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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 26 of 32: Tréguier

photo by MAW


Tréguier is one of the few hill towns in Brittany and overlooks the wide estuaries of the River Jaundy and the River Guindy.

In the 6thC St Tudwal, one of seven founding saints of Brittany, established a monastery here which became a site of pilgrimage. It was destroyed during the first Norman invasions. The present settlement dates from 10thC when the cathedral was built. It became a busy port and the cloth trade brought prosperity to the town and it grew rapidly. The narrow streets round the Cathedral are lined with timber framed and granite houses from the 15th & 16thC.

It is a thriving little town and a pleasant place to walk round. There is a large market area outside the Cathedral with shops and eating places.

The Cathedral is supposed to be one of the finest in Brittany and its spire dominates the town. The main building of the cathedral dates from the 14/15thC. Only the Tour Hastings is left from the earlier church, and the newer church is built round it. The spire is 18thC and is built above the end of the south aisle. The open carvings are supposed to represent playing card symbols as the Loteries de Paris contributed towards the cost.

We managed to get into the Cathedral just before it closed for lunch but unfortunately not the cloisters or treasury. Entry is through the impressive south door with the massive 11thC Tour Hastings straight ahead. Architecturally this is completely different to the rest of the cathedral. It is tall and narrow and massively built with rounded arches and windows.

The chancel roof is painted with angels. The high altar has a carved wooden base with gilt above and gilt angels. There are old wooden choir seats with misericords and highly carved ends and a large carved bishop’s chair. There are three small chapels behind with altars. The four small side aisles have massive altars, each different.

The nave pillars are a mix of highly fluted, octagonal or round and many have banners hanging from them. They support pointed arches with decorative open carving above. The ceiling is vaulted. There is a large organ above the west door which is decoratively carved.

The massive 19thC tomb of St Yves is a copy of the one built by Jean V, Duke of Brittany in the 15thC which was destroyed in the Revolution. St Yves is the patron saint of lawyers and his tomb is surrounded by marble plates saying ‘Merci’. His skull and two bones are displayed in a glass reliquary box to the side.

Behind is the tomb of Jean V which was sculpted in 1945. There are other tombs in niches in the side walls and beneath the altar by the south door. There are a few statues on the walls and a massive painting. There is a double font by the south door.

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