Treguier

This old cathedral city, at the junction of two small streamlets, a short distance from the sea, lies perhaps a dozen miles away from the nearest railway. With St. Pol de Leon and St. Brieuc it is, in local characteristics and customs alike, a something apart from any other community in northern France. The Bretons are commonly accredited as being a most devout race, and certainly devotion could take no more marked turn than the many evidences here to be seen in this ” land of Calvaries.” St. Brieuc is a bishopric, suffragan of Rennes, whose cathedral is a hideous modern structure of the early nineteenth century quite unworthy as a shrine; but Treguier’s power waned with the Revolution. Its fourteenth-century church, however, is sufficiently remarkable by reason of its situation and surroundings, none the less than in its fabric, to warrant a deviation from well-worn roads in order to visit it. Chiefly of a late period, it possesses in the Tour de Hasting, named after the Danish pirate (though why seems obscure), which enfolds the north transept, a work of the best eleventh-century class. This should place the church, at once, within the scope of the designation of a ” transition ” type. In this tower the windows and pilasters are of the characteristic round variety of the period. The south porch is the most highly developed feature as to Medieval style, but the attraction lies mainly in its ensembled massiveness, with its two sturdy towers and a ridiculously spired south clocher. Beyond a certain grimness of fabric the church fails, not a little, to impress one with even simple grandeur, even when one takes into consideration the charms of its florid but firmly designed cloister, which, with the church itself, is classed by the Departement des Beaux Arts as one of the twenty-three hundred “Monumentes Historiques.” Nevertheless, the building proves more than ordinarily gratifying, though by no stretch of the imagination could it be classed as grand.

Loftiness and grandeur are equally lacking in the interior, and there is great variation of style with respect to the pillars of nave and choir. This is also the case with the windows, which play the gamut from the severe roundheaded Romanesque to the latest flamboyant development, a feature which not only disregards most conventions, but, as every one will admit, most flagrantly offends, with sad results, against the general constructive elements. A plain triforium, in the nave, blossoms out, in the south transept and choir, in no hesitating manner, into exceeding richness. The choir has an apsidal termination and contains carved wooden stalls which are classed as work of the mid-seventeenth century, though appearing much more time-worn.

The really popular attribute of the church lies in the reconstructed monument to St. Yves, the patron saint of advocates, and commonly considered the most popular in all the Brittany calendar.

Born near Treguier in 1253, St. Yves’ ” unheard-of probity and consideration for the sick and the poor ” gained such general respect that, with his death on the nineteenth of May, 1303, there was inaugurated a great feast which today is yearly celebrated, and all grieving against a real or fancied wrong have recourse promptly to the supposedly just favour of this universal patron of the law.