Abbey of Saint Bertin

Saint-Omer, France

The Abbey of St. Bertin was a Benedictine abbey, but today in ruins (the town's town-hall was built with stone from the abbey in 1834) and open to the public. It was dedicated to its second abbot, Saint Bertin.

The monastery was founded on the banks of the Aa in the 7th century by the bishop of Thérouanne, who sent the monks Bertin, Momelin and Ebertram from Omer to proselytize among the pagans in the region. The Abbey of St. Bertin soon became one of the most influential monasteries in northern Europe and ranked in importance with Elnon Abbey and the Abbey of St. Vaast. Its library included the codex of Aratea of Leyde, from which two copies were made. The Annals of St Bertin are an important source of the 9th-century history of Francia.

Already in the 9th century the abbey had a priory in Poperinge. A Romanesque church was constructed in the mid-11th century. It was 25m high, with a 48m high tower, and included a large 14th century semi-circular sanctuary with five side-chapels. It served as a model for the church, whose construction was not completed until the beginning of the 16th century.

From the 12th century the abbey had the right of appointing the priest at Lissewege and Ruiselede (1106). William Clito was buried here in 1128. The abbey had a 'refuge-house' in the now-demolished Sint-Lodewijkscollege in Bruges. The abbey had its greatest flourishing from its inception until the 13th century, though it survived until it was shut down at the French Revolution.

In 1830 the commune demanded the demolition of the church, though they spared the tower, which they strengthened with a buttress in the nave (still visible). However, the tower was weakened by bombardment of the town centre in World War II and collapsed in 1947, leading to the abandonment of the site.

The abbey is known for its Latin-written cartulary (Chartularium Sithiense) whose first part is attributed to Folquin (died in 855 in Esquelbeques).

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Details

Founded: 7th century AD
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Théophile C. (11 months ago)
Awesome park, the ruins are pretty interesting. The ruins are fenced off. Still a excellent place to have a picnic or relax
Leon M (12 months ago)
The ruins are very impressive and there is a nice park here. Would recommend visiting in good weather only as most of the site is no longer there. From here you can walk along a single road all the way to the cathedral.
Nicole Goff (15 months ago)
Very cool ruins to go see! One thing we found interesting was all the heads were missing from the statues. It is fenced off to preserve the ruins but you can still get up pretty close to them. There is the main portion at the front then you can see the outline of where all the other buildings used to be as well. You can walk around the outline area. It seems really well taken care of.
vany lombo (2 years ago)
You can't go inside, but you still can enjoy this ruined from outside the barrier. They put also a miniature to see how it was in the past. There is also a park and you can sit arround but too bad there is no cafe nearby for us to sit while enjoying this historical ruined.
Christopher “Sad” Case (2 years ago)
Lovingly maintained
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