Abbey of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan

Saint-Savin, France

The Abbey of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan was a Benedictine abbey in the commune of Saint-Savin and one of the most important religious centres in the County of Bigorre. The abbey dates at least from the 10th century, and it was built by order of Charlemagne on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman fortress. In 841, the abbey was looted and burnt by the Normans, and previously by the Saracens.

In 945, Count Raymond I of Bigorre gave the abbey a generous endowment consisting of a territory known as the Pascal de Saint-Savin, which was made of the eight villages. The church of Saint-Jean-de-Saint-Savin became their communal church.

In 1080 the abbey was united to the Abbey of St. Victor, Marseille. In 1130 Bernard d'Arcizas and Centule II, Count of Bigorre, confronted the abbot and the inhabitants of the Val d'Azun over a burial. Queen Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) took refuge in the abbey from a flood. From the thirteenth century, the abbey still controlled the territory of seven villages.

From the 16th century the abbey suffered due to the destruction associated with the French Wars of Religion and relaxed its discipline, although there were attempts to restore it in the 17th century by the monks of the Congregation of St. Maur.

Only three monks remained living in the abbey in 1790. In the following year, the church and the monastic buildings were converted for the use of the parish. Part of the abbey was sold for a stone quarry and the chapter house became a stable. In 1854, a strong earthquake caused further destructions. Prosper Mérimée took charge of its restoration in 1855.

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Details

Founded: 10th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

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