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Report 1982: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 3 Northern Finistère

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 13 of 32: Parish closes - La Roche-Maurice

photo by MAW

Carvings of saints below the rood screen

La Roche-Maurice is dominated by the remains of Roc'h Morven Castle on a rocky promontory above the town.

It is a pleasant small town with a large square which could have been the castle bailey and another square by the church. It has many old stone houses and an excellent bakers.

The church no longer has a triumphal arch or calvary. There is a large ornate ossuary with pillars and empty niches in panels under the pillars. It has a stoup with an ankou above.

The church is a massive building with decorative bands of different sized stones. It has a square tower with two balconies supporting a short spire. The south doorway has carved arches with vines and statues. There is an old stone stoup and two doors into the church.

Immediately inside is an old stone font. There is a small font at the back near a confessional box which is unused and blocked by chairs and old pews. In the opposite corner is a wooden bier.

The very ornate rood screen is painted red, green and grey. Christ, Mary and another figure are on the top. Below are carvings of the twelve apostles facing the nave. On the side facing the high altar are carvings of saints. The underside of the main bar of the rood screen is highly carved and supported by red and green mythical beasts, with small carved figures between them. Finely carved banisters separate the choir and have small heads carved between the tops. Below are red and green pillars with small panels between them which have flower motifs with human faces and bodies.

The high altar is carved from dark wood and has gilt cherubs and decorative gilt flower patterns on the front panels. Above is a massive stained glass window. On either side are carvings of Mary and the Baby Jesus and three men on the other side. There is a small mass table in front. The north aisle has a small stone altar. The south aisle has no altar but there is a row of seven old wooden choir seats with arms and carved scrolls on the back. Above are two old processional banners.

The ceilings are painted blue wood and the nave and choir have angels painted on the ceiling. There is a very highly carved wooden frieze round the top of the walls with oxen ploughing and pulling a cart, faces, angels holding scrolls. There are decorative carved heads above.

The pulpit is dark wood with carved roundels with carvings of saints. The sounding board has a dove carved on the underside and angel with trumpet above.

In the north aisle by the rood screen are painted statues of St Margaret and the dragon. In the south aisle is a woman with a book and a smaller child. Both have highly decorated canopies and are supported by a yellow animal that could be a lion.

There are carved plaster scenes of the cross on the walls. There is a small carved doorway in the north wall leading to the sacristy.

The side windows have white leaf designs on a pale brown background with green, red or yellow motifs around the border.

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