Saturday, 17 October 2015

Looking for...

One of the walks around Dracy
On one of our quests in search of Romanesque churches we started to look for the former church of Dracy-lès-Couches (near Couches), or the remains there of. This is what we knew:
Dracy-lès-Couches : vieux-cimetière (East side): pans de mur, tombes. Church has been demolished and was replaced by a new one elsewhere; do not bother to go to the new church.
After having done some research we found that one of the signposted walks around Dracy was passing by this ex-church; we found the walk on the internet and we had even spotted some reference on a map to "Ruines Eglise". One would think that after this information the church should not be difficult to find….

The signpost
Based on the above we went to Dracy in July 2014, and lo and behold, we found a signpost saying "Ruines Eglise 300 m". We slithered down the path (it had been continuously raining for the last few weeks, turning the paths into mud covered tracks) and at approx. 300 m we stopped at a gate, with another very muddy path leading to the left and an overgrown bit of woods on the right. Since the paths were so impassable we decided to stop there, again trying to locate an old cemetery left or right from the path we walked down to go back to the car. No need to say that this did not reveal anything; we decided to wait for the dry season and go back again one day.

The signpost disappeared!
That day came, almost spot on, one year later. Our department had suffered from a severe heat wave for a number of weeks by then, without one drop of rain, hence the paths should be no problem this time. However, the pole where we had seen the sign "Ruines Eglise 300 m" was still there, but the sign had disappeared. Only the fixing clips were still there. The paths were no problem this time, and at what we thought to be roughly the 300 m point we took the path to the right for another 300 m, went back, then went down a dry ditch for 200 m, an turned back again.

The path is on the left, the shrubs with the church and graveyard are on the right
On the point where we had turned off to the left however, there was a heap of old stones on the right hand side, at the bottom of the slightly higher wooded area. I thought that this might well be the "remains" of the church, took a picture of it and was about to walk back to the car. My better half however is blessed with a bit more patience than I can muster, and she had disappeared in between the trees behind "my" heap of stones. After a few minutes she shouted "I found it!".

When I climbed the low hill I saw her stooped over some gravestones, hence she had found the cemetery. From "my" heap of stones we then found the foundation of a wall running east-west, and following the foundation we indeed found some heavily overgrown small remains of what must have been the wall of the church. So we had finally found that church! One would say: and, was it worth it? That is debatable, but the picnic we had afterwards certainly was worth the trip!

Part of the church wall
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

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