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Report 1981: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 2 Morbihan

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 19 of 27: Area to the North and East of Plumelec

photo by MAW

Malestroit

Guéhenno is the only example of a complete Parish Close in Morbihan. It is a beautifully maintained settlement of old granite houses from 16 & 17thC. The church dates from 1859 and has a splendid carved calvary from the mid 16thC. During the Revolution, soldiers set fire to the church and broke up the calvary, using the heads of the statues to play boules. The villagers gathered up the pieces and hid them in the ossuary. In the mid 19thC, the local priest and his assistant arranged for the heads to be re-carved and replaced. You can still see the joins on some of them.

Around the bottom of the calvary, standing on a step are statues of the four major prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Above are scenes showing the crowning with thorns, the flagellation and Jesus carrying the cross under the watchful eye of mounted Roman soldiers.

In front of the calvary is a cockerel on a post. Behind is the Ossuary Chapel which has three rooms with the remains of a tomb in one.

Manoir De Lemay is about 2km north east of Guéhenno on the Josselin road. There are the remains of a 16thC château with bread oven, well and circular dove cote. It is now a gallery/exhibition centre, open Wednesday to Sunday.

Cruguel is a small settlement 4km south east of Guéhenno. It is ignored by the guide books and there is little information on the web. We found out about it from a leaflet about things to do and see around Josselin. It has some beautiful old buildings including a house dated 1675, which had holes for pigeons around the top. St Briec fountain feeds a large lavoir which has granite sides separating the different washing stations. It is allegedly still used although could do with some clean water. It is a busy place with bakery, small supermarket and a couple of bars.

Lizio another 8-10km to the east is also off the usual tourist beat. It had been a wealthy linen town, but is now a sleepy village. It supports a restaurant and bar but no shops. There is a large main square surrounding the 17thC church with 17 & 18thC stone houses. The Marie is a splendid building. The small fountain of St Lubin has a large lavoir. The 18thC bread oven on the edge of the village was rebuilt in 1993 and is still used on special occasions.

Malestroit is a picturesque town on the Oust Canal about 30km east of Plumelec. There is plenty of parking in the main square. The town has a lot of character. The streets are narrow and winding and lined with 16thC stone and timber framed houses. There is a large 19thC mill on the river. The church is large with a carved stone arch and highly carved orange doors. It was undergoing massive restoration inside in September 2011 and we could only go into the north aisle. A huge wooden pulpit suspended from the wall with no obvious means of entry intrigued us.

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