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History View from S-E

      The romanesque church of Saint Martin de Brux is a place of catholic worship for over eight hundred years. But, extending the term of worship to the place at which it is exercised, continuous religious pratice here exceeds the millennium: a Merovingian sarcophagus was found under the nave of the present church.

        Saint Martin de Brux  is one of those buildings which has never suffered serious damage in times of war*, not even in periods of prosperity, often more disastrous for so-called "barbaric" or "primitive" architectures. It was classified in the "Monument Historique"  official files in 1914. Restorations in the last two decades of the XX Century were conducted with due respect for the archaeological interest of the site.

       Brusc, Brucs, Bruz or Brux, whatever the written form , is the old Celtic war cry, which remains trough Roman, Nordman, Arabic, and English invasions, and religious, political and cultural revolutions. Celtic pattern

     The millenium had scarcely begun when, over Pictish sarcophaguses, the Lusignans raised the walls of a place of worship, which could also serve as a refuge: thick walls, few openings. The Fée Mélusine, who, according to the legend, still builds fortresses and churches in a night, with 'a lapful of stones and a gulp of water', concedes the construction of Saint Martin to human beings. They applied the last architectural technique: a lightly broken arch vault supported up on each side by two half-tunnel vaults. But they kept a classic quarter of sphere apse and a central bell tower carried on by a dome supported by four squinches.

Stone carving

      What is date of the construction? Between 1024 and 1025 according to René Crozet ("L'Art Roman en Poitou"; Laurens ed., 1948),which would be of great precision, had he not added "erected by order of  Hugues IV de Lusignan "... (He and his wife Alix d'Ibelin, were crowned king and queen of Cyprus at Nicosia in 1324!)

     Four interpretations based on the writings engraved over the South portal yeld a date which may just as well show a restoration or an important modification:

   1151 (MCLA)    1159 (MCLIX)
       1161 (MCLXI)    1171 (MCLXXI)

(reactive area, scroll across)

      John M. Mansfield, in his exhaustive study 'Some Dated Registrations of Gaul, Germany and Spain'  favours the last reading : 1171.

      For his part, a certain Pasteur Lièvre wrote, at the beginning of the XX century: 'the church does not appear to go back beyond XIII century, but it succeeded another which circa 1080 was the property of the brothers Geldoin and Vivien'. More seriously, from its creation the church was attached to the Benedictine Abbey of Nanteuil-en-Vallée (Haut-Poitou Roman, Zodiaque, 1984)

      Finally, a minority of unbelievers thinks that the edifice was never built, existing only in the Jorge Luis Borges imagination, or as the Cluny Abbey, only in a virtual way. To such people we can only say 'Come and touch...'

*  During the Hundred Years’ War, the neighbouring churches of Romagne and Chaunay were not spared from damage - (Le Diocèse de Poitiers, Favreau, 1988).

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