Another beauty at Commana!!!

And going right along updating these wonderful older posts and seeing these beauties of my lovely Bretagne is simply awesome! I thank you for following me in this quest and hope you enjoy it as much as I . Let me tell you a bit more on beautiful enclosure monument of Commana!!!

The enclosures or enclos in French are religious monuments that go beyond religion due to their enormous architecture showing and the huge historical significant to the region of Brittany. I went to see the parish enclosure of Commana, in the Finistére dept 29.  Commana  is part of the Regional Natural Park of Armorique and benefits from the label “Town of Rural Heritage of Brittany”. It is located on the northern slopes of the Monts d’Arrée and on the Haut-Léon area, on the edge of Cornouaille.  The town is situated on a mound facing the north slope of the mountains of Monts d’Arrée. Two coastal rivers, the Élorn to the west and the Penzé to the east serve as part of limits to the territory, separating Commana from Sizun to the west and Plounéour-Ménez to the east. The mountains of Monts d’Arrée separate Commana from Saint-Rivoal and Botmeur to the south, even if the town boundaries do not coincide exactly with the ridge line; To the north, the boundary with Saint-Thégonnec passes through the plateau of Leon without relying on any notable topographic features.

The name of Commana would come from the Breton words muc (valley) or Komm (trough) and Sainte Anne, due to the local tradition, of a trough of stone containing a statue of Sainte Anne which one would have been found at the site of the Church (but which would in fact be a Statue of Venus that the inhabitants would have Christianized in Sainte Anne). This would be the origin of the cult of St. Anne in the parish.

A bit of history I like

A commandery was created in the 12C at the place called Kaerfornerit by the Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem implanted in the neighboring parish of La Feuillée. Kaerfornèrit, with about twenty outfits, were under the command of the commander; the last of these villages is reported in 1160 as belonging already, to the Knights of Saint John of Jèrusalem; It is called in the Charter “Kaerfornerit in Commana”.  The Bois de la Roche, in Commana, which embraced in its fief the majority of this parish, was formerly of Penhoët. In the 17C, the Lord of the Bois de la Roche acquired the portion of Penhoët stretching into Commana as well as all the other fiefs of this parish which did not belong to him yet, and thus brought together the entire parish, which he called “Seigneury of Commanan” and which he paid homage directly to the king. Note that in a relatively modern era, the manor of the Bois de la Roche in Commana was called Château de Bouvans, named after its last owners.

Commana is on an ancient axis of communication. It seems certain that the Roman road from Carhaix to Plouguerneau is directed by the vicinity of Huelgoat by Comanna, Guimiliau, Lampaul-Guimiliau. The royal road became the N164 which connected Ancenis to Landerneau, then Brest, whose traditional route passed through Huelgoat, La Feuillée, Commana, Sizun and Landerneau. It was in 1973 that this axis was downgraded to the axis from Carhaix to Châteaulin, now expressway. Since the 16C at least, the activity linked to flax and hemp, probably thanks to the impulse aroused by the monks of the abbey of Relec located in the neighboring parish of Plounéour-Ménez, has developed in Commana, allowing among other the social ascent of the juloded and the financing of the construction of the parish enclosure. At the end of the 18C, a veritable canvas industry was created in Commana, but the wars of the French revolution and the Empire ruined this nascent industry, which remained until the end of the 19C. The use of slates has once constituted a very important activity in the Center-Finistère. Confined to the 18C in the vicinity of Châteaulin, it gradually developed eastward following the Aulne Valley and to the north in the Monts d’Arrée mountains, mainly to Commana, Sizun and Plounéour-Ménez . Production reached its maximum level in 1923,, still sought nowadays by historical Monuments renovations. Production reached its peak in the 1950’s to 1960’s, then rapidly declining under the effects of competition from the slate quarries of Trélazé , then foreign, Spanish especially. Today the extraction has stopped.

Things to see in Commana are: the main thing here and a must to see is the Parish Enclosure, a must to see in my Brittany.  The parish enclosure, built around the Church of Saint-Derrien. This architectural ensemble built in the 16-17C is considered one of the most beautiful in Brittany. The Church, the funeral chapel, the enclosure itself, the Calvary and the Arc de Triomphe.


The parish Church of Commana is dedicated to Saint Derrien, a Saint who lived in the 4C.. Legend has it that upon his return from the Holy Land, he rescued Prince Élorn from drowning, who later gave his name to the coastal river. Refusing the land offered in gratitude for this good deed, the Saint demanded from this prince the construction of a Church, that of Commana it was at the end of the 16C, in 1592, that the construction of the parish enclosure of Commana, the Church, was undertaken. Dating back to 1645. It comprises a five-span nave with its lower sides as wide as the central nave. The chorus ends with a three-sided bedside. All naves are panelled in cradle , all in Renaissance architecture style.


This porch was built from 1645. Three dates listed in three different locations allow us to say that it was built in three separate major stages (1645, 1650, 1653). The central niche housing the statue of Saint Derrien is surmounted by a pediment itself topped by a lantern. Inside the porch, twelve niches with balusters form a hedge of honor leading to two doors separated from a thomas with a blessing from wherever it comes, the visitor will be impressed by this steeple, high of 57 meters, perched on one of the highest hills of Leon, at 262 meters above sea level, Supported by eight buttresses adorned with mouldings and cornices, this pointed steeple, straight up to the sky, cohabits with the shale and serrated Roc’h of the ridges of Monts d’Arrée. Overcoming a massive tower, this pointed arrow devoid of pinnacles can only impose a respect for a admiring contemplation. The date, 1592, is engraved at its base.

Dating from 1701, the Sacristy complements the Church harmoniously, integrating perfectly with the rest of the building. The altarpiece of St. Anne is a masterpiece of 17C Baroque art. So complete, accurate and illustrated, it is difficult to describe it. The Church of Commana also houses two other altarpieces that do not possess the beauty of the first. These two altarpieces are that of the Rosary and that of the Five wounds. Located south of the choir, these two altarpieces are based on the same architectural pattern as the altarpiece of St. Anne with a central scene, framed by two niches, all placed under the gaze of the eternal Father.


The Baptismal Chapel dating back to the 18C are located in the northwestern corner of the Church. The baptismal fountain dated 1656, is arranged in the heart of a fluted column, adorned with gadroons and surmounted by a five-part wooden canopy covered by five pilasters which are backed by two cardinal virtues (Justice and Temperance) and the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity). Above the canopy, balusters support the dome overhung by the statue of Jesus holding the Cross, supported by three caryatids. This last work dates from 1683 .


This monumental, Arc de Triomphe overhung by three lanterns is the main entrance to the parish enclosure. Decorated with mouldings carved in stone, it housed up to 1978 two statuettes in the lateral niches. In the past, this triumphal arch was closed to a wrought iron grate dating back to the 18C. It was only open on the occasion of marriage or burial in order to pass the procession, access to the church usually by the steps located on the left of the Arc de Triomphe.


Once crossed the Arc de Triomphe, one finds, immediately on the left, the Reliquary Chapel, improperly called Ossuary. Dated from 1677 to 1687, this building is very sober, includes only one door and four windows each containing a blessed. Only crosses and spiral ramps carved from dragons adorn the façade.


There are two Calvaries in the parish enclosure. The first one located between the Arc de Triomphe and the south porch is dated 1585, however the Cross bears the date of 1742, which suggests that it replaced a cross dating from the 16C. Dating back to 1624, the second Calvary lies more in the cemetery.


Other things to see in Commana in my opinion are

The covered alley of the Mougau-Bihan, or “Tomb of the Giants” (Neolithic). is a megalithic ensemble composed of 24 large blocks of stone this monument was dated, by comparison, between 3 000 and 2 500 B.C. It is 14 meters long, and consists of juxtaposed granite walls; These pillars are from 1-1.30 meters apart from each other. The horizontal ceiling consists of four almost horizontal slabs, the fifth covering the cell at the north. The 5th Slab does not cover the burial chamber but a terminal cell called “Cella” which overlooks the south. The entrance is located in the north. Its width is less, because it is half closed by a pillar placed obliquely.

The windmills of Kerouat built from 1610 to 1910, the village comprises two water mills and their hydraulic system, the Museum of Fauna and Flora “Art and Nature” of Kervelly This museum allows to discover the animals, the flora and the minerals of the four seasons in the Mountains of Monts d’Arrée.   Fifty-nine Kanndi were recorded on the territory, the laundries in the parishes of Plounéour-Ménez, Commana and Sizun in the 18C. Located in the eponymous village, the Kanndi of Rozonoual, was an ancient property of the monks of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, was restored by the association   “Lichen ” between 2007 and 2013

 The lake of the Drennec gives you possibilities of a water course, artificial beach, pedestrian path, rest areas and picnic, camping of 50 places, tennis and petanque. A restaurant (bar-Crêprerie) is open in season. Its waters are almost free from pollution given its very upstream situation on the Élorn basin. This artificial reservoir with an area of 110 hectares, partly fuelled by Élorn and Mougau, supplies water to a part of north Finistère, including Brest Métropole, Landerneau and Landivisiau. Located on the towns of Commana and Sizun, this lake enjoys a 1st category classification for trout fishing.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must are:

The city of Commana on its heritage:

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on the enclosures such as Commana:

The Bretagne region tourist board on Commana:

The CIAP or center of interpretation of these monuments on Commana:

And two association that preserves these parish enclosures dearly and a must to read and translate from the French are:

The APREVE on Commana:

The APEVE on Commana:

And there you go folks, another wonderful historical and fascinating trip into my lovely Bretagne. Hope you enjoy this enclos of Commana as I do.

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

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