Peyrusse-le-Roc Church

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The sturdy bell tower with louvred bell windows dominates the square of Peyrusse-le-Roc. It is a long low building which was converted from the former stables of the Château. There is a massive archway over the south porch. The wooden door set in a stone portico dated 1680 has a small statue of the Virgin and Child above.

Inside is a large plain plastered nave with square stone wall pillars up to a simple vaulted ceiling. The most noticeable feature is a long panel along the walls with a series of painted Biblical scenes designed to look like a tapestry. This is most unusual and very effective.

On the south wall are round topped stained glass windows with images of saints. Statues include St Michael killing the dragon, St Roch and St Theresa.

The wooden high altar has a carving of the feeding the five thousand. On the wall behind is a wooden crucifix with carvings of the two Marys on either side. In a small wall niche is a carving of a prophet holding a book. In front of the altar is a floor standing pulpit of carved wood. On the north wall of the chancel is a statue of the Virgin and Child standing on a base with carved cherub heads.

There are three chapels along the south wall. The chapel by chancel has an altar with the Sacre Coeur on the base. The retable is painted to look like grey marble and has two pillars with carvings of gilt grapes with green leaves which surround a painted statue of Christ with the Sacre Coeur on his chest. There are statues of Jesus, St Germaine de Pibrae, a confessional and a funeral bier.

The centre chapel has pale grey painted altar lined with darker grey and the letter J on the base. There is a small host box with gilt decoration and a wooden crucifix above. The two tone grey retable has fluted columns and a recess with a painted statue with a border of gilt roses. There is a statue of St Bernadette de Lourdes and a large painting opposite.

The last altar is painted bright blue and has panels with an abstract design of flowers and fruits. Above is a small retable with a very ornate blue and gilt host box surrounded by gilt cherub heads and a statue of the Virgin holding the Christ Child. In a niche above is a statue of Mary holding the body of the crucified Christ. There are statues of Notre-Dame de Lourdes and St Antoine de Padoue.

At the back of church is a wall mounted marble font with a scene of John the Baptist (now headless) baptising Christ.

There is a stone memorial pillar to the dead of World War One with 16 names, World War Two with just two names and the Algeria War with one name. There is another wall mounted memorial to the dead of World War One on the back wall.

Above the west door is a statue of Saint Curé d’Ars 1786-1859 with two paintings on either side and a big painting of the crucifixion opposite the door.

This is a pleasant small church and the painted tapestry frieze worth seeing. Peyrusse-le-Roc is a fortified town still with one of the original gateways built round the central square. Narrow cobbled streets drop steeply down from the square and give views across to the iconic twin towers, all that remains of the original castle built on a narrow pinnacle of rock.

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