A little history of Melleray abbey

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

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 here 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, that monks used to collect...

Other say that 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 few monks from Ireland and England: these one 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...


And also!