The 1000+ Year Old Church of Tremolat, Perigord, France
proudly presents:proudly presents:
The 1,000 + year old, historicThe 1,000 + year old, historic
Church of Saint NicholasChurch of Saint Nicholas,,
TrTréémolatmolat,, PPéérigordrigord, France, France
written bywritten by:: Fergus DucharmeFergus Ducharme,, assisted by:assisted by: JoemarieJoemarie AcallarAcallar && NiloNilo JimenoJimeno with photos by:with photos by: Vincent leVincent le PoittevinPoittevin
The tiny village of Trémolat is in the
Périgord Region of the Dordogne
Département in southwestern France
about 450 kilometers from Paris.
Our Heritage Ratings are NOT a reflection of the quality of the attraction, nor a review of the visit! They are a very subjective
assessment of the historic interest of the specific location or attraction. We only assign a rating to Churches, historic buildings
& other locations that we have actually visited & reported on for either historicphilippines.com or oldphilippines.com.
The first historical mention of a Church built
in Trémolat was a reference to a church
having been built on the site of the current
Church in 852 and it was named the
Church of Saint Cybard. It was a church
that was part of the Abbey of St Cybard of
This original Church was subsequently
completely destroyed during the Norman
raids of the second half of the 9th Century.
It was only during the second quarter of the
12th century that the Monks undertook to
rebuild the Church on the ruins of its
predecessor. This is the church that stands
in that location today. The Monks of St
Cybard (members of the Benedictine
Order) were involved in the operations of
the Church until the 100 Years War; 1337–
1453 (116 years).
The Hundred Years' War, a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453, pitted the rulers of
the Kingdom of England against the House of Valois for control of the French Throne. Each
side drew many allies into the fighting.
The war had its roots in a dynastic disagreement dating back to the time of William the
Conqueror, who became King of England in 1066 while retaining possession of the Duchy of
Normandy in France. As the rulers of Normandy and other lands on the continent, the English
kings owed feudal homage to the King of France. In 1337, Edward III of England refused to
pay homage to Philip VI of France, leading the French King to claim confiscation of Edward's
lands in Aquitaine.
Edward responded by declaring himself to be the rightful King of France rather than Philip, a
claim dating to 1328 when Edward's uncle, Charles IV of France died without a direct male
heir. Edward was the closest male relative of the dead king, as son of Isabella of France who
was a daughter of Philip IV of France and a sister of Charles IV. But instead, the dead king's
cousin, Philip VI, the son of Philip IV's younger brother, Charles, Count of Valois, had become
King of France in accordance with Salic Law, which disqualified the succession of males
descended through female lines.
The question of legal succession to the French crown was central to the war over generations
of English and French claimants.
Historians commonly divide the war into 3 phases separated by
truces: the Edwardian Era War (1337–1360), the Caroline War
(1369 – 1389), the Lancastrian War (1415–1453), which saw
the slow decline of English fortunes after the appearance of
Joan of Arc in 1429.
Contemporary European conflicts directly related to this conflict
included the War of the Breton Succession (1341–1364),
the Castillian Civil War (1366–1369), the War of the Two Peters
(1356–1375) in Aragon, and the 1383 – 1385 Crisis in Portugal.
Later historians invented the term "Hundred Years' War" as
a periodization to encompass all of these events, thus
constructing the longest military conflict in history.
The war owes its historical significance to multiple factors. By its end, feudal armies had
been largely replaced by professional troops, and aristocratic dominance had yielded to a
democratisation of the manpower and weapons of armies. Although primarily a dynastic
conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. It saw the
wider introduction of weapons and tactics that supplanted the feudal armies where the
use of heavy cavalry had dominated. The first standing armies in Western Europe since
the time of the Western Roman Empire originated during the war, composed largely of
commoners and thus helping to change their role in warfare.
With respect to the belligerents, English political forces over time came to oppose the
costly venture; while the dissatisfaction of English nobles, resulting from the loss of their
continental landholdings, became a factor leading to the civil wars known as the War of
the Roses (1455–1487). In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and
bandit free-companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically.
The church, despite its age, is a true work of art. As is typical with Churches of this vintage &
of future years they are formed in the form of a Latin Cross..
The total length of this church is 46 meters; it is only 6.5 meters wide. The length of the transept
is 18 meters.
There are several parts of a church.
The NAVE is the main part of the church where the congregation sits.
The AISLES are the sides of the church which may run along the side of
The TRANSEPT is an area which crosses the nave near the top of the
church. This makes the church shaped like a cross, which is a symbol of
the belief that Jesus died on the cross.
The CHANCEL leads up to the Altar at the top of the church. The altar is
in the SANCTUARY. The word “SANCTUARY” means “sacred place”.
The ALTAR is usually at the EAST end of the church. People in the
church sit facing the altar. We say that the church “faces east”.
Churches will also have a tower or steeple, usually at the west end. If
the church has a transept the tower may be above the centre of the
Importantly, on September 4th, 1913 the Church was declared a French National Monument.
Over the entrance of the church is a niche holding a statue of the
Blessed Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus. This statue is said to date
back to the 18th century. The statue has also been named a French
National Monument. And the bell tower soars 27 meters above the
As we move up the nave towards the sanctuary we can see a confessional that is said to
have donated to the church by:Charles-Guillaume d'Alesme in the 18th century (sometime
between 1711 and 1738) The date is quite uncertain. And very close by on the wall is a
painting of St Cybard at prayer.
On the walls of the Transept are a series of late 14th and early 14th century wall paintings
Trémolat is a small village of only 500 or 600 inhabitants, yet they have two churches. The
second church is located within the grounds of the cemetery. This church, also 12th
century, is a fascinating contrast to the Church of Saint Nicolas. It is very small, and has a
lovely roman style facade with ornate stonework around the doorway. The rear part of the
church was rebuilt in the 15th . It is a Chapel dedicated to Saint Hilaire and has recently
been renovated by its parishioners.
We want to thank the following for their contributions to this article:
Photos provided by: Vincent le Poittevin,
Other materials and some photos provided by: www.wikipedia.org
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