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L'EGLISE SAINT-ETIENNE de VIGNORY

( Built 1032 - 1057 )

( located north of Chaumont in Champagne )

 

If you want to see an unusually original and extremely old church, on the medieval Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome but right away from the touring circuit, then Vignory is one option.  The nave, apse and ambulatory of L'Eglise Saint-Etienne de Vignory (just north of Chaumont in Champagne) are essentially the same as when they were built in the mid 1000s.  The chapels on the church's south side are five centuries younger - maybe there were originally monastery buildings here.

 

Vignory High from the church's west door

The church was the model for the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo - Tuscany's almost as old and most beautiful abbey church, built in the 1120s and though there are several major differences, it is certainly true that the two 850 - 950 year old churches share a very similar look and feel inside, and in both cases what you see is essentially what it has always looked like.

The capitals, like the arches, are all different shapes and sizes, and have abstract designs - but medieval sculptors just could not resist the odd little human face !

His and Her sepulchral plates, now wall mounted in a side chapel along with the remnants of a dramatic narrative bas-relief (below).
A little altarpiece in one of the ambulatory chapels

 

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