Church of Saint Melaine at Morlaix!

And as promise staying right put in lovely Morlaix by the bay. It has several monuments and you can read on them in my previous posts, however, feel that the best monuments needs a post on their own. Therefore, here is the second episode of Morlaix and now its Church of Saint Melaine. Ah yes the sun is triying to come out in my neck of the woods with temps of 11C or about 52F.

The Church of Saint Melaine is located at Morlaix, Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany. The  Church of Saint-Mélaine, is of flamboyant Gothic style (15C) dedicated to Melaine de Rennes. The Priory of Saint-Mélaine  was founded between 1149 and 1157 following a donation of Guyomarc’h III, Lord of Morlaix. The Church was built at the end of the 15C. In 1879, the Church lantern was replaced by a zinc-coated wooden arrow. The Church houses beautiful paintings and scultptures from the 15C to 19C, as well as a Dallam organ restored in 1971.


The Sainte-Marie Chapel, was initially included in the parish of Ploujean. In the middle of the 12C, it was given, with all its dependencies, to the Abbaye Saint-Melaine of Rennes by Guyomarc’h III, Viscount of Léon. The son of the latter, Hervé II, confirms the donation in 1154. A Priory Saint-Melaine is therefore founded between 1149 and 1157.


In the second half of the 15C, the population of the parish grew very fast. The Church of Sainte Melaine is declared by the parishioners too small and obsolete. They decide to demolished it and build a new Church without interrupting the exercise of worship. At the entrance to this porch, two Angels hold a banner on which one can read: “the year one thousand four hundred and eighty nine was started this Church of God”. From 1511 to 1516, the construction of the bell tower, the last installment of the big work was started. A clock is set up in 1564. The bell tower is only completed in 1574. the Church will be completed in the 1570’s with the Bell Tower. It is covered with a Renaissance dome in lead, topped with a lantern. In 1610 and 1611, the paneled vault of the south porch and the inner tympanum are painted.


Under the French revolution, the parish of Saint-Melaine was abolished. The Church of Saint Melaine is closed to worship, and it became a food store. The parish of Saint-Melaine was restored in 1856. In 1879, the Renaissance dome of the tower is destroyed. It is replaced by an arrow of wood covered with molded zinc. In 1943, a bomb fell into the garden of the presbytery, causing considerable damage to the north sides. Reconstruction work is underway. A larger sacristy is built. In 1956, the organs are deposited and transported for restoration in Nantes. On this occasion, the Rector wishes to modify the provisions of the Choir, of the altar in particular. Long debates engage and conclude the displacement of the altar to the west, a modification made in many buildings.


What about Saint Melaine a local hero! Saint Melaine was a monk in the region of Redon (Morbihan dept 56), and was elected Bishop of Rennes in 491. A church man and diplomat, he became adviser to king Clovis and worked on the rapprochement of the Armorica church with Rome. His tomb in Rennes quickly became a place of worship. An Abbey dedicated to the Saint was built in Rennes in the 11C (see my post other churches of Rennes); the radiance of this abbey was very great , and at the end of the 12C, the monks of Saint-Melaine held a hundred churches, radiating all the way to England.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip to lovely Morlaix and enjoy these gems are

City of Morlaix on heritage

Tourist office of the Bay of Morlaix on Morlaix heritage

Tourist office of dept 29 Finistere on Morlaix

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix

And there you go , a nice one two punch to see in lovely Morlaix and easy ride with train station. One of the gems of the off the beaten path of my belle France. Enjoy it here the Church of Saint Melaine, nice indeed.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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.

%d bloggers like this: