Eglise Santa-Croix-de-Beaumont

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There was a board and information about Santa Criox-de-Beaumont in the Church of St Christopher in the Graveyard. It sounded interesting and was only a short drive so off we went.

Set on top of the plateau in poor farmland in the depths of the Dordogne Region, Santa-Croix is a small scattered settlement with Marie, Salles de Fetes, a couple of houses and the remains of a very tall keep like tower. This used to be a Templary belonging to the Knights Templars. We were nearly deafened by the noise of crickets.

The church is 12thC and has a very tall nave with a flat bell cote at the west end. This has an enclosed wooden balcony. The east apse is lower with and even lower apse on the south side and south aisle. There is a later rectangular sacristy on the north wall. There re carved corbels under the apses with human and animal heads. The apses still have stone slabs. The nave roof is later and has pantiles.

Entry is through the west door which has a large arch over it with a round window above. Steps lead down into the small nave. Round arches lead into the south aisle. Big transept pillars support round topped arches. Above is a domed ceiling. The capitals are elaborately carved with Adam and Eve hiding their modesty at the tree of knowledge with the serpent coiled round it. Two smaller figures on either side represent Adam and Eve being thrown out of paradise. Other capitals have ‘water flowers’ or complex knot designs. By the chancel arch is a large oil painting of Jesus with the Sacre coeur.

There is a small Romanesque chancel apse with round wall pillars and small Roman windows. Steps lead up to the high altar with a small retable with host box with carved panels on either side and a cross in a cupola above it.

The smaller chapel in the south apse has a stone altar with a statue of Mary and also Joseph and the boy Jesus.

At the back of the church is a plain wooden cross. Statues on the walls of the nave include St Theresa, Antonine de Padua and St Louis holding the crown of thorn on a red cushion.

This is a delightful small church. Apart from the transept capitals there is little of note. It is an example of simple Roman architecture at its best.

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