Marmoutier Abbey

Tours, France

Marmoutier Abbey, also known as the Marmoutiers, was an early monastery outside Tours. In its later days it followed the Benedictine order as an influential monastery with many dependencies. The abbey was founded by Saint Martin of Tours (316-397), circa 372, after he had been made Bishop of Tours in 371. Martin's biographer, Sulpicius Severus, affirms that Martin withdrew from the press of attention in the city to live in Marmoutier (Majus Monasterium), the monastery he founded several miles from Tours on the opposite shore of the Loire River.

In 853 the abbey was pillaged and destroyed by Normans, who killed over 100 monks. During the years shortly after 1000 AD, the abbey grew considerably, becoming one of the richest in Europe. In the wake of the Norman Conquest the abbey acquired patronage of churches in England. In 1096 Pope Urban II consecrated its new chapel, and preached the First Crusade. Pope Calixtus II preached crusade again in 1119, convincing Count Foulques V d'Anjou to take part and leading to his subsequent role as King of Jerusalem. In 1162 Pope Alexander III, who came to reside in Tours after being chased from Rome by Frederick Barbarossa, consecrated the monastery's new Chapel Saint Benoit.

The abbey eventually grew too small for its inhabitants, and was completely rebuilt at the start of the thirteenth century under the leadership of Abbot Hugues des Roches. In the following century its abbot Gérard du Puy became cardinal-nephew to the last of the Avignon popes, Gregory XI. In 1562 the abbey was again pillaged, this time by Huguenot Protestants at the start of the Wars of Religion. Again however it recovered.

The abbey was closed down in 1799 during the French Revolution, and within a few decades the bulk of its buildings had been demolished. Today its grounds contain a private school, and of its former structures only a few ruins remain.

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Details

Founded: ca. 372
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marido Renaud (3 years ago)
Site of Marmoutier and its archaeological research concerning the abbey and the tomb of St Martin. Guided tour to be arranged with the tourist office. Very interesting. This year: activities and reconstructions of Gallic Roman battles against Germans. Demonstrations of the trades of the time and gastronomy. A great first which was a great success.?
Sylvain (3 years ago)
Accueilli par Mme Berruer (secrétaire de direction), avec ces propos : "Je n'ai pas à vous respecter, je ne vous considère pas comme un adulte". Depuis quand seuls les adultes ont le droit au respect ? Comment une telle personne peut travailler dans un établissement scolaire ? Sauvez vos enfants, évitez cette école !
someone (3 years ago)
Great
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