The Chatelet (dungeon) was built in front of the north external front of Belle-Chaise, on which it leans without joining, leaving between this front and the south one an empty space, a large machicolation protecting the northen door, which has become the second inward door since the Chatelet has been constructed
Independently of its formidable fronts, which can be considered as veritable fortifications, the Merveille was protected by an embattled wall joined to the ramparts.
At the same time that he finished the Knights’ Hall, Thomas des Chambres ordered the building of the Dormitory which he finished before his death, about 1225. The Dormitory is a large Hall erected above the Refectory of which it has the same general dimensions; but, instead of being, as the latter, vaulted with stones and divided into two parts, itContinue reading “The Dormitory”
The Cloister commenced by Thomas des Chambres was finished by Raoul de Villedieu, in 1228. The general form is an irregular quadrilateral figure composed of four galleries that surround the discovered yard or area of the Cloister.
The Refectory commenced by Jourdain and finished by his successor Raoul des Isles, about 1215, is unquestionably the most beautiful hall of the Merveille. It is composed of a double nave the vaults of which formed by transverse and pointed arches, adorned at their junction by a sculptured rosette, and supported by a cluster of columns like those of the Almonry. The proportions of this hall, of which gives one the idea are very well-conceived and, according to the simplicity of the details of the architecture, the general effect is very grand.
The hall called Knights’ hall was begun in 1215 by Robert des Isles who died in 1218. Thomas des Chambres who succeeded him, finished it about 1220. It was called Knights’ hall only after the institution of the Order of Saint-Michel, established by Louis XI in 1469 ; it was used before as the Hall of the general assemblies or as that of the Chapter of the Abbey.
It had been a disappointing venture and left on of his men with an arrow through his chest, though they are not sure how it happened. They thought it must have been a stray shot from one of their own archers who had missed their mark.
The Almonry or alms’ room, is composed of two naves. The roman plain groined vaults of a pointed form rest on a cluster of strong and thick columns the bases and the capitals of which are square. It is lighted by two small windows with deep bendings, pierced between the buttresses, two on the east and six on the north; they open out in the interior of the room and there are stone benches in the slayings.
When one leaves the nave by a small gate on the north side of the church, and descends several steps, he/she can view what remains of the primitive abbey buildings which extended to the north side of the church at end of the 13th century.
It seemed to us necessary to begin the visit by the church, in order to be able to describe clearly the edifices of different epochs, which are placed one over the other, and to lead our reader in the turnings of so complicated a labyrinth.