In the mid-12th century, a priest named Turstin withdrew to a wooded Norman hill to live as a hermit, where he was quickly joined by a circle of followers. When Turstin died in 1200, the bishop of Bayeux established the community under the Rule of St. Augustine. Turstin's brother-in-law Raoul de Percy donated land for the abbey. Over the following years, the abbey continued to receive donation from nobility and farmers. At the end of the 13th century, a church and monastic buildings were built to replace the hermitage. In 1343 the abbey's gifts were interrupted by the Hundred Years' War and rivalries between pro-French and pro-English lords in the area. In 1347 the Black Death killed a third of the population, the abbey's lands were uncultivated and the Bessin was ravaged by armed bands. The abbey itself was ravaged by Richard Fitz Alan, 11th Earl of Arundel, in 1389.
Mondaye flourished again under the abbacy of Jean Feray (1512-1557). Its monks attended the university of Caen and included many doctors of theology among them. However, this high period was interrupted by the French Wars of Religion, with the abbey burned, its treasures dispersed and its abbot Julien Guichard killed by Huguenots on 5 September 1564. After the Council of Trent, calm returned and the monastery church was restored thanks to support from Anne de Médavy.
In 1631, Claude Leclerc du Tremblay was appointed commendentory abbot by the king and headed the abbey for the next 75 years. The Lorraine reform revising the Saint Norbert rule and making it stricter and closer to its origins was adopted by Mondaye abbey in 1655. Choosing a prior by the chapter of the congregation partly avoided the disadvantages of a commendatory abbot.
A total reconstruction was began between 1704-1763 to the new classicist style, to meet the then-prevailing need for grandeur in France. The church, monastic buildings, entrance pavilion and farm were all rebuilt, though with the order's austerity maintained by small cells and by only having chimneys in the prior's lodging, the warming house and the infirmary. In 1763 the abbey again fell under a commendatory abbot and building work stopped.
On the French Revolution the Premonstratensian order was despoiled of its goods and the 17 monks at Mondaye were dispersed or imprisoned. One of them was father Paynel, curé de Juaye, who took the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy before abandoning the priesthood to become mayor. Paynel did, however, reconcile with the church, saving the abbey church from destruction and taking nine priests opposed to the civil constitution into his house. Once the revolutionary turmoil was over, Father Goujon ceased to be clandestine prior and gathered together the local parishes. From 1806 to 1812 the monastic buildings housed a collège.
The Premonstratensian order moved back into the buildings on 13 June 1859, when the bishop of Bayeux solemnly handed back the keys to it to canons coming from the Belgian abbey at Grimbergen. The community underwent a major phase of expansion and increased their number of parochial missions, preaching tours and retreats. It also restarted work on building north and south wings in the classical style.
In June 1944 the Allied landings subjected the abbey to many days of bombing and, despite being completely restored, the abbey walls are still marked by the fighting in its surroundings. Rebuilding works on the most badly damaged part of the church began in 2007. The church, monastic building, pressoir, pavilion, enclosure, grange, grange aux dîmes, cloister and interior decor are now listed together as a monument historique.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.