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.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.