Church of St Jean du Droit

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4/5

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Husband

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Date of travel

2011

St Jean du Droit is a nice little village but was very dead with no one around. There isn’t even a bakery.

Next to the church is a massive stone house, Maison de Gouvernement, built between 1562-72 for the governor of the chapel. It was enlarged in the 17thC and would have been used to house guests of the governor and important pilgrims. It has thick stone walls with tiny windows. Originally it would have had coats of arms carved on the stones but these were defaced during the revolution. It is now a private house.

The church was built in the 15thC to house the finger of St John the Baptist although no one is quite sure how it reached here. It is still kept in the church, but don’t expect to see it as it is carefully locked away out of sight.

The church has suffered assorted fires, the last one in 1955 when the spire was damaged.

The church has a splendid triumphal arch. This used to have a platform where the priest would preach to the hordes of pilgrims before they attended mass in the outdoor oratory and performed their devotions at the fountain. The fountain has a a large granite basin with a pillar supporting three bowls. At the top, God the Father blesses his son who is being baptised by John the Baptist lower down. Water flows out of the mouths of cherubs.

The oratory is a splendid structure which has bulging stone walls with carvings and a decorative rope pattern round the top. Pillars support the tiled roof. Inside is a stone altar and stoup. There are shelves on either side of the altar which would have houses statues. The ceiling is wood with a highly carved decorative frieze.

The church is very tall with tall, thin octagonal pillars supporting pointed arches. Two pillars near the side aisles are more massive and fluted. Inside the church is very plain, with no pulpit or stages of the cross on the walls. The windows are modern with an abstract pattern of predominantly white, yellow and pale tan. The high altar is simple. There is a boat on the left hand side of the high altar and a crucifix on the north wall. There are the remains of a stone altar in the south aisle with a decorative carved recess in the wall. There are two stone fonts at the back, one bigger than the other.

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