Saint-Léger in Royat, the church looking like a little stronghold

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The church - ©Calips / CC-BY-SA The church - ©Calips / CC-BY-SA
Saint-Léger church in Royat Parish church

More than a Romanesque church, we have here a real fortified castle! Pretty unusual, isn’t it? Saint Priest, bishop of Clermont, founded a nun convent in 670. In the beginning of the 10th century, nuns left the abbey, who fell into oblivion. About 30 years later, bishop of Clermont Etienne II re-raised the church dedicated to saint Léger, managed by Mozac abbey, then, in 1095, by the famous and mighty Cluny.

In the 14th century, the English settled not far from here, in Le Roche-Vendeix. This situation worried our monks! They feared the worst, so with the help of inhabitants, they raised a big crenelated ramparts around the little city of Royat. But the church itself was later fortified.

It happened in the 12th century, between 1169 and 1212: monks were afraid of their mighty neighbour, the count of Auvergne. What will they do, if he decided to attack them? So, they fortified their church: they extended the transept and re-raised the Western wing, adding 3 abutments. They also added crenelates: from those ones, they could shot arrows! Pretty ingenious… Hey, come over here! Don’t miss the crypt (10th c) and the Apostles’ cross, on the church’s parvis.


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