Our beautiful church is in great danger
We need your help!
We welcome any suggestions,
encouragements, advice, contacts…
We also and above all need your donations and support to start the necessary repairs and restorations of Notre-Dame de Ménerval to prevent it from collapsing and from being declared in imminent danger of even being definitively closed!
We appeal to your generosity: please, help us save Notre-Dame de Ménerval! All your efforts are welcome. You can click on the link below “Faire un don” to donate.
A church in imminent danger
We need YOUR HELP to make it happen!
Located in the Normandy Region.a few kilometers from Forges-les-Eaux and Gournay-en-Bray, Notre-Dame de Ménerval is one of the purest examples of Brayon architecture:
Under the neighboring Abbey of Saint-Germer de Fly, its foundations date back to the 10th century. Completed in the 12th century for the nave and the bell tower and in the 16th century for the choir, its location in a green haven, in a medallion surrounded by very old houses is remarkable and attested as early as the 12th century, within this village renowned since the Middle Ages for the quality of its milk.
A true gem of local art and a French national heritage site listed in the “inventaire supplémentaire des monuments historiques” since 2001, it is one of the most beautiful and spacious churches in our region. Its Latin cross plan with a nave ends with a polygonal apse. Broken arch windows and buttresses punctuate the walls. The choir is covered with a steep-sided slate covered roof. A steeple crowned with its polygonal slate spire emerges at the crossing of the transept.
The building is of great interest, comes mainly from the age of its vast nave and the framework of the choir, a wooden arch, dated 1506, and entirely sculpted. This engraved inscription can be found on one of the box springs: “l’an M. V cent fust livré cette œuvre présente“ – (On the year M. V cent was delivered this work).
In the turmoil of the Revolution in 1793, the choir was used as a prison for suspects. It has returned to its original destination today, but unfortunately had to be closed to the public for security reasons recently. The church’s roof – badly damaged due to weather conditions endured throughout the centuries – is still standing thanks to the parishioners’ efforts. However, measures such as plastering the arch of the nave – originally made up of splendid wooden arches – had to be taken to preserve the building.
Built in the Cistercian spirit of the 12th century, Notre-Dame de Ménerval, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, represents a perfect pairing of thousands of stones, most of them stripped of any ornamentation. Its architecture is characterized by the purification of lines, the austerity of the decorations and by the harmonious use of the broken barrel vault, an architecture inaugurated in Cluny precisely in the 11th century.
It has preserved a magnificent baroque altarpiece from the 17th century as well as motifs carved in the beams (plants, animals, escutcheons), often evoking grimacing characters.
Among the many treasures in danger due to the roof’s damages, are a beautiful statue of the Virgin and Child in polychrome wood, a magnificent wooden eagle lectern and a large obituary marble engraved with the arms of Thierry de Campulley.
Madonna and Child in polychrome
The preservation of the church has been solely funded by the municipality of Ménerval and its inhabitants, without any State’s subsidies. It is now time to launch a vast safeguarding, preservation and restoration Program, its first mission being the renovation of the roof of the nave threatened to collapse.
The dilapidated state of our church is a trauma to each and every one of us. But we all share the belief that every person is resilient and that this resilience can be intensified with the help and support of a group.
Ménerval is slowly dying: our businesses and our communal spaces are deserted. Notre-Dame de Ménerval is all we have left – the last remaining cultural and religious center of our village.
Let’s all get together to protect our church! If you are interested in participating in the fundraising efforts, you can do so either by making donations online or by writing directly to the association. We sincerely hope that many of you will come and join us.
The Bureau and the members of the association
The electrical compliance work was undertaken in 2005, due to the absolute emergency of securing the building. In 2017, the Municipality of Ménerval, Contracting Authority, requested a detailed diagnosis performed by a Historic Preservation architect: the Cabinet d’Architecture of Mrs. Frédérique PETIT.
When focusing on the roof deteriorations, the observed disorders are worrying:
“The south side of the nave does not have continuous gutters. Portions of gutters were installed directly above the buttress, pouring water on either side of it, splashing out at its foot.
At the angle between the South transept and the South side of the nave, a portion of Havraise gutter was installed to collect rainwater from the West side of the South transept, evacuated in a bend pipe and outpouring on the ground. This unusual arrangement causes excessive development of lichen on the wet wall.
The gutter on the south side of the choir is leaky, however the roof has been redone and the infiltrations have been repaired. Old and inactive traces of parasitic development and fungi are still visible and have most likely altered the mechanical properties of the most stressed structural Carpentry.
The rainwater downspouts flow is drained through an elbow into the cement gutter. The absence of a water collection network leads to problems of occasional infiltration into the ground… ”
The conclusions and proposals of this architect were accepted by the municipality of Ménerval, which subsequently voted the launch of an initial restoration work to protect the church from water – as an emergency measure. However, the Municipality doesn’t have the funds to start this urgent restoration. We therefore appeal to your generosity and help!
The church houses classified treasures that need to be preserved, in particular:
– A funerary plaque of Jacques de Campulley and Catherine Françoise de Gouffier,
– A sculpted group: Saint Nicolas,
– The altar (high altar),
– The tabernacle,
– The altarpiece,
– A statue: Virgin and Child,
– A painting: Virgin and Child,
– A painting: Saint Jean-Baptiste,
– An eagle-lectern,
– Recumbent effigy of Saint Onista, 1st century martyr of the 1st century.
The architectural restoration project must be carried out in different phases, due to the scale and importance of the damages. However, we have to act and react without further ado to protect the existing building and preserve it from further water damages.