St Anthony’s church in Loches, Touraine, Central France


St Anthony’s Church, Loches

Well, the church of St Anthony in Loches has had a renovation of late. By the entrance there has also appeared a 15th Century crucifix and a couple of information boards from which is gleaned the following:

1. “St Anthony’s Church: During the period of the Consulate, the old collegiate church of Notre Dame du Château, renamed Eglise Saint-Ours, was chosen to be the parish church. However, because it was difficult to access, it was decided to have a second church in the lower town. A new church was built, using the old dorter [1] and refectory from the Ursuline Convent (1627), much of which had been destroyed during the French Revolution. By this time, it was being used as stables by the Gendarmerie that stood where the post office is today. Consecrated in 1812, it was named in honour of St Anthony. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart was built in 1822, the Lady Chapel in 1835 and the bell tower in 1836. The building contains some rare decoration from the Restoration period and a collection of high-quality paintings and sculptures. The church underwent complete restoration from 2009 to 2001. Inside are paintings by J. Boucher and P. de Cortone, statues by Avisseau and stained-glass windows by Lobin. In the adjacent Gallery are the Carvaggio paintings originally purchased by Ph. de Béthune. (South Aisle).”

2. “Crucifix from the Ursuline Convent – 15th Century. Until the French Revolution, the crucifix stood in the middle of the graveyard of the Ursuline Convent founded in the 17th century on what is now Place de Verdun. During the Revolution, most of the convent was razed to the ground, with the exception of the two houses at the corner of the square and Rue Jeanne d’Arc, and the nuns’ refectory with the dorter [1] above (now St Anthony’s Church). The Ursulines’ graveyard was retained, and extended to become the municipal cemetery. In 1850, it was moved to the new cemetery, Les Mountains. The remains of the nuns were brought there and buried in the ossuary [2]. The crucifix was then moved and re-erected along one of the cemetery walls. When the renovation of St Anthony’s was completed in 2011, the Ursuline crucifix was resited against the West Front of the church as a reminder of its history.”

[1] dorter = a bedroom or dormitory, especially in a monastary or convent

[2] ossuary =  a chest, building, well, or site serving as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. They are frequently used where burial space is scarce.

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About Jim McNeill

I am a blogger on 'The Social History of the Touraine region of France (37)' and also 'The Colonial History of Pennsylvania and the life & Family of William Penn'. I am a Director of Fresh Ground Group Ltd.
This entry was posted in architecture, Catholicism, French Revolution, Loches and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to St Anthony’s church in Loches, Touraine, Central France

  1. Pingback: The Ursuline Convent of New Orleans « The Accidental Kansan

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