Hagetmau crypt: Girons' martyr, stony monsters
Girons, his martyr in Hagetmau
Girons turned up from Africa one fine day in the 4th century, with his buddies Clair, Sever, Polycarpe and Cie (the “7 missionary of Aquitaine”). What for? To evangelize the Chalosse area!
In 409, the Romans martyred him (ooo, the naughty pagans), in a small village from Landes, Hagetmau, whose name means “in the middle of the beeches forest”: the legend says they let him a terrible wound, so horrible that he died in several months!
Charlemagne and his bones
Girons’ grave is located in the current crypt, so. It was emperor Charlemagne who founded an abbey on the grave, when he stopped here in 778 after Aquitaine conquest: he wanted to give the precious bones to monks…
Charlemagne too brought a part of the relics in the church of St-Eulalie of Bordeaux, remember? In the chapel of the Holy-Corpses!
Monsters on capitals
No more abbey, nowadays, but a gorgeous crypt, still standing. 4 central columns support the crypt: we could find in the middle saint Girons' relics.
Pilgrims who were going to Santiago de Compostela surely looked at those Romanesque capitals, shivered in front of those monsters, those phantasmagorical animals, admired scenes representing the struggle between Good and Evil, but also episodes of saint Girons’ life...
Henri II d’Albret, king of Navarre, king of France Henri IV’s grandfather (the one who rubbed a garlic clove on Henri’s lips when he was born, in castle of Pau), went to Hagetmau to pray saint Girons’ relics, on May 25th 1555.
Suddenly a weakness took him and he kicked the bucket, at the age of 53…
Well, its’ a small world! He died in the castle of Hagetmau, the place where the famous Diane d’Audoins, future Corisande was born… king Henri IV’s mistress!