Notre-Dame-de-Confort to Berhet
The chapel of Notre-dame-de-comfort, in the parish of Berhet, on the borders of Prat, is a famous devotion. It is also, in terms of art, one of the most remarkable religious monuments of the arrondissement of Lannion.
It rises gracefully on a hill that dominates the country away, and seems to call the pilgrims and unfortunate coming from all sides to seek comfort for their ills.
Its construction dates back to the first half of the sixteenth century, and although it belong to the period of decadence of Gothic architecture, it is a pretty good style, and keeps under its multiplied ornaments the size and slender shapes, mystical symbol of the ages of faith.
Its spacious nave high, without side aisles or transepts, is regularly pierced by five ogival windows, of which the most significant, open to the East in the right wall of the pinion, once contained one of the most wonderful rosettes that one could see.
A gust of wind destroyed, about twelve years ago.
This misfortune may not be irreparable. It would be still precious debris. But this restoration would be expensive, and we believe that the monument seeks more urgent work.
The other two windows from each side are long and narrow, divided into two lancets by prismatic mullions, and loaded into the eardrum of flamboyant networks forming, to the North, bypassed tears, at noon, with elegant Fleur de lys. This last ornament is hardly found in Brittany in religious buildings built since the meeting of this province in the France.
Externally, these windows are topped by triangular pediments, whose sides, spiky plant fiddleheads, bind to the Summit by a lobe bouquet. The square and the upper corner of the pinion are decorated similarly.
But the crucial piece of this work, one where the chisel has deployed all its resources, the southern portal.
A porch vaulted arches above, as to its rich carvings serve case. The whole plan is very simple. A single door, which the warhead is not very large proportions, offers the distinctive character of that time: lines suddenly found near the point of junction and ending in a sharp point. But what a luxury, what profusion in the details! The covings are covered with foliage boldly searched update of rinceaux of vines where are played among the clusters and the branches a host of fantastic animals. The archivolt, adorned by large laciniees leaves, follows the contours of the warhead, straightens also in advanced, and supports at the top a sort of acroterion where probably lay a statue.
Finally, the framework consists of two columns loaded Tori and strips, and surmounted by needle.
Three other doors, one below the portal that we have just mentioned, the other two in the lateral side of the North, reproduce these general characteristics. There are also sharp warhead. But they are less ornate. The last two have even an archivolt topped with hooks and plumes.
On the Western front, one could believe much more recent that the rest of the building, if you recall that the religious buildings is started by the bedside. He necessarily had to take a number of years before it did in come to this last part, which therefore is found in full transition, changing of style, this return to the pagan arts, that is so inappropriate named renaissance.
Indeed, this gateway to the West, shamefully hiding between two massive buttresses, does not give a high idea of the early efforts of new architecture. Simulated pilasters, a semblance of architrave and cornice, a broken, in a manner of dome pediment, all this is mean-spirited and a pretty nasty aspect.
On the other hand, the Bell Tower, which is still half Gothic, retains a certain elegance. Four open bays left see bells, reduced to one today. An arrow Octagon and thin, which ignited his cross with a tuft of foliage a light railing to evening drawings, a stair Tower crowned by a cupola, complete the ensemble gracefully.
But which gives a really monumental aspect to this charming church, which surrounds it unusual luxury mediocre size buildings, it is the admirable party that the architect was able to draw his Friesland and its foothills.
The latter, without understanding the masses who support the Tower, are ten in number. They surround the Holy Chapel as a Crown to senior florets, raising their pinnacles over the birth of the roof. On their previous sides, niches, of finely crafted canopy, contained statues of the Apostles that we see nowadays; because, for their removal from the revolutionary vandalism, it hid them, and so alas! what it has not found them. Regular excavations would no doubt bring their discovery.
The undecorated frieze represents, in the longère du MIDI, a hunting. It is firstly a lazily sleepy character, while the foxes throw his chickens and that wolves carry his sheep. Further, hunters armed with Spears, biting giving proboscis, excite a large Pack pursuit of various animals. To the North, we see only pious subjects: emblems in honour of the Blessed Virgin, learned from his litanies and the song hymns.
Before turning to the internal description of this Chapel, it is suitable, and it is perhaps by where we have had to start, to say a word in its history.
Jehan du Perrier, juveigneuf of the counts of Quintin, married, in the early years of the fifteenth century. Alder, heiress of Coatconian, Coatbersol, and other manorial places of Berhet.
The twentieth day of appril, year 1523, one of his descendants, also named Jehan, laid the first stone of this church, which from the inscription that gives us this date, was completed only in 1537.
Now, we know what were then the serious concerns of Brittany. Twice Queen of France, our Duchess Anne left that girls, the eldest, married to François Ier, brought him as a dowry the usufruct of this province. The long intrigues of the France would finally succeed. Already the ducal circle graced the front of the Dauphin; and despite the strongest opposition, valves States came, in 1532, to pronounce the final meeting of Brittany to the France.
The du Perrier lost this addition a princely position. The Duke Pierre II says formally by erecting the County of Quintin high barony in their favour: we sure of the degree of kinship which our cousin reached us, which is extracted and inbred for our home, etc.
Also we thought out within the shrine raised by them, the signs of a regret, a protest, a biting satire.
Here is our conjecture. It is understood that we are giving them only for what they are: conjecture.
In windows, we have already said, lilies thrive in the midday sun; to the North, flowing tears.
Sant-e-rod (Holy wheel), is still running its wheel of fortune, but she now turns into a funeral Labbé, above the tombs.
In the corniche, a woman of a proud overweight, bound hand and foot, turns on itself; and when it comes back, it is more than a skinny skeleton. Would it not be the picture of the transformation that awaits under foreign domination the rich and oily Brittany?
The altarpiece, against the altar, the allegory seems more transparent still. Two main statues include the Annunciation. Left, the breton side, the Blessed Virgin, kneeling before a desk, has features and costume of Duchess Anne. Before it, this kneeling figure is presumably the Angel Gabriel comes therefore he carries the royal coat, dress, hair long and curly of Louis XII? and that instead of the symbolic Lily, it presents to the Virgin... a distaff!
It is that the Duchy fell in Distaff. It is that the good Duchess did not let this second son, who under the terms of a marriage contract, should continue the Breton dynasty.
And, as if had fears not to be understood, at the bottom of each of these figures is shining an escutcheon of the arms of France.
These observations, we repeat, are all speculative; They seemed curious, and we give them without attaching great importance. Let's go in the positive.
Above the altar is a nasty array of Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire,-quite unworthy of his entourage.
Right and left, two reliefs are, first, the Virgin crowned by the Trinity, the second, the tree of Jesse.
They are the same chisel as the altarpiece, which deserves a special description.
In addition to the two figures discussed, updated galleries and its secondary ornaments, it consists of seven scenes drawn from passion, and so willing :
Above the tabernacle, and higher than the others, is the crucifixion. Left are: the adoration of the shepherds. Pilate wash their hands. Jesus carrying his cross. Right: burial. The resurrection. The transfiguration;
The design of these subjects is not always very correct, but the idea is ingenious, well grouped characters, attitudes and made facial with expression. All in all, this piece is remarkable, and it is regrettable that wicked daubers have covered it a coarse painting, pushing the ignorant vanity up to include their names.
Beams, eaves, friezes are sculptured, loaded with ornaments, characters, animals, and especially of arms.
These hieroglyphs of the middle age also are evidence of our history. We will try to explain.
The first coat of arms, in the frieze on the right door quarterly, 1 and 4, azure to 10 billets of gold, which is the Perrier, and 2 and 3, of Coatconian, of 3 Gold roses gules. The latter family is off for about four centuries.
The second is part of the Perrier and Shiner: gules in the face of money.
The first of these patches seems to us remind the alliance which passed the land of Coatconian in the Perrier family. The second could be that of the founder of this Chapel.
Alain Perrier, son of Claude and Renée-Françoise de Kerlec'h, appeared at the reformation of 1671, bearing the title of Lord of Coatconian. But four years later, in 1675, we find a sieur Rene du Bouilly titled Lord of the same stronghold, which had just what it seems to still change hands.
It is on the Bell of Notre-Dame-de-comfort, which this de Bouilly was Godfather, we read this detail. It is still emblazoned on the left, the coat of arms of the Perrier, as a reminder perhaps. Right is the coat of arms of of the Bouilly: of money, accompanied by two crescents, band mid-part chevoir of Coadélan azure: gules a Crescent of silver, surmounted by three Druse similarly.
Coadélan, Prat was the favorite residence of the notorious leaguer Guy Eder of la Fontenelle. This land, and most of those that we have mentioned, today owned by M. de Kergariou, of the Grand City.
This description is already so long that it forces us to neglect the accessory details. We will briefly indicate the repairs more pressed, the more necessary for the conservation of this monument.
Outside, the stones of the corniche, about one metre of the pinion, and each side have been weakened by the gust of wind that sank the mistress-glass, and separate in crack deep. This repair would still be easy and inexpensive; If on the neglected, it would infallibly the collapse of the building.
Inside, the framing is good; but some parts of the panels need to be identified.
It would be also be desired are replaçât, in the middle of the nave, the grid and the beautiful rood screen which cut off once, and which parts are disposed of pele in a reduced below the clock.
Finally, the tombs of the founders deserve any interest.
Their statues lie now on the wall of the cemetery, delivered to all elements of the atmosphere. Yet a few years, and rain them will be completely degraded. They have character and a certain artistic value.
One of them represents a Knight armed with all parts, except the head and hands that are without helmet and gauntlets. Its broad sword rests between her thighs, and his mercy is passed to his belt. Under its coat of arms, which dates back up to the neck and descends until knees, on press a curved breastplate, without keel. Fastening of the knee to the bibshorts strikes and is one piece, without complicated blades, and the round shape of the sabatons, supported on a dog, and pulling back slightly in beakhead, completes we designate the time to which it belongs: the first half of the fifteenth century.
On the table two almost erased badges still show one of the roses, the other billets, and do recognise the Branch Chief of of the Berhet Perrier.
This statue would be older than the Chapel, and there would have made, unless it had been made after the fact, commemorativement.
An another effigy tumular, placed next to it, is obviously only an imitation. However, some details leaked to the copyist, to form thin and tapered daggers which guards and handles very worked form more cross, we recognize more recent times: the sixteenth century. An inscription today embarked on a masonry teaches us that it was the burial place of Jehan du Perrier, Lord of Coatbersot.
It would be appropriate to replace these tombs in the Chapel, above the crypts that they once covered.
Note, in closing, the care had been brought down to the choice of materials. All constructions are beautiful granite, all woodwork yew become black as ebony, everywhere where the whitewash to see it.
Could to cut costs of repairs, use the stones of the hovel that now serves as a common home. This building, which urgently calls for the demolition, dated 1768, offers no interest, and mask the monument.
We regret, throwing the last traits of this pale and frail exquisite, not being able to speak only of the work material, unable to say a word about what makes the soul: religious love that this Holy temple inspires; but Mr. Benson Rector having kindly promise bubbles and the indulgences granted by the Popes to Notre-Dame-de-comfort, we will do this communication the subject of a supplementary note.
Can at least our weak efforts contribute to attract the attention and the benefits of the administration on this revered monument, so that it is long yet the solace and an ornament of our country.
J. De Penguern.
Source: Breton library: Collection of unpublished or little known pieces published by Charles Le Maout 1851.
The 16th century small building probably used as a place of pilgrimage. His plan has only a rectangular nave flanked to the South of an entrance porch. On the Western Wall is a lace Bell Tower with its stair Tower. The apse is pierced by a large Bay which the voussoirs are all decorated with figures. Inside, in the panelled frame, pits and the beams are carved (source: Ministry of culture).
Crédit photo : gerardgg (Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Comfort, berhet)
Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Comfort, The 16th century small building probably used as a place of pilgrimage. His plan has only a rectangular nave flanked to the South of an entrance porch. On the Western Wall is a lace Bell Tower with its stair Tower. The apse is pierced by a large Bay which the voussoirs are all decorated with figures. Inside, in the panelled frame, pits and the beams are carved berhet, cotes d'armor
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