Martin M. Miles

Martin M. Miles

Posted on 10/16/2013

Photo taken on August  1, 2012

See also...


Henry II of England
100 Years´ War
Via Turonensis
style saintonge
Eleonor of Aquitaine

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Surgères - Notre-Dame

Surgères - Notre-Dame 

Notre-Dame de Surgères was erected in the center of a large castle in the 12th century. The fortification, founded in the 9th century as a motte, when the area was raided by the Vikings, then guarded the border of the historical province of Aunis once.

When the church was built a small town had developed around the defence already. Later a small priory and a "hopital" existed, as this was a halt on the Via Turonensis. The pilgrims had a lot to gape here, the facade is stunning 23 meters wide.

Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II of England in 1152, so the area changed hands and was ruled by the House of Plantagenet. During the Hundred Years' War Surgères experienced a long period of decline. Louis XI´s troops conquered the town in 1472 and the fortifications got destructed. During that time Notre Dame lost the tower and large parts of the nave, but not the facade!

Six blind arches once flanked the door, five arches above them on "the second floor". There are more than 100 capitals and corbels all over the facade. This seems to be a medieval encyclopedia.

The frieze, depicting dwarfs, fiddling with a vine, runs all over the 26 meters of the facade.

Unfortunately most "stories", once were connected to the carvings are lost. A man fighs a giant snake to the left . The snake attacks the fighter from behind. The large crab may be a sign of the zodiac (cancer). A ram between the fighter and the crab. Maybe the ram is aries. Or capricorn, the horned goat. But who then is the snake-fighter?

Sonja has particularly liked this photo

Cute oval crab again! And this one got well made shears so there is no daubt what it is!
5 years ago.