Eglise St-Croix

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Église St-Croix was originally the chapel of Montrichard castle. Foulques Nerrra brought back a relic of the ‘authentic cross’ from Jerusalem and presented it to the castle chapel when it was founded in the 11thC. It was damaged when the royal apartments collapsed, but was repaired and became the parish church.

There is a splendid double arch west porch with twisted rope pillars with capitals carved in feather shapes. Above is a round topped window surrounded by blank arches. Beneath the windows is a narrow projecting cornice with carved stones beneath. A wooden door with similarly carved arches leads into the church. It was a pity about the graffiti.

The organ above the west door has wooden balconies on either side, accessed by a wooden spiral staircase, with a sign saying 'no admittance except for the choir'. The nave is simple with a wooden slatted ceiling with support beams across. Pillars with round topped arches separate nave and side aisles. The side aisles have vaulted stone ceilings. There is a statue of Joan of Arc on the transept pillar. The apse at the east end is lined with old choir stalls. It just has a small mass altar with a crucifix on the far wall.

The north aisle has no windows. There are three apses off the wall. The back one is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin. Across the front are wrought iron railings. The altar is carved stone with pillars on the base supporting round topped arches picked out in gilt. In the centre are the intertwined initials of I and S. On either side there are lily plants. The small retable has a small host box with gilt decoration on either side. Above is a stone carved statue of the Virgin. The middle apse contains the font and the one nearest the chancel has a stone carved altar and host box.

On the end of the north aisle is green painted wooden altar with a large retable with painted panels framed in gilt. On the altar are two reliquary boxes containing bones. The retable has two pillars on either side of a statue . The walls behind the altar are painted green and have gilt and green patterns. On either side of the altar are wooden doors leading into the sacristy. Above them are small pictures.

The south aisle has a splendid altar and retable of wood. The altar base has a series of pillars painted with elaborate patterns of red, yellow and blue. This theme continues to the retable which has side pillars and an arch surrounding a statue of the Virgin. Above is a painted carved wood castle. The back walls are painted in a light and dark green pattern with a brown and green border. The ceiling is painted blue with stars. Pillars are painted red, yellow and blue. There is a marble plaque on wall saying that St Jeanne de Valois married Duc d’Orleans (Louis XII) here in 1476. The marriage was later annulled when Charles VIII died and Louis wanted to marry his widow, Anne of Brittany in the hope of annexing Brittany to the French throne. On the wall is a painted statue of the Virgin holding a cross.

This is a delightful small church and repays visiting.

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