Eglise Saint-Sulpice

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This is a small settlement to the north of D943 Loches to Châteauroux road. Everyone rushes past and it gets few visitors. This is a pity as the inside of the parish church is a delight, especially the statues.

Église Saint-Sulpice is just below the château. It was originally dedicated to St. Sebastian in the 12thC and became the collegiate chapter of Sainte Manoulde (Ste Ménéhoulde) in the 13thC. It became the church of St Sulpice in 1801.

From the outside it is an uninspiring building with buttressed walls and a small offset tower with a pointed roof. Entry is through the west doorway which has a small carved portico above it. On the north west corner is a statue of (presumably) St Sebastian. The building is 12thC with 15thC choir stalls with misericords and polychrome statues from 15th, 16th & 17thC.

The inside of the church is plain with a beautifully vaulted ceiling with carved bosses in the chancel. Side pillars in the nave support the ribs of the vaulted ceiling and have a narrow carved frieze at the top. There is an old wooden balcony above the door reached by a stone staircase. Inside the doorway on the south wall is the remains of a fresco of a knight kneeling in prayer wearing a red tunic with 2 lions on the front. On the south wall is a black band with the remains of the arms of the de Beauvillier Family. These were a seigneurial privilege to commemorate the death of a member of the family (a bit like hatchments).

Two beautifully carved wooden screens separate the transept from the nave. That on the north side has linenfold panels at the base separated by barleycorn twist pillars. Above are panels with feathers and more pillars. Above these are 5 carved panels. The outer two have the initials h and F joined by a knot. Inside are panels with a jester and foliage. The centre panel has two cherubim with a lovers knot. Above is an open pointed arch supported by three rows of pillars. The screen on the south side is similar although in less good condition. It has h and F initials on one end but at the other end is a carving of two very hairy figures.

At the end of the north transept is a stone altar with a crest carved on the bottom and a statue of the Virgin and Child. There are two old painted statues above. On the floor are decorative terra cotta tiles dating from the 15thC. On the walls above on either side of the window are two unidentified statues. The south transept chapel has a massive stone altar with a small host box and shelves. Above is a modern statue of the Virgin Mary and a modern stained glass window.

The carved stone high altar has barley corn twist pillars on the base with a design of feathers and a cross on a blue background. The small retable has carved shelves on either side of the host box. This has a gilt cross on the door. Above tall narrow pillars support a carved spire. Underneath this is an elaborately carved crucifix. There are five windows in the chancel. The centre one has Christ in Majesty with two saints. On the left is a window with St Joseph and beyond a window made up of pieces of old stained glass. On the right is a window with St Solangia. The far window was covered with polythene.

Between the windows there are polychrome statues standing on a carved pillar base with a carved canopy above. From the left there is St Roch pointing to his infected leg with the dog bringing him bread. Next is St Sulpice. Then is a beautiful statue of the Vierge à la Colombe carrying the Christ child. St Menehoulde (larger than the others) holding a book. Next is St Valerie wearing a small crown and also holding a book. And finally on the far right hand side is St Jacques le Majeur.

There are several other old statues on the walls including Mary holding the baby Jesus, Christ with his hands tied and wearing a crown of thorns and also a Crucifix. In a small recess is a statue of St Theresa with marble ‘merci’ plates surrounding her.

This is another example of a delightful place which is ignored by visitors and doesn’t merit a mention in the guide books.

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