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Medieval Europe Medieval Europe


Church Interiors Church Interiors



Keywords

14
Mathilde de Flandre
William I of England
William the Bastard
Reine Mathilde
Abbaye aux Dames
William the Conqueror
Caen
Calvados
Basse-Normandie
France
Abbey Sainte-Trinité


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Caen - Abbaye aux Dames

Caen - Abbaye aux Dames
Caen was a settlement already in Roman times, but prospered, when
William the Conqueror (aka "William the Bastard") built a castle here.
When William married Matilda of Flanders (~ 1051) a papal ban was issued
at the Council of Reims on the grounds of consanguinity. In 1059 Pope
Nicholas awarded dispensation, after William and Matilda agreed to found
to monasteries as penance.

William founded the Abbey of Saint-Etienne (aka "Abbaye aux Hommes"),
Matilda founded with here husband´s support the Abbey Sainte-Trinité
(aka "Abbaye aux Dames"). The erection of both abbeys started in Caen
around 1060.

The community of nuns was suppressed by the French Revolution. In 1823
the local authorities transferred the ancient Hôtel-Dieu to the former
cloister for use as a hospital, and the canonesses regular established
themselves there. The canonesses continued to operate until 1908 when
the facility was transferred into a nursing home.

The former abbey church Sainte-Trinité now serves the parish. The vault, seen here, was rebuilt in 1865. During the Battle of Normandy in WW2 an intense bombing campaign destroyed much of Caen. Sainte-Trinité was severely damaged by the bombing, but got rebuilt. The last restauration campaign took place in the 1990s.

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