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Monteil Church

Le Monteil

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.

Tuillères Temple

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 important work.
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 estimated.”

Excerpt from volume 103
Bulletin of the Historical and Archaeological Society of Périgord

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 turned 25.
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 sorrow.
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 should have.
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)


Saint Sylvain Church

History of Saint Sylvain

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 1047.
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 nuns.
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 his father.
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 power...”

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 depended.
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 Talairand.

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 Agnes, nun”.
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 1254.
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 existing.
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