Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
where it was crossed by the military road that led from the district of the Bessin, to that of the Hiesmois.—­Portions of the causeway, may still be traced, constructed of the same kind of brick as the aqueduct; and the name of the village so far tends to corroborate the conjecture, that Vieux originally denoted a ford; and the word Ve, which is most probably a corruption from it, retains this signification in Norman French.—­The Abbe, at the same time that he does not pretend to contradict the argument deduced from etymology, maintains that a careful comparison of the position of Vieux, with the distances marked on the Tabula Peutingeriana, and with what Ptolemy relates of certain towns adjoining the Viducassian territory, will support him in the assertion, that Vieux was the ancient Augustodurum the Viducassian capital; and that Bayeux was probably the site of Arigenus another of the towns of that tribe.—­The red, veined marble of Vieux is much esteemed in France; as are also the other marbles of this department, which vary in color from a dull white, through grey, to blue.  The quarries, as is generally believed, were first opened and worked by the Romans.  Vieux marble is to be seen at Paris, where it was employed by Cardinal Richelieu, in the construction of the chapel of the Sorbonne.

At about a mile from Caen, on the road to Bayeux, stands the village of St. Germain de Blancherbe, more commonly called in the neighborhood la Maladerie, a name derived from the lazar-house in it, the Leproserie de Beaulieu, founded by Henry IInd, in 1161.—­Robert Du Mont terms the building a wonderful work.  It was a princely establishment, designed for the reception of lepers from all the parishes of Caen, except four, whose patients had an especial right to be admitted into a smaller hospital in the same place.  The great hospital is now used as a house of correction.  Seen from the road, it appears to be principally of modern architecture though still retaining a portion of the ancient structure; the same, probably, as is mentioned by Ducarel, who says, that “part of the magnificent chapel, which was considered as the parish church for the lepers, and ruined by the English, is turned into a large common hall for the prisoners, and separated from the other part, which is made into a chapel, by means of an iron gate, through which they may have an opportunity of hearing mass celebrated every morning.”—­Within the village street stands a desecrated church of the earliest Norman style, with a very perfect door-way.  The present parish church, though chiefly modern, deserves attention on account of the west front, which is wholly of the semi-circular style, and is somewhat curious, from having two Norman buttresses, that rise from a string-course at the top of the basement story, (in which the arched door-way is contained,) and are thence continued upwards till they unite with the roof.  The decorations round its southern entrance are also remarkable:  they principally consist of a very sharp chevron moulding, interspersed with foliage and various figures.

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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