During the 1490s, when this church was probably built, voyages of discovery explored the New World, France lost all its territories in Italy and the Renaissance was in full swing. It’s unlikely that events on the international stage made a lot of difference to the builders, or even that they knew about them. Their concern was to rebuild their parish church, which evidence shows had collapsed around 1490.
An archaeological survey a few years ago discovered that the present building was constructed on top of two others, 10th and 12th-13th century. The fact that the inhabitants built not one, but three successive churches shows their attachment to retaining their own place of worship. The present church ceased to be a parish church (our house is within the old parish) some time ago and is now a cemetery chapel.
For the past 10 years, we have taken part in an association to restore and safeguard l’église de Teysseroles, which was in a poor state of repair. This March the works began, after a number of delays due to bureaucracy and Covid, and they should finish by the end of August.
Yesterday evening, we attended the association’s AGM, our first meeting since March last year, 15 months ago.
It felt a little odd to sit indoors with 14 other people. Normally, we hold the AGM in a room in the Mairie, but the current situation required that we use the larger salle des fêtes (village hall) instead, duly masked and socially distanced. Wearing masks didn’t make the proceedings easy to follow at times, but we got the essential points.
Although work had been carried out on the roof in recent decades, the rest of the structure was in a poor and potentially dangerous state. A blocked up former archway into a side chapel (now demolished) threatened to collapse, taking the rest of the wall with it.
The priority was to deal with the immediate danger before tackling the rest. M. Morales, Co-President of the Association, has kindly given me permission to reproduce some of the photos below.
The church is a Monument Historique. An architect from Bâtiments de France, which protects historic sites and monuments, is overseeing the work, which a specialist firm is carrying out. The idea is to return the building to a state as close as possible to the original. This means making some guesses about the colour of the interior walls.
A specialist glassmaker has restored the stained-glass windows, which were also in a parlous state. I haven’t yet seen them myself, but below is another picture from M. Morales, showing them before installation.
The association is now in its 11th year, and we have raised more than 30,000 € during that time, mainly from takings at our annual fête. We have donated 25,000 € to the Commune de Parisot, which owns the building and is responsible for around 40% of the cost of the works. The rest comes from governmental, regional and departmental subsidies.
It’s exciting to see the project coming together after more than a decade and a great deal of work. To celebrate the inauguration of the restored building, the association plans a fête on 19th September (a Sunday). If you live in the area, note the date. We hope the weather will be good.
In other news…
The weather has finally turned after a very damp, miserable and chilly May. I took my first swim on Monday (7th June). Last year, it was a whole month earlier, during a particularly radiant spring, which happened to coincide with Lockdown #1.
We have devoted a lot of effort to getting the garden back into shape. At this time of year, it grows when you turn your back, especially after so much rain. It’s pleasing to see that nearly everything has recovered from the week of damaging frosts in April. We have noticed, though, that certain plants are blooming later than usual.
I’m also pleased to say that the boiler, which we had fixed three weeks ago after a long, tedious and cold saga, is still working as it should. Ten days without hot water is not a lot of fun. We began to realise how it must have been to live in this house before running water and central heating. We are spoilt, I suppose.
Finally, do you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned our encounter with a pig? It was someone’s pet and frequently escaped. A farmer neighbour drove it off his land through the field behind our house.
Piggy, as we imaginatively christened him (although it could be a sow), decided he liked this route and came back a couple of evenings running. He is the size of a small car, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of him blundering into our garden and squashing my plants or toppling into the swimming pool. Happily, he was content to pursue his evening perambulation without incident. We haven’t seen him for a while, so hopefully his owners have secured the pigsty at last.
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