St. Pol De Leon

In the midst of that land which furnishes the south of England with most of its cauliflowers, artichokes, onions, and asparagus, truly off the beaten track, in that it is actually off the line of railway, is the strange and melancholy city of St. Pol de Leon, its clochers dominating, by day at least, both land and sea. It contains the famous ” Kreisker,” a name which sounds as though it were Dutch or North German, which it probably is along with other place names on the near-by coast, such as Grouin, St. Vaast, Roscoff, and La Hougue.

The tower and spire of this wonderful ” Kreisker ” rise boldly, from the transept crossing, in remarkable fashion, and as a marvel of construction may be said to far out rank the cathedral structure itself. ” Curious and clever ” well describes it. As for the former cathedral over which the Kreisker throws its shadow, it is one of those majestic twin-towered structures not usually associated with what, when compared with the larger French towns, must perforce rank as a mere village.

There is much to be said in favour of these little-known near-by places, namely, that the charm of their attractions amply repays one for any special labour involved in getting to them, with the additional advantage, regardless of the fact that a stranger appears somewhat to the native as a curiosity, that they are ” good value for the money paid.” Perhaps the cheapest Continental tour, of say three weeks, that could be taken, amid a constantly changing environment, if one so choose, would comprehend this land of Calvaries.

The two cathedral towers of early Gothic flank a generous porch. There is good glass throughout the church, the circular ” rose ” of the transept being a magnificent composition in a granite framing. The nave is of thirteenth-century Gothic, from the south aisle of which projects a large chapel dedicated to St. Michael. The double-aisled choir is garnished with sculptured stalls of the fifteenth century, and, separated from its aisles by a stone screen, is of much larger proportions than the nave, and likewise of a later epoch of building. The apse is flamboyant, as are also the windows of the south transept. In the chapels are various vaults and tombs, remarkably well preserved, but of no special moment. In one of these chapels, however, is a curious painting in the vaulting, representing a ” Trinity” possessing three faces, disposed in the form of a trefoil with three eyes only. A ribbon or ” banderalle ” bears an inscription in Gothic characters; in the Breton tongue, “Ma Donez” (Mon Dieu).