Originally known as Sancti Petri de Portu, many regard the Town Church as the Cathedral Church and the finest in the Channel Islands. The first mention of the church in official documents was in 1048 when it is thought to have been given to the Abbot of Marmoutier by William of Normandy. It is likely that the original building was made of wood. The current building was built over a 200 year period with the chancel completed in the 12th century and the chapel added in 1462. The church was completed in 1475. However restoration work was carried out to the spire in 1721. The bells were recast in 1736 and in 1913. The clock was installed in 1781. Up until 1886, the rows of pews went in various directions and at that time some re-alignment was undertaken.
A copy of the text of an order from Pope Sixtus IV granting neutrality to the island is displayed in the church. In 1414, the English Crown took over the church but interestingly the church paid tithes to the Bishop of Coutanches until 1548. Up until the middle 1700's, the Church was completely surrounded by street markets and houses. A stream ran past the Church and around the harbour near to Woolworths. A memorial to the famous islander Major General Sir Isaac Brock can be found inside the Church together with many other memorials.
In 2001, work started on repairing the 500 year old oak vaulted rafters in the roof, which are now rare in England and believed to be the last surviving of this type in the Channel Islands. The joints are now quite weak and are being strengthened with stainless steel plates on the ridges, but the beams themselves remain in good condition. They work the subject of public outcry when the church decided to replace the rafters in 2000, but the Ecclesiastical Court decided after taking expert advice, that the roof could be saved.References:
Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.
The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.