Sorry, folks, I got the date of the fête wrong below. It’s indeed a Sunday but the date is 24th June, not 26th, as I originally wrote. Note to self: don’t write posts after a couple of glasses of wine.
I have written several times about the association set up last year to restore the 15th-century chapel of Teysseroles (origins 10th century), in whose parish our house happens to be. After the winter break, when we’ve not been able to do any work on it, things are starting to move again. I’ll also mention a couple of other chapels in the area which have been the subject of restoration work. It’s amazing what you can do with enthusiasm, willpower and – of course – funds.
The Teysseroles association is a year old and we held the Assemblée Générale (AGM) last week. About 20 people turned up, which isn’t bad. In total, about 85 members pay an annual subscription. In addition, the fête in June last year raised a good contribution towards the work that needs doing. At the AGM the President listed all the things we had done and the Treasurer presented the accounts. It turned out we had €50 more than we had accounted for but hey! it’s better than having less.
We then confirmed the date of this year’s fête – Sunday 24th June. If you’re in the area then, please come. There’ll be a mass (not obligatory – I’m neither Roman Catholic nor religious in any way) followed by a slap-up meal and various activities, including a concours de pétanque. This day is our big money-spinner.
History of Teysseroles
In addition, we allocated various jobs among the bureau d’administration. We have agreed to spend two Fridays every month clearing the site and carrying out essential works. Other tasks included producing a pamphlet about the history of the chapel, to be distributed at the fête and elsewhere. Somehow, I have got involved in this. Jean-Claude V. is in charge but I have been enlisted to help and produce an English version on the basis of having a degree in history.
In this role, I can take full advantage of my position at the library. In 1902, a M. Joseph Lombard published a comprehensive history of the commune of Parisot. We hold in the library one of the only extant copies of this work. Normally, you can consult it only in the library. Since business was a bit slack during my stint last Saturday, I removed it from its box and had a good read. A good five pages, plus other references throughout the work, cover the chapel of Teysseroles.
I was particularly interested to read that a document dated 1642 listed all the villages and hamlets that fell within the parish of Teysseroles. Among these was ‘le village de La Lune’, i.e. our lieu-dit. I was especially excited about this, since our barn has the date 1734 engraved on the keystone above the door. I have always thought that our house is older than that but has had bits added to it and this appears to corroborate that. ‘Village’ has to be interpreted loosely to mean a place with a few houses or a hamlet. At that time, the local population was much bigger than it is today.
So the history is slowly unfolding as we proceed with the restoration.
Chapelle de Cas
Onto other restoration projects. Here are some photos of, first, the chapel at the Château de Cas in the commune of Espinas. This is a delightful, tiny Romanesque chapel in the precincts of the château, which has been progressively restored over the years. Last summer, we attended a walk followed by a talk by the current owner of the château, le comte de Lastic Saint-Jal, followed by a jolly meal at the salle des fêtes in Espinas, all in aid of the restoration fund.
Chapelle de Selgues
At the other end of the commune of Espinas is the lovely chapel at Selgues, which has also been restored thanks to the efforts of a local association.
Local artist David Clench was commissioned to produce a series of paintings representing the Stations of the Cross, which now hang on the walls of the chapel.
We have a long way to go before La Chapelle de Teysseroles achieves the same state of perfection. It might take years, decades even. It’s good to know, though, that we are doing our bit to bring back from oblivion aspects of French cultural heritage that might otherwise have disappeared without trace.
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