Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Parish Enclosures: St. Thégonnec and Guimiliau

The first parish enclosure we hit was St. Thégonnec, named for a Breton saint about whom we know nothing.

Overview of the church and enclosure.

Its calvary was one of the last made, in 1610.

The upper part of a calvary has crucified Jesus with other figures. Lower down, the two crucified thieves. Not sure who the guys on horses are supposed to be. Romans?

The lower level has a mass of figures illustrating various elements of the Passion. The neat thing today is how many are dressed in contemporary 1610 clothes.

Not sure what Bible story this illustrates, but check the cod-pieces!

At St. Thégonnec, one goes into the Ossuary (now a gift shop) and down narrow stairs to a small basement to see this life-size diorama.

The date carved in the railing is 1702.

Inside the church proper is a quite amazing oratory, carved by two brothers from a nearby town.

What with Gabriel and the cherubs, we could be in Germany.


On to Guimiliau – David enters through the triumphal arch.


It has a high, knobby spire, topped by a rooster weather-vane, not a cross, which is also the case with the others. Don't know if the rooster is a Breton thing or what.


The calvary in Guimilau is a double-decker, dated in the 1580s.


The figures are 12-18 inches high.


Don't know what saint this is, but David dubs him "Gandalf."


Here we first encountered the sad Breton legend of Katell Gollet, a woman who at her lover's request, stole a consecrated wafer. Alas, her lover turned out to be Satan, and she was immediately dragged off to hell by demons. The moral of the story isn't exactly clear, but it makes a dramatic carving.

Note devil with pitchfork.

Inside this church the baptismal font is inside a quite amazing carved oak baldacchino.


The organ here dates from the 17th century, and is free-standing on a carved platform. Note that it barely clears the barrel-vaulted ceiling.


Here we first noticed carved ceiling beams, which also turned up in some of the other churches.

All the churches we visited had painted, barrel-vaulted, ceilings.

Detail of carved ceiling beam.

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