Fécamp Abbey

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Choir and crossing tower of the abbey church

The Abbey of La Trinité de Fécamp (lat. Abbatia Sancta Trinity Fiscampus . Od Fiscamnensis ) is a former Benedictine - Abbey in Fécamp ( Seine-Maritime , Normandy ). The abbey has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 .


The abbey dates back to the 7th century and arose from a community of monks around a holy blood relic. The construction of a church began in 659 and was consecrated in 665. In May 841 the abbey was the victim of a Viking raid .

Around the year 1000, Duke Richard I, who was born in Fécamp, began to rebuild the monastery. His son Richard II asked the monastery reformer William of Dijon for help in restoring the monastic community. Wilhelm traveled to Fécamp with monks, to whom he entrusted the monastery according to the Benedictine rule. About the abbey church, of which nothing remains, Dudo von Saint-Quentin reports , it has several towers, is made of both natural stone and bricks, whitewashed on the outside and painted on the inside. William of Dijon, who died in Fécamp in 1031, was buried in the church. His pupil, the important theologian Johannes von Fécamp , headed the abbey from 1028 to 1079.

Duke Wilhelm , the later conqueror of England, celebrated Easter in Fécamp in 1066 after Johannes von Fécamp had secured the financing of the campaign. In 1106 the abbey was enlarged and in 1168 it was struck by lightning. A new Gothic style church was completed in the 13th century.

In 1789 the abbey was looted and shortly afterwards abandoned by the monks.

Abbey church

Today's church building, built around 1170–1220, is one of the most significant and interesting examples of the transition from Romanesque to early Gothic in Normandy. Little remained of the previous building, consecrated in 990 and 1099: of the latter, which burned down in 1168, only two chapels remain on the north side of the ambulatory (consecrated in 1106, the oldest on the Norman mainland). Immediately afterwards, a new building began in the styles of the beginning Gothic. The abbey’s wealth, amassed by crowds of pilgrims, allowed for rapid construction progress by medieval standards. Before 1219 , the building was essentially completed with the five western bays of the nave, with their slender shapes in the pillar cross-sections and the arcades of the galleries, a more developed style than the five eastern bays. The unusual length of the nave (the church is two meters longer than Notre-Dame in Paris ) and architectural elements such as the ambulatory can also be explained by the role of the building as a pilgrimage church. The choir and transept still belong to the 12th century. The Lady Chapel in the apex of the choir was renewed towards the end of the 15th century. In 1748 the west building was replaced by a facade in the classic French Baroque style. The entrance is lined with statues of the dukes Richard I and Richard II, who are the most important donors for the abbey, who are also buried in the church in the south transept. Typical of Norman building habits is the lighted, 65 meter high crossing tower . The furnishings come from different eras. The stained glass windows from the 13th century have been brought together in the Marienkapelle, the stained glass paintings with depictions of the Trinity, St. Taurinus and Susanna . Its creator was probably Arnold von Nijmwegen, an important glass painter from Rouen . The main altar also dates from the Renaissance . In the 18th century, the altar canopy and stalls were placed in the choir.



  • Katrin Brockhaus: L'abbatiale de La Trinité de Fécamp et l'architecture normande au Moyen Âge (= Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie. Vol. 44). Société des Antiquaires de Normandie, Caen 2009, ISBN 978-2-9510558-7-2 .
  • Antoine Roux de Lincy : Essai historique et littéraire sur l'Abbaye de Fécamp. Édouard Frère, Rouen 1840, ( digitized ).

Web links

Commons : Fécamp Abbey  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Gall, pp. 55, 298-301
  2. The section follows the description of the building history in Schäfke, pp. 119–123

Coordinates: 49 ° 45 ′ 19 ″  N , 0 ° 22 ′ 54 ″  E