This website requires JavaScript.

A little history of Melleray abbey

The abbey | Selbymay / CC-BY-SA
Abbey Cistercian Melleray abbey

French writer Flaubert, in his book Par les Champs et par les Grèves, said about the abbey it had "half monastic look, half country cottage look”...

Indeed! The place seems so quiet... We enter by a Gothic portal, and we are in the courtyard: here the abbot church, there a huge building which houses the library... But what about the history?

The foundation

Founded in 1145 by monks from the Cistercian Pontron abbey, in Anjou, the abbey was raised in a place called "Old Melleraye". Melleraye name probably comes from... honey! Miel, in French, monks used to collect...

Others say the name comes from the Latin word mellearium which means “beehive”. Why?

Because the Cistercian order used to send their monks from the 4 corners of France, like little bees!

In short, the church was dedicated in 1183.

Melleray’s rise

But the abbey was sold during the Revolution. A man called Saulnier de Beauregard bought it in 1817, and came with monks from Ireland and England: these ones came in France with their revolutionary farming methods: soon a 400 hectares estate was born near the abbey! 300 workers worked here every day...

These monks from Melleray founded their own communities in England and United States! For instance, we have Mount Melleray abbey in Ireland, Mount Saint-Bernard abbey in England, Gethsemani abbey in Kentucky...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!