Before the Roman invasion, the country which was to be the province of the Resident of Nevers belonged to the territory of Eduens, except a small portion belonging to Senonais. To the VI E century, this country passed under the domination of the Francs, and the Resident of Nevers took shape on the chart of Gaules. Its first limits were those of the diocese of Nevers. but the addition of the baronnie of Donzy and part of the Resident of Auxerre increased the extent of the province, which was composed of five principal regions:
and of four others less important:
- country among the Loire and Allier,
- be worth of Yonne,
- be worth of Montenoison,
- be worth of Nevers.
The table placee following this repertory giving a complete summary of the monuments and antiquities of the department. we will limit ourselves has to enter some ?general considerations, quickly reviewing the four districts of Nievre, and saying which is the quota of each one of them in the whole of the archaeological richnesses of the country.
Nievre offers a good small number of monuments of the times Gallic and Roman; but this department is, we believe capacity it to say, one of most interesting center of France from the point of view of the architecture of the Middle Ages. Without speaking about its large churches of Nevers, of the Charity-on-Loire, of Clameey, Varzy, its beautiful feudal ruins of Saint-Verain, Rosemont, of Chandiou, which would be admirees in all the provinces, its campaigns have preserve of many religious and civil constructions worthy to be signalees and studied with fruit. The Resident of Nevers was division between three dioceses:
- the diocese of Nevers, which included/understood current Yarrondissement of Nevers formerly, most of that of Castle-Chinon, south?is of that of Cosne and the south of that of Clamecy;
- the diocese of Auxerre, depended almost all arronclissement on Cosne and the north of that of Clamecy;
- finally the diocese of Autun, which had the portion is of Farrondissement of Castle-Chinon.
The religious monuments of the Romance time dominate in the cantons which formed the old dioceses of Nevers and D `Autun. These parts of the province, epargnees by the wars of the XIV E and the XV E century and by the religious disorders of the XVI E, conserverent their primitive sanctuaries, sufficient for a population restee very few, and that the poverty of the country, remainder, would not have made it possible to rebuild. On the contrary, the north of the department, old the Resident of Auxerre, offers many churches whose Romance origin is still visible, but which in general was increased or same entirely rebuilt after the medium of the XV E century, either which they had been ruinees during the wars, or that they appeared insufficient. In this region, few intact Romance churches, but on the other hand a considerable number of these charming constructions by the smoothness and the elegance of their ornamentation which were the last expression of ogival architecture.
The all department campaigns are low in religious constructions of the XIII E and the XIV E century; at the end of the Romance period, almost all the parishes were erigees and had their recently built churches: it N `was not necessary thus to raise news of them. The ogival style seems to have had some sorrow has to be established in the province, or dorninait the architectural influence of Cluny. Let us note also the small number of monuments in the taste of the Rebirth. The known date of the construction of certain buildings proves that until the end of the XVI E century the Nevers-native architects almost conserverent the Gothic tradition without mixture with the forms and the ornamentation empruntees in Italy. L `civil architecture and military of each century is representee in the Resident of Nevers; however, we could not claim has a great richness under this report/ratio: the nobility of the country, relatively poor, could never build splendid comparable residences has these castles which make ornernent it campaigns of Berry, Touraine and Anjou.
It is the district of Nevers which contains the most monuments, especially of religious monuments of Romance style. On the 125 buildings devote to the worship remainders upright in the 93 communes of this district, 80 are, in entirety or for the greatest part, of the XI E century or the XII E, 10 belong at the time of transition from the novel to the Gothic or to the XIII E and XIV E centuries, 13 to the XV E and XVI E centuries, 22 are more modern or completely strip of architectonic natures. The same district offers, for the military architecture and civil, the curious towers of the ramparts of Decize, some remainders of the walls and one of the old doors of Nevers, the ducal castle of the same city, the important feudal fortress of Rosemont, the gross tower of Toury-on-Abron, and some castles and manors more or less well preserves.
The district of Castle-Chinon (old dioceses of Nevers and Autun) is the part of the department which has the most ancient vestiges; it includes/understands half of the Beuvray mount, celebrates it oppidum of Eduens, whose important work of Mr. Bulliot made known the curious provisions. In much of localities of this district, the Roman occupation is attestee by substructions. Fortifications and many medals.
This district contains also many Romance constructions, but one should not seek in the poor churches of Morvan the elegance and the richness of the contemporary monuments of the district of Nevers. The nature of materials of the country lent itself little to the work of the chisel and, except one or two exceptions, the ornamentation of these churches is null.
In the 62 communes of the district of Castle-Chinon, on 67 religious buildings, 41 is Romance, several admittedly extremely alter; 4 are first Gothic period, 9 of the second and 13 modern or completely unimportant. Worthy military constructions to draw the attention are rare in Morvan, which was however lives with the Middle Ages by a powerful aristocracy; but as of the XIV E century the feudal big families had disappeared, and it is hardly if there remain formless remains of their strong castles. Let us make however an exception for the imposing ruins of Chandiou, which still give an exact idea of what was this fortress of the first years of the XIV E century.
Let us pass to the north of the department, or the proportion between the Romance monuments and the Gothic monuments is quite different. We count in the 65 communes of the district of Cosne 84 churches or vaults; 17 of these buildings belong to the XI E and XII E centuries, 7 to the XIII E century, 36 to the XV E and XVI E centuries, 24 are modern or without characters of precise time.
The district of Clamecy finally offers D `also many monuments of the last Gothic period; its 93 communes have preserve 99 religious buildings, of which 23 are Romance, while 14 date from the XIII E and XIV E centuries and 45 of the XV E and XVI E centuries, 17 others being unimportant. More than one quarter of the churches of these the last two districts deserve to draw the attention of the archaeologists, and laic architecture is almost as well representee there as L `architecture ecclesiastical. In short, in Nievre, 366 churches or vaults: 161 of the Romance time, 35 of the XIII E and XIV E centuries, 103 of the XV E and XVI E centuries, 67 modern or without characters. In this number, approximately 80 buildings interesting for various reasons. For the military architecture and civil, more than 100 raised monuments of the XII E to the XVIII E century.
The works of art which contribute to architectural decoration: the stained glasses, paintings, the tombs and the tombstones gravees, clothing and liturgical vases of the Middle Ages are rare in the department. However the treasure of old collegial of Varzy has preserve some beautiful reliquaries; then the museums of Nevers and Varzy and various cabinets of private individuals contain antiquities, objets d'art and interesting collections.
Source: Archaeological repertory of the department of Nievre writes under the auspices of the Nevers-native Company of the Letters, sciences and arts by Mr. the count de Soultrait in 1875.
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