Saved from Oblivion: l’Eglise de Teysseroles

During the 1490s, when this church was probably built, voyages of discovery explored the New World, France lost all its territories in Italy and the Renaissance was in full swing. It’s unlikely that events on the international stage made a lot of difference to the builders, or even that they knew about them. Their concern was to rebuild their parish church, which evidence shows had collapsed around 1490.

An archaeological survey a few years ago discovered that the present building was constructed on top of two others, 10th and 12th-13th century. The fact that the inhabitants built not one, but three successive churches shows their attachment to retaining their own place of worship. The present church ceased to be a parish church (our house is within the old parish) some time ago and is now a cemetery chapel.

For the past 10 years, we have taken part in an association to restore and safeguard l’église de Teysseroles, which was in a poor state of repair. This March the works began, after a number of delays due to bureaucracy and Covid, and they should finish by the end of August.

Yesterday evening, we attended the association’s AGM, our first meeting since March last year, 15 months ago.

It felt a little odd to sit indoors with 14 other people. Normally, we hold the AGM in a room in the Mairie, but the current situation required that we use the larger salle des fêtes (village hall) instead, duly masked and socially distanced. Wearing masks didn’t make the proceedings easy to follow at times, but we got the essential points.

Essential works

Although work had been carried out on the roof in recent decades, the rest of the structure was in a poor and potentially dangerous state. A blocked up former archway into a side chapel (now demolished) threatened to collapse, taking the rest of the wall with it.

The priority was to deal with the immediate danger before tackling the rest. M. Morales, Co-President of the Association, has kindly given me permission to reproduce some of the photos below.

The wall shored up before work began. My photo.
During: work to rebuild and shore up the archway. Photo courtesy of M. Christian Morales.
After: work to repair the wall and outline the original archway completed. Photo courtesy of M. Christian Morales.

The church is a Monument Historique. An architect from Bâtiments de France, which protects historic sites and monuments, is overseeing the work, which a specialist firm is carrying out. The idea is to return the building to a state as close as possible to the original. This means making some guesses about the colour of the interior walls.

A specialist glassmaker has restored the stained-glass windows, which were also in a parlous state. I haven’t yet seen them myself, but below is another picture from M. Morales, showing them before installation.

Original windows, damaged and missing in one case. My photo.
The new stained-glass windows. Photo courtesy of M. Christian Morales.

The association is now in its 11th year, and we have raised more than 30,000 € during that time, mainly from takings at our annual fête. We have donated 25,000 € to the Commune de Parisot, which owns the building and is responsible for around 40% of the cost of the works. The rest comes from governmental, regional and departmental subsidies.

Inaugural fête

It’s exciting to see the project coming together after more than a decade and a great deal of work. To celebrate the inauguration of the restored building, the association plans a fête on 19th September (a Sunday). If you live in the area, note the date. We hope the weather will be good.

In other news…

The weather has finally turned after a very damp, miserable and chilly May. I took my first swim on Monday (7th June). Last year, it was a whole month earlier, during a particularly radiant spring, which happened to coincide with Lockdown #1.

We have devoted a lot of effort to getting the garden back into shape. At this time of year, it grows when you turn your back, especially after so much rain. It’s pleasing to see that nearly everything has recovered from the week of damaging frosts in April. We have noticed, though, that certain plants are blooming later than usual.

I’m also pleased to say that the boiler, which we had fixed three weeks ago after a long, tedious and cold saga, is still working as it should. Ten days without hot water is not a lot of fun. We began to realise how it must have been to live in this house before running water and central heating. We are spoilt, I suppose.

Finally, do you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned our encounter with a pig? It was someone’s pet and frequently escaped. A farmer neighbour drove it off his land through the field behind our house.

Piggy, as we imaginatively christened him (although it could be a sow), decided he liked this route and came back a couple of evenings running. He is the size of a small car, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of him blundering into our garden and squashing my plants or toppling into the swimming pool. Happily, he was content to pursue his evening perambulation without incident. We haven’t seen him for a while, so hopefully his owners have secured the pigsty at last.

Stay safe.

You might also like:

Well-Preserved: In Praise of Local Restoration Projects

Dig This! What the Archaeologists Found at Teysseroles

How a French Fête is Run

Copyright © Life on La Lune 2021. All rights reserved.

7 comments

  1. What a good life you lead. The restoration project is a wonderful tribute to the good that comes when people share a vision and act on it. What a pleasure it must be to see this come together.

    The weather is strange everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It’s good to see it coming together, and it’s nice that the project has brought together people of different nationalities, too. It has taken 11 years, but patience is a virtue!

      Like

  2. Exciting to see the restoration! I love old churches. There is something so calming in them, especially on a hot day tosit in the coolness and tranquility to reflect. I hope the restoration can crack on now.
    Love your Piggy friend!!
    We too have been working like crazy trying to sort the gardens. Not quite a year since we moved in to a hugely overgrown field of brambles and grass. It’s taking shape! We are particularly enjoying the birds and their antics nest building and foraging for food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about churches being cool and tranquil. This one is in a tranquil setting, surrounded by fields with a view over countryside to distant hills. Supposedly, it was once surrounded by a village, but there is no trace of that now. The nearest is a hamlet 300 m away.

      It’s very rewarding to see the fruits of your labours emerge. We cleared a large patch of woodland some years back, although we left a swathe untouched for the birds, insects and animals. Looking back, it was a Herculean labour! I’m not sure I could do it now.

      Like

    • Thank you, David. Yes, certainly, it’s good to be where we are now! Sometimes, it seemed a long way off. The work was due to start last year, but then of course Covid came along and set things back. But they are forging ahead now. I haven’t seen it for a couple of months, so I’m looking forward to catching up with progress.

      Like

I'd love to know your thoughts. Please do comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.