[Footnote 53: See Concilia Normannica, II. pp. 56, 117, 403, 491, 508, &c]
MOULINEAUX—CASTLE OF ROBERT THE DEVIL—BOURG-THEROUDE—ABBEY OF BEC—BRIONNE.
(Brionne, July, 1818.)
Having accomplished the objects which we had proposed to ourselves in Rouen and its vicinity, we set out this morning upon our excursion to the western parts of the province. Our first stage, to Moulineaux, was by the same road by which we returned a few days ago from Bourg-Achard. It is a delightful ride, through the valley of the Seine, here of great width, stretching to our left in an uninterrupted course of flat open country, but, on our right hand, bordered at no great distance by the ridge of steep chalky cliffs which line the bank of the river. The road appears to have been a work of considerable labor: it is every where raised, and in some places as high as fifteen feet above the level of the fields on either side.—Agriculture in this district is conducted, as about Paris, upon the plan called by the French la petite culture: the fields are all divided into narrow strips; so that a piece of not more than two or three acres, frequently produces eight or ten different crops, some of grain, others of culinary vegetables, at the same time that many of these portions are planted with apple and cherry trees. The land is all open and uninclosed: not a fence is to be seen; nor do there even appear to be any balks or head-marks. Strangers therefore who come, like us, from a country entirely inclosed, cannot refrain from frequent expressions of surprise how it is that every person here is enabled to tell the limits of his own property.
Moulineaux is a poor village, a mere assemblage of cottages, with mud walls and thatched roofs. But the church is interesting, though desecrated and verging to ruin. Even now the outside alone is entire. The interior is gutted and in a state of absolute neglect.—The building is of the earliest pointed style: its lancet-windows are of the plainest kind, being destitute of side pillars: in some of the windows are still remains of handsome painted glass.—Either the antiquaries in France are more honest than in England, or they want taste, or objects of this kind do not find a ready market. We know too well how many an English church, albeit well guarded by the churchwardens and the parson, has seen its windows despoiled of every shield, and saint, and motto; and we also know full well, by whom, and for whom, such ravages are committed. In France, on the contrary, where painted glass still fills the windows of sacred buildings, now employed for the meanest purposes, or wholly deserted, no one will even take the trouble of carrying it away; and the storied panes are left, as derelicts utterly without value.—The east end of the church at Moulineaux is semi-circular; the roof is of stone, handsomely