Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
relates, that after this desolation, a beginning was made towards the re-building of the church, “in 1438, a year of war, and death, and plague, and famine;” but it is certain that not much of the part now standing can be referred even to that period.  The choir was not completed till the middle of the sixteenth century, nor the Lady-Chapel till the beginning of the following one.  Architecturally considered, therefore, the church is a medley of various styles and ages.

The larger church, that of St. Gervais and St. Protais, is said to have been originally the ducal chapel, and to stand in the immediate vicinity of the site of the Conqueror’s palace, now utterly destroyed.  According to an ancient manuscript, this church was consecrated at the same time as that of the Trinity.  The intersecting circular-headed arches of its tower are curious.  The Norman corbel-table and clerestory windows still remain; and the exterior of the whole edifice promises a gratification to a lover of architectural antiquity, which the inside is little calculated to realize.—­An invading army ruined the church of the Trinity; civil discord did the same for that of St. Gervais.  The Huguenots, not content with plundering the treasure, actually set fire to the building, and well nigh consumed it:  hence, the choir is the work of the year 1580, and the southern wall of the nave is a more recent construction.

We see Falaise to a great advantage:  every inn is crowded; every shop is decked out; and the streets are full of life and activity; all in preparation for the fair, which commences in three days, on the fifteenth of this month, the anniversary of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin.  This fair, which is considered second to no other in France, excepting that of Beaucaire, is held in the suburbs of Guibray, and takes its name from the place where it is held.  For the institution, Falaise is indebted to William the Conqueror; and from it the place derives the greatest share of its prosperity and importance.  During the fourteen days that the fair continues, the town is filled with the neighboring gentry, as well as with merchants and tradesmen of every description, not only from the cities of Normandy, but from Paris and the distant provinces, and even from foreign countries.  The revolution itself respected the immunities granted to the fair of Guibray, without, at the same time, having the slightest regard, either to its royal founder, or its religious origin.—­An image of the Virgin, discovered under-ground by the scratching and bleating of a lamb, first gave the stamp of sanctity to Guibray.  Miraculous means had been employed for the discovery of this statue; miraculous powers were sure to be seated in the image.  Pilgrims crowded from all places to witness and to adore; and hawkers, and pedlars, and, as I have seen inscribed upon a hand-bill at Paris, “the makers of he-saints and of she-saints,” found Guibray a place of lucrative resort.  Their numbers annually

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