find at Yainville, and at the lazar-house at St. Julien, have so very small a projection, that they seem much more designed to add ornament or variety than for any useful purpose.—­Yainville is a parish adjoining Jumieges, and was formerly dependent upon the celebrated abbey there, which will furnish ample materials for a future letter.


[63] Taillepied, Antiquites de Rouen, p. 77.

[64] Vol.  II. part V. p. 8.

[65] Seroux d’Agincourt, Historie de la Decadence de l’Art; plate 10, Sculpture, fig. 4-7.

[66] Du Moulin, Histoire Generale de Normandie, p. 236.

[67] Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni, p. 558.

[68] Histoire de l’Abbaye de St. Ouen, p. 188.

[69] Farin, Histoire de Rouen, V. p. 121

[70] Description de la Haute Normandie, II. p. 268.



(Rouen, June, 1818.)

In passing from the true Norman architecture, characterised “by the circular arch, round-headed doors and windows, massive pillars with a kind of regular base and capital, and thick walls without any very prominent buttresses",[71] to those edifices which display the pointed style, I shall enter into a more extensive field, and one where the difficulty no longer lies in discovering, but in selecting objects for observation and description.

The style which an ingenious author of our own country has designated as early English[72], is by no means uncommon in Normandy.  In both countries, the circular style became modified into Gothic, by the same gradations; though, in Normandy, each gradation took place at an earlier period than amongst us.  The style in question forms the connecting link between edifices of the highest antiquity, and those of the richest pointed architecture; combined in some instances principally with the peculiarities of the former, in others with the character of the latter:  generally speaking, it assimilates itself to both.  The simplicity of the principal lines betray its analogy to its predecessors; whilst the form of the arch equally displays the approach of greater beauty and perfection.

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