Nothing remains of the church of the Benedictine abbey of St Martin in Troarn which was dedicated in 1059, and then rebuilt in 1083, other than a rather exceptional monument, discovered in 1909 in the south transept (now destroyed). It is one of the very rare examples of Norman Romanesque funerary sculpture to survive. The sarcophagus and the finely carved cover (2.15m long) do not match, and the latter seems to have originally been part of a cenotaph resting on columns or a base.
The acanthus leaf decorative motifs and large palm leaf foliage patterns decorating the cover either side of the central rib, like the birds pecking the stylised leaves in the panel at the head, are clearly of Anglo-Saxon inspiration, although their technical treatment is typically Norman. The decoration and the palaeography agree with a probable date of the monument before the mid-11th century.Bibliography
Hugh, knight of Richard, "king of the Normans" (sic), as quoted in the obituary, could have been Hugh I of Montgommery, who was related to the founder of the canonical establishment that preceded the creation of the Benedictine abbey.
- Baylé, Maylis. - Troarn (Calvados), tombeau du chevalier Hugues, in: Les siècles romans en Basse-Normandie, Art de Basse-Normandie, n° 92, Caen, 1985, p. 136-137
- Baylé, Maylis. - Le tombeau du chevalier Hugues à Troarn, in : Les origines et les premiers développements de la sculpture romane en Normandie, Art de Basse-Normandie, n° 100 bis, Caen, 1992, p. 80-83, 212-213 et fig. 214-220
- Sauvage, R.-N. - A propos des fouilles récemment faites dans les dépendances de l’abbaye de Troarn, Bulletin de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie, XXVIII, 1906-1912, p. 226-229