Church of Saint Melaine of Morlaix!

And now lovely Morlaix by the bay. It has several monuments and you can read on them in my posts, however, feel that the best monuments needs a post on their own. Therefore, here is the Church of Saint Melaine. This is an update of an older post, hope you enjoy it as I.

The Church of Saint Melaine is of flamboyant Gothic style (15C) dedicated to Melaine de Rennes. The Priory of Sainte-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.

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In the second half of the 15C, the population of the parish grew very fast. The Church of Saint 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.

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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.

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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:

The city of Morlaix on its heritage: https://www.ville.morlaix.fr/VIVRE-A-MORLAIX/Tourisme/A-la-decouverte-de-la-Ville/La-balade-patrimoniale

The Bay of Morlaix tourist office on its heritage: https://www.baiedemorlaix.bzh/fr/s-inspirer/morlaix-vibrez-avec-cette-cite-singuliere-de-bretagne/

The Finistére dept 29 Tourist office on Morlaix: https://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/article/morlaix

The Bretagne region tourist office on Morlaix: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/pink-granite-coast-morlaix-bay/morlaix/

And there you go folks, a nice and  lovely thing to see in 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!!!

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