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.
the abbot of Jumieges, who maintained that his house had not received a fair allotment.  The proposition was stoutly resisted by St. Lambert, abbot of St. Vandrille; and the dispute was at length settled by the saints withdrawing their claims, and ceding the surplus land to the abbey of Ducler.  St. Denys was the patron of this abbey; and to him also the present parochial church is dedicated:  it is of Norman architecture; the tower is surrounded by a row of fantastic corbels; and a considerable quantity of painted glass yet remains in the windows.  The village itself (for it is nothing more than a village, though honored by French geographers with the name of a bourg), consists of a single row of houses, placed immediately under the steep chalk cliff which borders the Seine.  The face of the cliff is also indented by excavations, in which the poorer inhabitants dwell, almost like the Troglodytes of old.  The situation of Ducler, and that of the two neighboring abbeys, is delightful in summer and in fine weather.  In winter it must be cold and cheerless; for, besides being close to a river of so great breadth, it looks upon a flat marshy shore, whence exhalations copiously arise.  The view from our chamber window this morning presented volumes of mist rolling on with the stream.  The tide was setting in fast downwards; and the water glided along in silent rapidity, involved in clouds.

The village of Bocherville, or, as it is more commonly called, of St. Georges, the place borrowing its name from the patron saint of the abbey, lies, at the distance of about two leagues from Rouen.  The road is exceedingly pleasing.  Every turning presents a fresh view of the river; while, on looking back, the city itself is added to the landscape; and, as we approach, the abbey-church is seen towering upon the eminence which it commands.

The church of St. Georges de Bocherville, called in old charters de Baucherville, and in Latin de Balcheri or Baucheri villa, was built by Ralph de Tancarville, the preceptor of the Conqueror in his youth, and his chamberlain in his maturer age.  The descendants of the founder were long the patrons and advocates of the monastery.  The Tancarvilles, names illustrious in Norman, no less than in English, story, continued during many centuries to regard it as under their particular protection:  they enriched it with their donations whilst alive, and they selected it as the spot to contain their remains when they should be no more.

The following portion of the charter, which puts us in possession of the indisputable aera of the erection of the church, is preserved by Mabillon[2].  It is the Conqueror who speaks.—­“Radulfus, meus magister, aulaeque et camerae princeps, instinctu divino tactus, ecclesiam supradicti martyris Georgii, quae erat parva, re-edificare a fundamentis inchoavit, et ex proprio in modum crucis consummavit.”

The Monarch and his Queen condescended to gratify a faithful and favorite servant, by endowing his establishment.  The corpse of the sovereign himself was also brought hither from St. Gervais, by the monks and clergy, in solemn procession, before it was carried to Caen[3] for interment.

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