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Southern Burgundy Romanesque ChurchesLancharre Romanesque Church

Built in the 11th century, the Romanesque Church of Lancharre was originally part of the Priory of Lancharre founded by the Lord of Brancion under the direction of the Abbot of Cluny. The church fell into the hands of the Duke of Burgundy in 1259 when the Lord of Brancion - Henri was forced to sell his seminaries as a result debt incurred during the crusades. Up until this time the woman living at the priory were not nuns but local noblewoman called canonesses who did not live under church rule.

At some point in the 12th century the Priory of Lancharre came under church rule and the was governed by a series of prioresses.

The priory was run by prioresses until 1626 when the nuns left and moved to Chalon. When the nuns left they are thought to have demolished large sections of the church and built a wall as a means to secure it from falling down. It was believed that the church had become unstable.

After 1626 and until 1789 the Priory of Lancharre was known as a Royal Abbey with full protection of the King of France. Abbesses ran the church until November 13th of 1789 when the final 26 nuns left.

The Church of Lancharre had major remodeling take place during the 13th century when the original church was expanded and more than doubled in size. This left the bell tower, made taller during the remodeling, off center and create what must have been overpowering structure for its time, as the church became over 104 feet long.

Today the Church of Lancharre is but a shell of it former self, all that is left is the head of the cross - bell tower and altar. Where the nave once was is now a cemetery. There is also the ruin of a sidewall that now borders the cemetery.

The most notable feature in the inside the church is the tombstones. Most were the tombstones of former prioresses and lords who protected the church and date from between the 12th and 13th centuries.

Lancharre is a hamlet of the village Chapaize and is located half an hour's drive from Tournus and the A6 autoroute just off the D215 road.

The Church of Lancharre makes for a nice side visit if you're planning on visiting Chapaize or the region of Southern Burgundy. It is one of over 30 Romanesque churches in the region.

See a video of this church.

Hotels in Burgundy

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