Sunday, 21 August 2016

Church on Sunday...Priory of Saint-Laurent. Palluau-sur-Indre

On a visit to Chateau Valencay (must do that post) back in July we stopped off on route in Palluau-sur-Indre and had a look around its church,Saint-Sulpice's but this interesting little village has a second ecclesiastical building in the form of the Priory of Saint Laurent.

Its shop-front entrance belies the treasures that lie within. The priory have struggled over the centuries to hold onto its lineage with the French Revolution having a devastating effect when it was sold off and split up for a variety of uses including housing. Its history is also a little vague as the records pertaining to it were destroyed by a fire last century at the Archbishop of Bourges' residence, where they were kept.

Restoration programmes over the years and research seem to point to a connection to the nearby Benedictine abbey of Saint Knee and a date of construction sometime in the 11th century.The frescoes that adorn what was the church of the priory date from the 12th century.

Their discovery is credited to the inquisitive children of the village who in 1940 found that the whitewashed interior held a secret past. The best examples of the frescoes are within what was the choir of the original church with the Virgin Mary and Christ depicted in all their glory and majesty.

More detail can be found on the walls of the church including a scene dedicated to the martyrdom of its patron, Saint Laurent.It is believed that at one time the whole church would have been covered in paintings.

The church also has a rather spooky crypt that must have a few tales to tell!

This is a plan of how the original church was laid out with the shaded areas representing what remains today.

This impressive artist's impression hangs within the building showing how the cloisters of the abbey would have looked whereas now its exterior  displays little of its past splendour.

An interesting detour for sure!

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