Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

In the shadows of giants.
Tuesday 30th April - Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives

The Abbey at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives has been looking out over the town for quite some time, and while the world reels at the loss of much of the structure of Notre Dame Paris in last week’s fire, it does serve as a reminder as it peers into our bathroom window, that there are an awful lot of historical monuments left in this country.

This one was founded by William the Conqueror’s great-aunt in the early 11th century, the Countess Lesceline. One wonders if he called her “Auntie Les”.  Some time before he was an actual conqueror, probably thinking it would be good for his political career she invited young Bill over from the next village to lay the foundation stone.   History records that he did indeed go on to do a few more things, the least of which involved a bit of a barney with his cousin Harold. 

If there is a reason that we find ourselves stuck in our own little vortex of endless travel, part of it can be found in our fascination with almost continual and quite coincidental discoveries such as this, of mundane connections to lives which in our youths, spent in a place so disconnected from our history, were simply names in dusty books. 

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