The church of Sainte Radegonde

This video will help you to understand, with the help of digital imagery, the history of the Church of Sainte Radegonde, which has seen many changes over the years, especially during the restorations of the previous century.

The Romanesque church of Talmont, built during the 12th century, is perched on the cliffs overlooking the Gironde estuary. It is devoted to Saint Radegund, protector of sailors and wife of Clothar, King of the Franks.

Its nave, the area reserved for laypeople, was initially longer, but it partially collapsed in the 15th century, most likely due to the fragility of the crypt below. The remaining section was closed off on the western side with an austere façade. The door is simply adorned with an accolade and pinnacles, in the purest Gothic style that was associated with the era. The façade of the northern transept, which opens onto the cemetery, has preserved its rich examples of Romanesque ornamentation.

The church was fortified with battlements in the late 13th century, during the 100 Years’ War. The remains of its parapet were still visible in the 19th century. Engravings of the time reveal the addition of a sacristy at the eastern end (also known as the chevet) and a type of pergola called a ballet in front of the western door. After the building was listed in 1890, these two additions were removed.

From 1930 onwards, major works were carried out to restore what was considered to be the original character of this Saintonge Romanesque church. To make up for the absence of the bell tower,the architect Texier designed the central square tower of the transept, as well as the stone cupola it sits upon. In 1970, the remains of the battlements were removed. Work was carried out on the roof, making it more uniform and more in line with the ideal Romanesque aesthetic. Luckily, all these transformations failed to alter the beauty of the church.

The cliff face, battered and dented by years of waves, was reinforced on several occasions by the construction of a supportive wall, ensuring the stability of the church.

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