anotredame

The church of Notre Dame du Cap Lihou situated on the promontory overlooking the harbour of Granville, and where as I have previously mentioned Jane Jouault 1828-1901 had stipulated in her will as officially recorded that a stained glass window be purchased and that prayers be said for her family, for this she left the sum of 2,000 francs. I can only presume the original windows were damaged during the second world war because the current windows were installed from 1954-1978 by Jacques Le Chevalier 1896-1987 a famous Parisian glass worker who also designed a window in Notre Dame, Paris. There appeared to be very little written information on the church within it, the floor has several old grave stones from the 18th century if not before, the church itself has evolved over the years said to date back to the 12th century when a sanctuary was built out of stone from nearby Chausey and where sailors would come to pray to Notre Dame whose statue was said to have been found on the rocks below. Christian Dior was baptised here in 19o8 and his uncle Lucien was behind the initiative to make the church a listed as a historic monument in 1930.

The parish and the chapel on the south side are dedicated to St Clement as was a chapel on Chausey, in Jersey, and in London where the rhyme “Oranges and lemons Say the bells of St Clement’s” comes from. He is the patron saint of mariners and his emblem is an anchor. Popular tradition has it that he was martyred by being lashed to an anchor and thrown into the Crimea. He was therefore a popular saint with christianised Vikings (1). It is also suggested that these dedicated churches are often sited next to a bridge, so perhaps there was one here time past that bridged the isthmus to the north.

There is a list of those who lost their lives fighting in the war and the picture below is a few of those mentioned:

aboard

From Granville I caught an early morning train to Paris and I was pleasantly surprised at how scenic the route was compared to St Malo or Cherbourg to Paris routes. Perhaps travelling for a while in the dark coupled with mist and fog added to the atmosphere, hopefully the day will come when Jersey has a year round ferry service at times suitable to make this connection, but being the third generation to flag the issue I very much doubt it.

1: “The Cult of St Clement in England and Scotland”  by Dr Barbara Crawford

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