Discovering Notre-Dame church in La Berthenoux
Bretons turned up!
La Berthenoux, former Britonoria, was named after a colony of Bretons, settled here since the 5th century.
The church itself was raised in the 12th century and was dependent of Massay abbey (Cher).
It was part of a very important Benedictine priory.
Proof of that? Monks founded here a big fair in the 13th century!
Let’s examine the big bell-tower, then the portal decorated with capitals, then, the nice chevet.
From this chevet, we have a lovely view on the church!
And we notice the little modillions, all along the building, those funny stony heads…
Next to the church, we have a big tower. What’s this?
Remains of the old fortifications which used to protect the priory and the church in the Middle Ages!
Come on, let’s go inside! We discover a lovely Romanesque church with its single nave, covered in the 19th century by a plaster intersecting ribs.
In the 20th century, they replaced it by the primitive wooden framework.
Look! The famous passages berrichons are here! What is it? Narrow passages, about 45 centimetres wide… Oops, better be lanky!
Architect Dauvergne restored the nave in 1878 and re-raised a part of the bell-tower. Fortunately, our church is still gorgeous!
The visit of La Berthenoux
The church houses gorgeous capitals, in the transept.
Look at those details: leaves, volutes, animals, creatures, humans…
Like in the church of Bommiers, sculptors put little leaden balls in their eyes… they seem alive!
We find cats’ heads like in Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre (symbol of heresy), but also bearded men (wisdom), men with monkeys’ faces…
They represent the struggle of the Good and the Evil. And these capitals symbolize the 7 deadly sins: lust (women’s heads), greediness (monsters)...
Several things to notice: statues (a breastfeeding Virgin, a saint Peter and a saint John the Baptist, 16th c.); a copy of the painting displaying in Louvre museum, by Spanish painter Ribera, the Shepherds’ Worship. A very good copy, says the little explanatory board!
Don’t miss abbot Debourges’ portrait: the most famous exorcist priest in Central France!