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. 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 for interment.