Jumièges Abbey Ruins

Jumièges, France

Jumièges Abbey was founded in 654 on a gift of forested land belonging to the royal fisc presented by Clovis II and his queen, Balthild, to the Frankish nobleman Filibertus, who had been the companion of Saints Ouen and Wandrille at the Merovingian court of Dagobert I. Under the second abbot, Saint Achard, Jumièges prospered and soon numbered nearly a thousand monks.

In the 9th century it was pillaged and burnt to ground by the Vikings, but was rebuilt on a grander scale by William Longespee, Duke of Normandy (d. 942). A new church was consecrated in 1067 in the presence of William the Conqueror.

Enjoying the patronage of the dukes of Normandy, the abbey became a great centre of religion and learning, its schools producing, amongst many other scholars, the national historian, William of Jumièges. It reached the zenith of its fame about the eleventh century, and was regarded as a model for all the monasteries of the province. It was renowned especially for its charity to the poor, being popularly called 'Jumièges l'Aumônier'.

The church was enlarged in 1256, and again restored in 1573. The abbots of Jumièges took part in all the great affairs of the church and state. One of them, Robert Champart, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1051, after being Bishop of London. Many others became bishops in France, and some were also raised to the dignity of cardinal.The fortunes of the abbey suffered somewhat through the English invasion of the fifteenth century, but it recovered and maintained its prosperity and high position until the whole province was devastated by the Huguenots and the Wars of Religion. In 1649, during the abbacy of Francis III, Jumièges was taken over by the Maurist Congregation, under which rule some of its former grandeur was resuscitated.

The French Revolution, however, ended its existence as a monastery, leaving only impressive ruins. These comprise the church, with its beautiful twin towers and western façade, and portions of the cloisters and library, the contents of which were removed to Rouen when the abbey was dissolved. In the middle of the former cloister, there is still the 500 year-old yew tree. A gallery of the cloister was bought by Lord Stuart de Rothesay to rebuild it in Highcliffe Castle near Bournemouth, Sussex.

The Nobel Prize-winning French novelist Roger Martin du Gard devoted his dissertation to an archaeological study of the ruins.

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Details

Founded: 654 AD
Category: Ruins in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

sergio (11 months ago)
Amazing ruins of ancient church. It's very interesting walking around and discover beautiful point of view. There are many chairs to rest, I went here in january so the weather was very cloudy, but in the spring could be better. I suggest to visit during the week, when there are bit people. This Abbaye is a magic place, where closing you eyes and imagine the ancient atmosphere. The ancient trees enrich the scenery.
Justo Gonzalez (11 months ago)
Nice Abbey from the VIII century. Notice that there is an exposition in the mansion behind the ruins.
Ioannis Kotzianoglou (13 months ago)
Very interesting monument. I have been there, 40 years ago. Glad to see pictures again.
Nikoo (13 months ago)
Amazing place to spend an afternoon to view and have a walk around. The only min points are the toilets which are dirty and not under any standard for such a historic place
Maaike (2 years ago)
Gorgeous, especially on a sunny day when the rays of light filter between the pillars. I had a good few hours drawing the vistas.
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