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Quick Facts on Anzy-Le-Duc Church

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Anzy-le-Duc Church Anzy-le-Duc Priory Church of Our Lady of the Assumption Église Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption
Anzy-le-Duc, Burgundy71110
Anzy-le-Duc  locality
Burgundy  state
France  country
Europe  continent
Main date(s)
10th-11th C
46.321060° N, 4.061959° E
Opening hours
Usually open during daylight hours
03 85 25 03 07

Historical Timeline of Anzy-Le-Duc Church

Foundation of the Anzy-le-Duc Priory by a local noble couple, Letbald and Altaric. The first prior is a prominent monk from Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe named Hugh, later known as St. Hugh of Poitiers. Thanks to Hugh's involvement with the creation of the Abbey of Cluny, Anzy-le-Duc will enjoy a close relationship with that great foundation.
St. Hugh of Poitiers dies at his priory in Anzy-le-Duc and is buried in the crypt. His relics attract many pilgrims.
The tomb of St. Hugh of Poitiers at Anzy-le-Duc Church is descrated by Huguenots.
Anzy-le-Duc Church is set on fire during the Wars of Religion.
Lightning damages the bell tower.
The priory of Anzy-le-Duc is dissolved and the church is abandoned.
Four inhabitants of Anzy-le-Duc buy the abandoned priory church.
The former priory church, closed in 1789, is once again in use as the village parish church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.
Anzy-le-Duc Church is classified as a historic building.

Description of Anzy-Le-Duc Church

Standing at the edge of the village overlooking a meadow, Anzy-le-Duc Church has a harmonius appearance. Its bell tower is octagonal, resembling some of the campaniles of Rome. The area in the back of the church is privately owned, so it is unfortunately difficult to get a good view of the chevet.

But on the south of the church is an enclosed, grassy courtyard surrounded by some surviving priory buildings. From the courtyard there is a nice view of the church's south exterior, which is decorated with a fine collection of corbels featuring busy and sometimes suggestive human figures. They are difficult to see in great detail without binoculars or a zoom lens.

The attractive Romanesque interior features three aisles supported on round arches, and a groin vault. The apse is covered in damaged 19th-century murals.

The nave features Romanesque capitals with a wondrous variety of figurative carvings. There are some familiar biblical scenes: Samson and the Lion; Daniel in the Lion's Den (in which the lions lick Daniel affectionately); and St. Michael the Archangel battling the Devil.

But most of the narrative capitals are symbolic and fantastical. There are beard-pullers, acrobats, a devil playing a flute while conjoined twins dance, monkeys, lions, and seated humans pouring out the Four Rivers of Paradise.

Holly Hayes
July 16, 2011

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