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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 20 of 32: Church of St Etienne, Ploujean

photo by MAW

Angel and carved frieze

Ploujean is one of the hidden small gems in Brittany. It doesn’t feature in the guide books and there is little information on the web. It is just north of Morlaix and we drove through it on the way to Cairn of Barnenez. It looked a pleasant place so we decided to stop.

According to the information board, the Church Of St Etienne ‘was built between 11-17thC with polychromatic wooden statues from the 15thC. It is well worth visiting.

There are no pillars in the massive nave. The round topped arches just continue down to the floor. Pillars support pointed arches in the choir. The high altar is a table with pink and blue carvings. This colour scheme continues round the paneling in the choir. There is a small wooden box containing the host on the east end wall. Stained glass windows are modern with statues of the Virgin and John the Baptist on either side.

The side aisles have blue wooden ceilings with red and grey ribs and a decorative black frieze with different patterns of leaves around the base of the ribs. There are carved bosses and heads of men and children praying. There is a carved wooden frieze round the top of the walls. The north aisle is closed off as a sacristy. This has an ornate painted frieze with carved angels and the wall above the arch is painted.

There is a massive carved wood organ in the balcony above the west door. This is supported by two red painted pillars with gilt scrolls on the top. The front of the balcony has paintings separated by carvings of ‘naughty’ ladies.

There is no pulpit or stations of the cross on the walls. There are a few statues on the side walls. The font in the back corner has a carved canopy over it.

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