Marsat, History

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Marsat, History
The town of Marsat, known principally for its Cluniac priory,
sits on a hillside surrounded by streams at the foot of the volcanoes
of the Chaîne des Puys. Some people believe the town’s name is
Celtic in origin and means “land where water flows in abundance”,
others that the town takes its name from the Latin patronymic
Martius.
Marsat, History
Black Madonna in Majesty
(17th Century)
Cross from the old cemetery
(16th Century)
As early as the 4th Century the
Marian shrine at Marsat was a
place of pilgrimage. According to
tradition, St Priest, bishop of
Clermont, founded a convent here
to watch over the relics
of the Virgin in the 7th Century.
The convent appears to have been
a dependency of the Abbey of
Mozac in the 9th century and
of Cluny from 1095.
In the Middle Ages the town grew
up around the convent and the
château, both of which were
protected by its walls.
The surrounding lands, meadows
and vineyards provided for the
needs of the population which was
made up principally of farm
labourers and craftsmen.
In 1465, whilst fighting against the
League of the Public Weal, King
Louis the 11th stayed in Marsat
and instigated a daily mass in
honour of Our Lady
of Marsat. At the time there were
between twelve and fifteen nuns
all of whom came from local
aristocratic families.
In the 16th Century Marsat played
host to King Francis the 1st and
Christ calms the storm
(19th century stained-glass window)
suffered heavy human and material
losses during the Wars of Religion.
In the 17th Century the area enjoyed
a period of remarkable prosperity
which touched not only the convent
but also the town and saw the
arrival of several important families
from Riom. The cloister was
demolished at the time of the French
Revolution, when the convent was
sold as a state property to 39
different buyers after the departure
of the nuns. Certain elements, sold
in 1917, are preserved in the USA.
From the 1970s onwards the former
wine growing town changed from
being a market gardening and fruit
growing centre to become one of the
residential communes of the Riom
area. Set in its grassy hollow this
town of nearly 1200 inhabitants
stretches along the road between
Volvic and Riom and retains much
of its village charm. Since the 1990s,
improvements have been made to
the old priory making it a more
pleasant and agreeable place to live.
A Marian Sanctuary on the
Compostella pilgrimage route
(Way of St James), Marsat is a listed
Cluniac site.
The castle tower
A Tour
D Start from the car park situated
beside the Mairie (Town hall).
D Go along the street called impasse
des Écoles, and turn right into rue
du Belvédère.
D Take the third street on the left
then turn right into rue du Midi.
1
A medieval wine grower’s
house.
At n° 1, a house with an outside
staircase, the wine vats were on the
ground floor and the living quarters
on the first floor. Note the carved
window sill.
D Turn left into rue Basse.
2
A medieval wine grower’s
house.
At n° 3, a Renaissance half timber
structure with carved cross beam.
Note the low pitched roof with
round tiles.
D Turn right into rue de la Treille.
3
House re-using
Renaissance stonework.
At n° 10, 16th century carved
windows. Bays with basket handle
arches. Probable remains of the
château.
D Turn right into rue de la GrandeFontaine.
16th Century Grand fountain
4
Grand fountain (1547)
known as Notre-Dame
de Pitié
(Our Lady of Sorrows).
A spring housed in a vaulted niche
and flanked by pillars surmounted
by a cross and two statues of saints.
At the back there is a statue of the
Virgin and child. (ISMH* 1926).
In line with the niche there is a lavoir
(public basin for doing laundry)
and a horse trough.
5
Château.
Originally a major stronghold
comprising four towers and two
outer fortifications in the 12th and
13th centuries it became the
residence of the Lords of Marsat.
Rebuilt in the 16th century, it was
burned during the Wars of Religion
and demolished after the French
Revolution, only two towers
remain. Note the 16th century half
window with moulded struts and
casement.
D Carry on to the place de l’Eglise.
Note the War Memorial from
the 1st World War.
6
Church of Notre-Dame de
l’Assomption (ISMH 1971).
Exterior: bell tower (1780) whose
former spire was removed during
the French Revolution. Gateway
with two decorated capitals;
one representing Christ in glory and
the other, barely visible, the Holy
Women at the tomb. Two statues
of the Virgin and Child in Volvic
stone (17th-18th centuries).
The interior has two naves,
the northern one for the priory
nuns, and the southern one for
the parishioners. The north nave
dates from the 9th century with a
square 16th century choir. Wax
votive wheel restored in 1939,
tactile model of the church and
conventual buildings (2006).
Lady Chapel: 12th century Black
Madonna in majesty (MH*1899)
Treasury: 15th century crucifix,
cross, two Adam Pijard flambeaux
(candlesticks) (17th century)
(MH1904); Crown of the Virgin and
Child presented by the inhabitants
(1939)
Rosary chapel: Virgin in Majesty
17th century (MH 1911). Note the
carved corbels, one of a hare and
another of a man with a dog’s face.
The south nave has a 12th century
ribbed vault to which a polygonal
choir was added in the 14th Century.
Holy water stoup from the 13th and
16th centuries (MH1963). High
altar: 17th century gold-painted
wooden altarpiece (MH 1963).
Cloister
7
Cross (MH 1913).
Behind the church chevet is, the old
cemetery cross (16th century).
At the base of the stem, the remains
of a shield can be made out. The
arms of the cross are finished with
carved leaves and scrolls. On one
side Christ is depicted between the
Virgin and St John, on the other
side is Our Lady of Sorrows.
8
Former gate from the first
half of the 17th Century.
Here you have the remains of
monastic buildings which have been
extensively converted. The gate has
a central arch framed by pilasters
with Doric capitals. A cartouche
bears the inscription Haec est regina
virginum (This is the Queen of
Virgins). The niche has a pediment
which probably contained a statue.
Two Talleyrand-Périgord-Chalais
family escutcheons can be seen.
D Return to the place de l’Eglise
and turn right into l’impasse du
Cloître.
9
Remains of Cloister
(Late 12th century).
Galleries initially roofed with groin
vaulting. Series of semi-circular
arches resting on small double
columns. Capitals decorated with
“crockets” (carved in the form
of a curled leaf). (ISMH 1925)
The galleries were restored in 1990.
There is also a fountain.
D Continue to the rue du Couvent.
10
Re-use of sculptures
(16th century).
At n° 5, you can see the carved
motifs of a salamander
and two candelabras (re-used from
the former château).
11
Re-used shield (1651).
At n° 6, there is an escutcheon,
surrounded by leaves, depicting three
crowned lion cubs (TalleyrandPérigord family coat of arms).
D Go along the rue du Couvent
then turn left into rue des
Cascades.
12
Mill.
The remains of one of Marsat’s five
mills.
13
Waterfalls and ford.
Stream coming from the la Palle
spring which fed Marsat’s mills.
14
19th Century rockery
fountain.
Niche made from blocks of
pyroclastic (volcanic) rock. Spout
depicting lion’s head (1889).
Chevet, Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Church
View Point.
D Turn left into Grande-Rue.
16
th
17 century gateway.
This gateway with its baskethandle arch flanked by pilasters
which support a moulded cornice
was the entrance to the convent.
Note the two, now empty, niches
and the chiselled convent coat of
arms. (ISMH 1931)
18
Second castle tower.
D Turn left into rue du Château.
19
Fountain (1889).
Similar to the previous fountain.
D Turn right into rue des Tilleuls,
right again into rue du Belvédère
and finally left into impasse des
Écoles.
D Retrace your steps and take the
rue du Petit-Coudet on the left,
then turn left into passage des
Caves.
17
Fountain (1889).
Lion’s head water spout and stone
water trough.
D Turn right into rue de la Tour.
* MH: classé Monument Historique
(listed historic monuments).
*ISMH: listed on the Inventaire
Supplémentaire des Monuments
Historiques (supplementary inventory
of historic monuments).
Production: Animation du patrimoine, Pays
d’art et d’histoire de Riom - Riom Communauté
2011 © Photos: Riom Communauté (P. Piera,
M.A. Barnier) / Les Amis de Marsat (A. Brunel),
G. Darmet.Graphic
Graphic Desing: LM communiquer. Printer: Vice Versa.
15
From the car park, there is a view
over the former convent gardens
now transformed into small
allotments.
Cloister capitals
A medieval wine grower’s
house.
10
Re-use of sculptures
(16th century).
2
A medieval wine grower’s
house.
11
Re-used shield (1651).
12
Mill.
3
House re-using renaissance
stonework.
13
Waterfalls and ford.
14
19th Century rockery fountain.
4
Grand fountain (1547) known
as Notre-Dame de Pitié.
15
View point.
16
17th century gateway.
5
Château.
6
Church of Notre-Dame
de l’Assomption (ISMH 1971).
17
Fountain (1889).
18
Second château tower.
7
Cross (MH 1913).
19
Fountain (1889).
8
Gate from the first half
of the 17th Century.
9
Remains of Cloister
(Late 12th century).
Tourist information panel
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Entrance
Church square
1
Gate
2
Northern Nave (tactile model)
3
Wax votive wheel
4
Black Madonna in Majesty
5
Treasury
6
Crucifix
7
Madonna in Majesty
8
Corbel: Hare
9
Corbel: Man with a dog’s face
10
Southern nave
11
Holy Water stoup
12
High alter
13
Cloister
14
Chapter House
15
Communal room
16
Gate (early 12th century)
17
Cross
18
War memorial
Notre-Dame de Marsat
Our Lady of Marsat
Map of the church and
surrounding streets
e
Discovery tours:
Instructions
7
8
16
9
Get to know the Pays de Riom
56
Pays d'art et d'histoire (Land
4
of art and history) in company
3
of a qualified guide approved
17
12
by the Ministry of Culture.
The guide welcomes you to
this area. He/she knows every
facet of the Riom area and
will give you the keys
Stairs
to understand the landscape
and the local history through
the towns and the villages
in the area. The guide is there
Drawn by
F. Voinchet
18
to answer your questions,
don’t hesitate to ask as many
as you like.
Streets
Walls
Priory church
1hr 30 mn
or a little more…
Parish church
On average tours last
Sacristy
an hour and a half
Chapter House
(unless otherwise stated).
Communal Room
You can take part without
Garden
the hassle of pre-booking.
Cloister (original galleries)
Garden (galleries rendered on the map)
Houses
In Marsat, the guide will
meet you at the church
of Notre-Dame of Marsat.
See the timetable for
our summer and winter
visit programmes.
Heritage visits
Information and reservations
Tour de l’Horloge
5, rue de l’Horloge 63200 Riom
Tel: +33 (0)4 73 38 99 94
Fax: +33 (0)4 73 38 90 83
Marsat
Priory: Cluniac site.
Notre-Dame de l’Assomption
(Our Lady of the Assumption) Church
• Open every day, all year
• April to October: 8am to 6.30pm
• November to March: 9am to 4pm
tactile model of the church and
conventual buildings
12 Century Black Madonna,
Wax Wheel, Treasury.
th
Pilgrimage 1st Saturday in May.
Remains of the cloister, garden,
chapter house.
Visit the old town
Wine grower’s houses, lavoir (wash
house), fountains, cross, castle ruins.
Riom
Heritage visits
From Tuesday to Sunday
• September to June: 10am to noon /
2pm to 5.30pm
• July and August: 10am to 6pm
Cour de l’hôtel de ville
(Town Hall courtyard)
23, rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 33 79 00
and
Jardin de la cour d’appel
(Court of Appeal Gardens)
• April to September: 8am to 7pm
• October to March: 8am to 5pm
Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel)
Entrance: court of appeal,
boulevard Chancelier-de-L’Hospital.
Visits: See the winter and summer
timetable
Surrounding area
Tour de l’Horloge
Mozac, Enval,
Saint-Bonnet-près-Riom
5, rue de l’Horloge
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 38 99 94
Fax +33 (0)4 73 38 90 83
patrimoine.riom-communaute.fr
www.riom-communaute.fr
Conducted tours with guides
approved by the Ministry of Culture:
see summer and winter programmes.
Groups by appointment.
Information: +33 (0)4 73 38 99 94.
From Tuesday to Sunday
• September to June
10am to noon / 2pm to 5pm
• July and August: open until 6pm
and until 8pm on Wednesdays
Saint-Bonnet-près-Riom
(Clock tower)
Musée régional
d’Auvergne
Arts et traditions populaires
(Museum of Art and Popular
Traditions of the Auvergne region)
10 bis rue Delille
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 38 17 31
Wine village
Church of Saint-Bonnet. Cru de
Madargue. Pays du Gamounet
Cultural Centre (Departmental centre
for traditional music and dance).
Mozac
Abbey church of Saint-Pierre
Cluniac site, Romanesque capitals,
a champlevé enamel chasse. Cloister.
Stone collection (only for guided
tours - +33 (0)4 73 38 99 94).
Enval
wine growing village
From Tuesday to Sunday
• April, May, June, September and
October: 10am to noon / 2pm to
5.30pm
• July and August: 10am to 6pm
(visits for groups can be arranged
outside these periods)
Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, stained
glass windows (only for guided tours +33 (0)4 73 38 99 94). Vigneron (wine
growers) houses, wine cellar district.
“World’s end” waterfall and gorges
illuminated in the evenings. APAGE
footpath (5km)
Musée
Francisque-Mandet
Le Cheix-sur-Morge
Beaux arts et arts décoratifs
(The Francisque-Mandet Museum
of Fine and Decorative Arts)
Church of Saint-Roch. Romanesque
bridge.
14, rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville
Tel. +33 (0)4 73 38 18 53
Fax +33 (0)4 73 38 73 05
A Limagne Village
Pays de Riom
Land of art and history
Discover y tour
Get to
know
Marsat

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