This parish is a part of the Lamonzie-Saint-Martin commune. It
was built by the order of June 4, 1853. The new church was
built from the Baronne of Fontvielle’s generous gifts.
Saint-Roch is the patron saint, whose day is celebrated August
16. The patron saint of the former church was Saint-Front.
In the Book of Insinuations (1594 page 21) is written: "vicaria
perpetua Saint Frontonis de Monteil". This church is so
designated in old titles: "Montil, Montels, Montelz 1117
Cartulary de Sainte Marie de Saintes; "eccl. de Montels (notice
of 1556) "Le Monteil" (pouillé of 1648).
The new church is
gothic style. It is a square, 14 metres long by four metres,
which is sufficient for the population. It has a rostrum and is
topped with an elegant steeple. Fifteen stained-glass windows:
St Roch, St Joseph, St Pierre and St Paul, our Heavenly Father;
statues: the Virgin, St Joseph; three altars, two doors; damp
sacristy though there is a fireplace, 600 L bell.
Excerpt from the file of Christophe Lafont “History of
Lamonzie-Saint-Martin” pages 6 & 7.
Monteil or Le Monteil
A very old parish, which was given by Count Boson of Périgord to
the Abbey Sainte-Marie of Saintes. The abbey’s Cartulary calls
it Montils (Monticulus, monticule [hillock, mound, heap])
Montelz, Montels in 1117.
During all of the Middle Ages, the parish came under the
jurisdiction of Montcuq. It was separated from it at the end of
the 16th century and, since then, is included in the
jurisdiction and barony of Saint-Martin.
Destroyed during the Religious Wars, rebuilt under the reign of
Louis XIV, Monteil church, whose patron is Saint Roch, was
closed under the Revolution and soon fell into ruin.
The Concordat neglected Le Monteil. It wasn’t until 1853 that
the parish got back its title and came alive again, under the
care of M. the Abbot Granier. Then its gracious church, a small
gem of modern architecture whose Gothic architecture with
lancets recalls the best era, was put to rights.
Parish priests since 1853: MM. Granier, Pigeat, Lafont, Lobeau,
Loiseau, Jaunay, Bonhomme and Magat.
Excerpt from the file of Christophe Lafont “History of
Lamonzie-Saint-Martin” pages 9 & 10.
1822 - Foundation and construction of Tuilières temple. M. Elie
Chouet provided the land and used all his influence (he was
mayor at that time) to have his citizens contribute to this
Pasteur Bastée preached there.
(Memories of My Aunt Anne Boyer) A.R.A.H. bulletin n°11
The Condition of the Church of Saint-Martin-de-Gardonne in 1687
“They are all new converts and of the 500 inhabitants of the
parish, there are not even 10 former Catholics.
This church does everything new, there are no old foundations,
and what presently serves as a church is nothing but a little
chapel that can’t hold more than 60 people.
It has to be torn down because it is in the middle of the place
where we want to build the church. The walls being only earth, I
believe it would cost all of the 1070 pounds at which it was
Excerpt from volume 103
Bulletin of the Historical and Archaeological Society of
A Sailor’s Wife at Lamonzie-Saint-Martin
Blanche Franc de Ferrière, Wife of Pierre Loti
On March 21, 1940, at Bertranet, in the commune of
Lamonzie-Saint-Martin, Blanche Franc de Ferrière passed away at
the age of 81.
She was buried in the family cemetery, in a small woods a few
hundred metres from her birthplace, Birondie, in Pomport.
Her father, Jacques Franc de Ferrière, also born at La Birondie,
was the grandson of Pierre Franc de Ferrière, commander in the
nation guard at La Force during the Revolution.
Blanche, who was born August 21, 1859, a Protestant like the
rest of her family, spent her youth between Bordeaux and the
Périgord. Small, pretty, and romantic, she had still not met her
prince charming when her father died in 1884, just after she
In 1886, the mother of a brilliant naval officer asked for her
in marriage. Julien Viaud combined the charm of a prestigious
uniform with the talent of a romantic, exotic, entrancing writer.
Raised at Rochefort among mother, sister, grandmother, and aunt,
Julien was 15 years old when he lost his brother Gustave, 12
years older than he. A naval surgeon, Gustave died at sea while
returning from a long stay in Indochina. Julien was shattered,
and gave up becoming a pastor to prepare for Naval College.
At the age of 36, Julien had only sailed the seas and all his
family circle worried about his prolonged bachelorhood. He ended
by giving in to his mother on four conditions: that his wife be
pretty, rich, Protestant, and shorter than he. Indeed, he wore
heels as high as his uniform would allow. Blanche answered all
these conditions. How could she not be conquered by Pierre Loti,
whose novels speak so much of love? The affair was conducted in
a lively manner, and the marriage was celebrated October 20,
1886 Soon, there she was, in the house at Rochefort where
fancy-dress balls followed one another in the strangest décors.
For his part, Julien discovered his handsome Périgourdine family
of land-owning origins with surprise. He visited his
mother-in-law at Valadou castle in Bonneville, then at Bertranet
in Lamonzie-Saint-Martin. He made the acquaintance of Daniel,
his brother-in-law, at Vidasse castle in Pessac-sur-Dordogne.
Blanche was expecting a baby, but a fall down the stairs caused
the premature birth of little Samuel, who did not survive, and
left his mother half deaf. Pierre Loti’s exaggerated sensitivity
suffered badly from the loss of this hope for posterity. Two
years later, the birth of a new little Samuel fulfilled his wish
for descendants. But Blanche was not happy. She discovered that
her husband maintained a mistress at Rochefort. She had given
him a son before the birth of Samuel; she would subsequently
have two more.
No more than for Blanche, he did not feel passion for her, he
simply wanted Basque descendants. Pierre Loti, flighty,
capricious, and unstable, lived several roles at a time. He was
always enamoured of costumes and of practical jokes, but he also
had a generous heart, flying to help lost causes and souls in
This fit badly with Blanche’s simple, straightforward nature.
Her deafness isolated her even more from her husband. She
withdrew more and more often, with her mother, to Bertranet,
where she spent the last 17 years of her life.
A sad story, the other side of a bright medal, the life of
Blanche de Franc de Ferrière never let her blossom out as she
Her self-sacrifice, however, has contributed to making Pierre
Loti the novelist who made our grandmothers dream.
Text by Louis Eckert
Excerpt from n° 14 of Ici review of the l'A.R.A.H. (Association
de Recherches Archéologiques et Historique du Pays de La Force)
Toward the end of the 10th century, Boson le Vieux, count of
la Marche, and, by marriage, Count of Périgord, founded a
priory of nuns in St Sylvain parish, on the left bank of the
Dordogne river, downstream of Bergerac, where, in his wife's
right, he owned large estates.
The existence of this priory is vouched for several charters
of Saintes, in particular, by charters 140, 21 and 192.
However, the first priory did not belong to Saintes abbey,
which, at that time, had not yet been founded.
The grandson of
Boson le Vieux decided to offer St Sylvain church and the priory
to the royal abbey of Saintes, whose church was consecrated in
The arrival of the Benedictines at St Sylvain can be only
between 1067 and 1072.
After the death of Bosin III, Adebert installed “by force”, at
Lamonzie, an authorised representative that he called his “curate”.
In spite of promises made, he charged him with collecting taxes
and rents, to the detriment of the priory, which used them to
pay the count. In payment for his services, Aldebert II granted
him land, a passage connecting the river and Lamonzie, a mill at
the port of Prigonrieux, and other advantages taken from the
Attested as the only count as of 1073, Aldebert II’s oldest son,
Hélie IV, would make a mistake much more serious than that of
In 1077, he openly violated the promises of his predecessors and
concluded a pact with the monks of the Paunat priory. “Donation
to Paunat by Hélie, Count of Périgord, of the church of Sainte
Marie and of Saint Sylvain, which is situated... above the
Dordogne river and all that belongs to it and falls within its
Toward 1086, the bishop of Périgueux, Renaud of Thiviers, gave
the Coutures church to Sainte Marie and Saint Sylvain, on the
advice of Etienne de Labrea, the archpriest on whom this church
This gift was granted and confirmed by Drogo of Puy-Aguy,
Entregot and second of Gardonne, according to charter 180.
Subsequently, Second de Gardonne would give yet another land, at
Saint Victor (la Force), a gift recorded by charter 161.
Hélie IV died in 1104 and the count’s power passed jointly to
his brother, Aldebert III, and to his oldest son, Guillaume
If, up until 1115, Aldebert III was several times witness to
important gifts made at Saint Sylvain, and if no charter called
his loyalty toward the priory into question, it was not the same
for Guillaume Talairand.
During the years that passed from 1089-1081, Saint Sylvain was
very prosperous, which excited covetousness. The monks of Paunat,
in particular, kept a nostalgia for this abundant land.
Their regrets pushed the abbot of Saint Martial to scheme with
the count, who ended by giving in to his false advice and his
promises. Shortly after the death of Aldebert III, toward 1116,
Guillaume of Talairand betrayed his promise and repeated the
guilty action of his father in 1077.
The bishop of Périgueux, seized by a complaint lodged by the
abbess of Saintes, gave an account of this infamy in charter 22.
“In his diabolic inspiration, he sold the above-mentioned church
of Saint Sylvain to the monks of Saint Martial of Limoges, for
the sum of 1000 sols, and what is more, with increased malice,
having penetrated armed into the church, violently expelled the
servants of Christ, and forced them to go to Saintes on foot.”
The sentence was finally pronounced on June 14, 1113. The bishop
“awards the abbess Sibylle the church and domain of Saint
Sylvain, well restored, which were unjustly given by Guillaume,
count, to the monks of Limoges, and which they seized by
violence.” As for the monks, settled in Saint Sylvain for about
15 years, aware of the tight corner in which they found
themselves “after having turned into money all the church’s
supplies, and pawned that which they could not sell, they fled
by night, leaving house and church devoid of everything. The
bishop himself escorted the Benedictines to Saint Sylvain. There,
the son of the guilty man, Hélie Talairand, and his wife,
Philippa, in accordance with the bishop’s sentence” pronounced
the expulsion of the monks, giving back the church and the
priory to the abbess and increasing gifts offered by their
predecessors”. They returned the church “to the hands of dame
Nonetheless, difficulties remained to be resolved at Saint
Sylvain. The Benedictines endeavoured to have the monks’
transactions cancelled. In certain cases it was impossible. On
July 23, 1148, the abbot of Saint Martial agreed to compromise.
The abbess would keep Saint Sylvain, but every year, at the
feast of the Assumption, the priory must deliver a half-pound (demi-livre)
of silver to the Montandra priory, which depended on Saint
Martial. (Charter 24)
From that moment on, documents became very rare, indeed
non-existent, at a time when many events would completely change
the Bergerac area. The Dordogne valley became a field of battle.
French and English, sometimes conquerors, sometimes conquered,
ravaged the region until 1225, when the troops of Henry III of
England took Bergerac and forced its lord, Hélie Rudel le Vieux
to pay homage to their king.
What is it with Saint Sylvain, just at the edge of the river and
very close to the road that crosses the plain?
Neither the church nor the priory were provided with defences.
And if, by miracle, they were spared, the war started again in
Toward 1320 Saint Sylvain numbered no more than two nuns. At the
death of the prioress, the last Benedictine left to seek refuge
at Saintes. The buildings, abandoned and probably partly in
ruins, ended by collapsing. They were never again put to rights.
Only the church was repaired in the 14th century, or probably
entirely rebuilt. Architects date the oldest parts from this
epoch — the steeple in particular, of the building still
A bit later, the precautions taken by the pope to guarantee the
priory’s temporal existence proved to be ineffective because of
the distance between Saint Sylvain and the abbey, these estates
being combined with those of the clergy of Sarlat.
Source : Périgord Historic and Archaeological Society (Société
Historique et Archéologique du Périgord) Volume 103