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The Templars question at Loctudy

The "Templars question" ("question des Templiers") [b_vill01] at Loctudy is very discussed.

The environment is a priori favorable to the establishment of Templars at Loctudy: Quimper, Penhars, Locmaria, the island Ile-Chevalier in the Their river (Pont L'Abbé), Kerity (Penmarch) have according to any probability of the templar vestiges. It is also advisable to note the existence of the Romain way carrying out from Quimper to Penmarch, passing by Pont L'Abbé (Bridge-The Abbot). The templars sites are more frequent on the Romain axes of communication. The "pattée" crosses, of an everyday usage at the Middle Age, are not a prerogative of Templars.

However, no historical or archaeological proof comes to support the existence of Templars at Loctudy. The Saint-Tudy church of Loctudy is the only building which, according to some authors, would present be-saying templar vestiges. It do not exist templar commandery in Loctudy. The port of Loctudy, for as much that there existed at that time and at the current place, was qualified, without any proof, of templar port.

Many authors discussed the templars question at Loctudy. Let us quote among these authors E. du Crest of Villeneuve, A. du Châtellier, M. de la Borderie, the canon Peyron, the abbot Guillotin de Corson, G.P. de Ritalongi, Chevallier de Fréminville, Albert le Grand [b_alber01], Ogée.

A. du Châtellier, in its work "La Baronnie du Pont (Pont-L'Abbé), ancien évêché de Cornouailles" (about the Pont lords in brittany Cornwall bishop lands) which appeared in 1858, indicates that the house of Pont-L'Abbé (Bridge-The Abbot) took its true importance following the dismemberment of the powerful corporation of Templars, and which it rose on their ruins using the properties which had belonged to those, as its name indicates it even Pont-l'Abbé (n_01). The parish of Loctudy, of which the Pont-l'Abbé raised later, was not really founded that in XIVe century, after the dispersion of Templars, to which the old one abbey of Loctudy, devastated previously by the Norman ones, had been allotted with its goods, to be made up as a priory of the Templar Order.

In 1894, G.P. de Ritalongi, in favour of the presence of Templars at Loctudy, indicates that the origin of the church of Loctudy goes up at the end of Ve century. This church was rebuilt by the care of the Pont barons, in the medium of XIIe century. It was given by these lords to the brittany Cornwall bishop [Rainaud] at the beginning of XIIIe century. The brittany Cornwall bishop would have made the donation of the church of Loctudy to the Templars. The church of Loctudy would be former to the installation of Templars: they would not have built it but would have had. The monastery of Templars was, appears it, in the island Ile-Chevalier (of there the name of this one). They had there a stronghold independent of the Pont baronnie. The ruins which the inhabitants of the Ile-Chevalier call "the Gradlon castle" are, of not to doubt, those of a castle raised on the ruins of the monastery, castle-extremely of Templars. Templars remained in Loctudy until towards 1308, time of their persecution. It is impossible that the Pont barons, towards 1308, time which agrees with dissolution of the Temple Order, could, without complaint of the bishop, to make set up Loctudy in parish and to seize the goods of the abbey. The problem of the fastening of the island Ile-Chevalier to the stronghold of the baronnie at the same time is similar.

Always according to G.P. de Ritalongi, some arguments could consolidate the presence of Templars at Loctudy. Turrets, the interior provision, sculptures, of the church of Loctudy [Saint Tudy] are of an Eastern style which would indicate its rehandling by an emigrating Order. Several interior capitals carry carved the pattée cross, known as Eastern. On two other capitals, one notices two figures of men, of which that of right-hand side must be a knight of the Temple, according to his haubert [this assertion is of course subject to caution]. One also sees the Eastern cross of Templiers charged of a naked sword and the point in top, in order to indicate that they were regarded as first defenders of the religion. With the second pillar on the right of the chorus, one sees several characters upright and armed. Close to the St-Joseph vault, is a capital having at its base, two horseshoes, Eastern crosses and a leopard. This leopard, of the remainder, meets on several bases. On right-hand side of the same furnace bridge of St-Joseph, supporting a small arcade, a base of pillar Maltese crosses (Eastern) tangled up are entirely made. In side, the vault of the Sacred Heart is here with its granite furnace bridge, with the weapons of the Penfenteunyo of Kervéréguin counts. The base of one of the pillars of this vault offers two characters in an installation improper, image of the impurity. The frontage of the church, remade in XVIIe century and of enough bad taste, does not offer anything in particular, if it is not that it had happiness, at the time of recent restoration [of 1882 to 1888 by the architect Paul Goût], to preserve its canopies on which are seen the pattées crosses of Templars.

In 1897, G.P. de Ritalongi, in "the enfeus of the church of Loctudy", indicates that the church of Loctudy was [re]build by the care of the Pont barons. They made gift with the brittany Cornwall bishop of, with stipulation that the appointment of the chaplains would be attributed to the bishop and to the Rhuys abbot (1223). The bishop made of it the handing-over to the Templars [which in] made the restorations who give him the specific judaïc style to their constructions. They had to create the apse and them three vaults of the circumference which, to examining well, were added in a deferred action.

According to Chevalier de Fréminville, the church of Loctudy would have been given to the Temple Order by the Brittany duke Conan III.

The "Templars question" at Loctudy raises the Templars question at Pont l'Abbé. Some members of the Pont lords were they affiliated with the Temple Order ? Being given the promiscuity of the island Ile-Chevalier, that is possible, but nothing indicates it.

The assumption of the presence of Templars at Loctudy is strongly disputed by E. du Crest de Villeneuve in 1897, which fustigates in particular the note of R.P. de Ritalongi on the "enfeus of the church of Loctudy ". In connection with two assertions contained in this memory, reserves were expressed. M. de Ritalongi says that the bishop of Quimper made given from the church of Loctudy to Templars, and that those, finding this building incomplete, built the chorus and the vaults absidales. However, there is not any historical document noting the passage of Templars at Loctudy. Chorus and vaults absidales are in authentic style of XIIe century and cannot date from XIIIe or of XIVe. They are not of judaic style, like says it M. de Ritalongi, but of style absolutely Breton, as one finds of them specimens in the apses of Landévennec and of Saint-Gildas-of-Rhuys. It is true that it is claimed that the Bishop of Quimper Raynaud, put in possession of the collegial of Loctudy by the Pont lord in 1220, would have been able well to give itself this church to the knights [of the Temple]. But no proof did not [is] bring. The Knights of the Temple were "apanagés" in Brittany by the Dukes Conan III and Conan IV, from 1140 to 1160. Their immense goods were completely given at the order of Saint Jean, after their suppression in 1308. However the charter of 1222, quoted higher (intervened between Herve du Pont and the brittany Cornwall Bishop) says that the predecessors of Herve du Pont, always enjoyed the goods of Saint-Tudy, since there spoliation of the monks [following the devastation of the abbey by the Norman ones]. Finally from 1223, the brittany Cornwall bishop took again direct patronage, the administration of the church of Saint-Tudy. There is thus no place for Templars. Remainder, the files of Saint Jean, do not mention any Loctudy. From the archaeological point of view, no archaeologist never found trace in this charming Roman church of this judaic style would be saying specific to constructions of Templars.

Finally, Guillotin de Corson makes a synthesis of the "Templars question" at Loctudy. It is of notoriety - wrote at one time M. Anatole de Barthelemy - which the Pont lords had most of what Templars had had in Loctudy; this fact is admitted by M. du Châtellier in his study on the châtellenie of Pont-l'Abbé. M. de Fréminville speaks about the donation of Loctudy made by the duke of Brittany [Conan III] to the Templars in 1187. The tradition brings back to Templars the origin of the church of Loctudy. But this opinion, allotting to the knights of the Temple the construction of the beautiful church of Loctudy, seems abandoned today: "Nothing in the world - has just written M. du Crest de Villeneuve - cannot establish even a presumption in favour of the establishment of Templars at Loctudy. We sought greedily in all the works published on the spoliation of Templars, like in the files of Paris and Poitiers, all the documents of the priory from Aquitaine being able to inform us on the question of Loctudy and that of the convent of Cordeliers from Quimper. We do not have found anything.".

In Morbihan, between Quimper and Pontivy, the [templar] commandery of Saint-Tugdual at the locality "the Vault of Croisty", preserved its beautiful vault in T, decorated sculptures animals and scenes of chasse.

Bibliographie :
See page bibliography.

Notes :
(n_01) This insinuation (fuzzy) indicates that the name of Pont-l'Abbé is in relation to the (destroyed) abbey of Loctudy. According to Du Chatellier, in spite of the agreements of 1220-1223 with the brittany Cornwall bishop, the Pont lords would have monopolized into 1308 the goods (clergymen) of Loctudy held before by the Templars.

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