A little history of Saint-Martin church in Ardentes
An old temple
The church dates back to the 12th century: it belonged to archbishop of Bourges, then to abbey of Déols. Well, it wasn’t a construction, but a reconstruction!
Several ancient buildings preceded it… included a Gallo-Roman temple! Don’t hesitate to go round the church to see the nice chevet, overlooking river Indre!
Like most of Romanesque churches in Berry, we have an only nave flanked by a transept, ending by a well-lit apse, with 3 lovely windows. In the lower part of the nave, we find a blind arch flanks by capitals.
In the apse, we have remains of murals found during the church restoration in 1994: oh, we can see an animal leg! Well, maybe a bull, symbol of one of the 4 Evangelists.
On the wall on the other side, they also found a part of a small horse.
Don’t miss inside the nice capitals (12th c.)! Some of them kept polychromy.
We can see little characters with long beards, typical of the Romanesque style in Berry! And what about those small fishes? The fish symbolizes the Christian...
We have two portals: the western one, flanks by one window and columns with sculpted capitals.
The northern one, the most beautiful! We recognize it by its triple arches and its very nice carved decoration. What can we see, on this portal?
A man called Hernaud (priest, architect?) signed his name with Latin verses (“Lamb was immolated and displayed on the altar. Hernaud made this portal”) and a cruciferous lamb: this one holds the cross and has a wound, blood running in a chalice…
You naughty lechers!
But that’s not over: did you see the capitals, each side of the door? The sculptures symbolize the struggle of Good and Evil and the victory of the Good (Christ). We can see a man with lions and winged creatures.
A naked woman shackles by two devils, a snake and a toad leeching her breast… aaah, you naughty lecher! That’s the representation of the lechery, of course!
Above, we have nice modillions with animal or human heads.