A few days ago, I published a posting that included a photograph of the bell tower of Daglan’s old church, as seen from the front steps of our home.
The point of the photo wasn’t really to show off the church, but simply to illustrate how blue the sky has been lately. However, one reader asked me for some history about the church, and particularly about the bell tower. When was it built? Was it added to the church more recently? Who was responsible?
As you might expect, I had no answers — but promised to do some research. And so I have done!
Before offering you a brief history of the church, here’s how it looked early this afternoon:
And now here’s what I found about the Church of Saint Martin (as it’s formally called), using an English translation of notes provided by the office of our Mayor. Unfortunately, there is no specific information about the bell tower:
Built in the 6th, 11th and 12th centuries, the church of Saint Martin in Daglan has been renovated numerous times. The presence of a crypt, or lower room (which is today filled in) is evidence of the church’s age. Developments like this, made to shelter relics, were major sources of revenue and are synonymous with the arrival of people, and therefore the development of the market town. The church is dedicated to Saint Martin, who was elected bishop of Tours in 371. This dedication confirms the parish’s long history and that it has existed since the Carolingian era. The round tower on the west side was added following a reconstruction of the original church, which was on a levee of earth (a feudal motte).
All that remains of the original construction are the great door and some columns. The church was composed of a single nave and a small transept (a nave which cuts the main nave at a right angle). During the construction that followed the destruction of the Wars of Religion, a chapel dedicated to the local stately families was added. At the end of the 19th century, the church was enlarged by three spans. For this addition, the parish made the most of the need for repairs.
The bell tower stands above the choir. The roof, consisting of long sections, looks more like the tower of a chateau, without a spire.
And that is all I could find. If any reader can unearth more specifics on the bell tower, please do comment.