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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.