Saint-Riquier Abbey Church

Saint-Riquier, France

Saint-Riquier gained fame for its abbey, founded about 625 by Riquier (Richarius), son of the governor of the town, when the town was within Austrasia in the Merovingian Kingdom. It was enriched by King Dagobert I and prospered in the early 9th century Carolingian Empire under the abbacy of Angilbert, son-in-law of Charlemagne. In the year 881 Northmen burned the abbey and destroyed much of what was Centula.

The monastery was rebuilt in the Middle Ages on a smaller scale. The abbey was part of the diocese of Amiens in Ponthieu. The early counts of Ponthieu originally were styled advocatus of the abbey of Saint Riquier and 'castellan' of Abbeville. The counts of Ponthieu enrolled their younger sons who were going into religious vocations at the abbey. Count Enguerrand I placed his sons, Fulk, later abbot of Forest-l'Abbaye, and Guy, later the bishop of Amiens, in Saint Riquier for their education. Their teacher was abbot Enguerrand 'the Wise' (d. 9 December 1045), under whose rule Saint Riquier enjoyed its golden age.

Today's 18th century buildings are occupied by an ecclesiastical seminary. The present church, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is a magnificent example of Flamboyant Gothic architecture, and has a richly sculptured front on the west, surmounted by a square tower. In the interior the fine vaulting, the Renaissance font and carved stalls, and the frescoes in the treasury are especially noteworthy. Among other valuable relics, the treasury possesses a copper cross said to be the work of Saint Eloi (Eligius).

In 1536 Saint-Riquier repulsed an attack by the Germans, during its defense the women especially distinguishing themselves. In 1544 it was burned by the English, an event that marks the beginning of its decline.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ósmy Kontynent (18 months ago)
Amazing place with great history!
Nicolas M (2 years ago)
Magnificent church, almost a secret kept in the north
Dave Lowstuff (3 years ago)
Beautiful example of Gothic abbey in a very pleasant village. Rustic bread from close by bakery to die for. All in all a very pleasant surprise hiatus on our journey.
Simonne (3 years ago)
Just wow. We made a quick stop to see this incredible 18th centenary gothic church and it was well worth it.
Kretox (5 years ago)
Not too many things to see inside but still pretty nice catedral. Not worth special visit but worth staying for 5min during a trip.
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