(canton de Duclair, Seine-Maritime)
Founded by St Philbert in the 7th century, the abbey was destroyed by the Normans in 841. The monks abandoned the abbey at the end of the 850s and it was rebuilt in 947 by a group of monks from St Cyprien of Poitiers summoned by Duke William Longsword. Its real renaissance did not begin, however, until after 1000 with the arrival of Abbot Thierry, a follower of William of Volpiano, in 1017. The next stage, in 1040, was the construction of the church of Notre Dame, which was consecrated in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1067. During the ducal epoch, Jumièges was the seat of an important scriptorium which produced a number of manuscripts which are currently kept in Rouen municipal library. Several precious works of Anglo-Saxon origin are also held there, donated by Robert Champart, Abbot of Jumièges, who became the Bishop of London in 1045.
The oldest surviving upstanding remains are those of the church of St Pierre. Previously thought to have been constructed at the end of the 10th century, recent analysis suggests an earlier date (end of the 8th or beginning of the 9th century). A Carolingian church is thus indicated which, according to 10th century legend, was cleared and put out of danger from flooding by Duke William Longsword in 942 for the monks from Poitiers.
With its imposing proportions, the church of Notre Dame counts as one of the most important architectural works in Normandy of the time of Duke William. It unites different archaic features, probably inherited from the Carolingian church which it replaced - the western façade with two towers and gallery above the porch, deep galleries above the arms of the transepts, and new innovative features such as the deployment of intra-mural passages above the transepts or a technique of placing false arcading on the upper levels of the tower façades. This last is witness to the new inventiveness, which appeared in the middle of the 11th century in the field of ‘wall modelling’.
The only surviving remains of monastic buildings from the ducal epoch are the ruins of the large great hall of the guest house on the west side of the cloister (first half of the 12th century). Its western facade still has richly decorative geometric friezes and masks above the openings. From the middle bay a small lodge projects ( also from the 12th century) which accommodated the entrance and a parlour.
Jacques Le MahoBibliography
- Musset, Lucien. - Normandie romane,
t. 2, La Haute-Normandie, collection " Zodiaque ", La
Pierre-qui-Vire, 1974, p. 61-123
- Le Maho, Jacques. - Labbaye de Jumièges, Editions du patrimoine, 2001.