A little history of Saint-Martin church in Ardentes

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The church - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA The church - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA
Saint-Martin church in Ardentes Parish church

The church

An old temple

The church dates back to the 12th century: at that time, it belonged to the archbishop of Bourges, then to the abbey of Déols. Well, it wasn’t a construction, but a reconstruction!

Because several ancient buildings preceded it… included a Gallo-Roman temple! Don’t hesitate to go round the church to see the nice chevet, overlooking the river Indre!

Outside, did you notice something? Well, the soil was heighten (like in churches of Vouillon and Le Magny.

Like most of Romanesque churches in Berry, we have an only nave flanked by a transept, end by a well-lit apse, with 3 lovely windows. In the lower part of the nave, we find a blind arch flanks by capitals.

Wall paintings

In the apse, surprise! Remains of murals were found during the church restoration in 1994: oh, we can see an animal’s legs? 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.

The capitals

Inside, don’t miss the nice capitals (12th c.)! Some of them kept polychromy, and show us little characters with long beards, typical of the Romanesque style in Berry! Also, those small stretch fishes: the fish symbolize the Christian par excellence.


Lamb's blood

Two portals to discover: the western one, flanks by one window and columns with sculpted capitals. And 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, our real victim with whom you’ll get your salvation, was immolate and display on the altar. Hernaud made this portal”) and a cruciferous lamb: this one holds the cross and has a wound to his flank, where blood runs in a chalice…

You naughty lechers!

But that’s not over: did you see the capitals that top the columns, each side of the door? The sculptures symbolize the struggle of Good and Evil and the victory of the Good (the Christ). Hey, we can see a man with lions and others 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.

And also!