Hambye Abbey – last week’s story continued

In last week’s I Saw Sunday post I promised pictures of our visit to the Abbey at Hambye, one of the treasures of our region, and part of the Route des Abbayes  which was a pilgrimage route from Rouen to Mont St Michel in the Middle Ages.   

The Benedictine Abbey was built during the twelfth century and was an essential part of the life of the region until the end of the eighteenth century.  Napoleon did it a lot of no good and the buildings were sold in 1810 and used as a quarry for the stone, leaving the abbey church at the mercy of the elements as well as vandals until it was classed as a historic monument at the beginning of the twentieth century.  In 1956 Elisabeth Beck bought it and devoted the rest of her life to its restoration until her  death last year.

We have been to some wonderful concerts and exhibitions in the Abbey buildings and a few years ago a spectacular pageant with son et lumière, horses, battles, specially written music and ending with fireworks.  It had rained heavily all that day, and we debated whether or not to go, but the sky cleared in the early evening and so we took our garden chairs, cushions, rugs and bin bags for emergency waterproofs just in case.  We had been warned to go early, so we were lucky to set up our ‘camp’ only a few rows back from thestage, set at the West end of the roofless church.  By the time darkness fell and the first actors appeared, the whole Abbey grounds were heaving with the eager and friendly audience.  A magical experience.

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While touring the exhibition in the monks’ dortoir, I was scared we’d get thrown out when Fraser dismantled the model of the  buildings, but it turned out that was its purpose, and he managed to get it all back together again. 

The mediaeval crane was fascinating – the weights being lifted by a rope raised by men walking the wooden wheel.  We were most impressed with its state of repair after so many centuries, only to discover that it had been re-constructed from scratch three years ago for a television documentary!

for 6-http://www.showmyface.com/2011/05/six-word-saturday_21.html and  http://isawsunday.blogspot.com/

About https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com

All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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15 Responses to Hambye Abbey – last week’s story continued

  1. Viv, had not clicked on the link to this post that you had left on our post about Thaon. These pictures of yours are wonderful, glad that I saw the note!


  2. Susannah says:

    I love your photos, especially the roofless church. It looks a spectacular and interesting place. Thanks very much for sharing your visit there with I Saw Sunday. x


  3. Betty says:

    Looks like a great place to explore and to see a performance at!



  4. Jess says:

    That’s a great photo!I love old buildings


  5. Kasi says:

    Beautiful pictures! (Found your blog from Six Word Saturday)


  6. Great pics and love the idea of the slideshow, wonder if this will work on Blogger – will have to investigate the possibilities


  7. Blog Wobble says:

    Looks like an amazing place.


  8. Elaine says:

    Sounds like an interesting place, and your photos look wonderful.


  9. Jim says:

    You have some nice pictures, Viv. If ever we come again we will have to stop at Hambye and visit your Abbey.
    I’m wondering if Fraser wanted to get inside that people powered machine to make the lever work? Boys like to do that and since he could do the model disassembly/reassembly I’m sure he could make the wheel turn. That is if he was heavy enough. I suppose that more than one peon was inside to power it originally.
    Happy 6WS! 🙂


  10. Tilly Bud says:

    I remember you telling us about that concert. The abbey looks wonderful.


  11. earlybird says:

    Well done for getting the slide show working! 😉


  12. thehutts says:

    I love the slide show photos – you’ll have to tell me how you did this! Sally


    • vivinfrance says:

      Earlybird was the one who told me how to do it: It’s called a slide show – when you have uploaded your photos associated with any particular post into your wordpress gallery, you click on ‘insert slideshow’ et voilà! http://en.support.wordpress.com/slideshows/
      One important point – while you are messing about putting it in, save your draft frequently. That way if you go wrong you can go back to the first draft.


  13. It looks magnificent Viv!


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