A little history of Saint-Etienne church in Vignory
This Romanesque church was mentioned in 731 and the current church dates back to the 11th century. It was given to Saint-Bénigne abbey of Dijon (Burgundy) by lord of Vignory, Roger I, in 1049. They just finished the construction (probably Roger’s father, Guy) and Hardouin, bishop of Langres, dedicated it on “pope Urban name day”.
But the bell-tower only dates back to the 12th century and nearly collapsed in 1453! In the middle of the 14th century, they decided to restore the nave, with parishioner’s money!
Prior had to pay for the choir and bell-tower's reconstruction. But neither he nor parishioners want to pay! Finally, they found a deal in 1520...
From the 14th to the 16th century, they added 5 chapels on the aisles. Saint-Etienne is 50 metres long and 15 metres large. But the church was abandoned during the Revolution, and Austrian prisoners were locked here.
Famous historian Prosper Mérimée rediscovered the place in 1844: he wrote he was surprised to find such a church here, “an awful church outside, but inside, a very nice building...” 3 years later, the restoration began, with architect Boeswillwald!