The Preceptory of Baugy

Translation : Andrew Zolnai
No pictures available

La chapelle de Baugy
The chapel of Baugy
Source : M. de Caumont, Bulletin monumental, tome 1, série 3, volume 21, Paris 1855 -pages 667/670 -
France, department of Calvados

France, department of Calvados, around 16km south-west of Bayeux and around 20 km north-east of Saint-Lô, in the commune of Planquery.

An important commandery of the Order was established in Baugy. This location was to the East of Balleroy, along the secondary road n°13 in the commune of Planquery. The preceptory gave its name to a hamlet of the commune.
This facility was offered to "the Poor Knights of Jesus-Christ" in 1148 by Roger Bacon Molay(1). The domains of the preceptory extended across the viscounties of Vire and Bayeux, and notably included the hamlet of the Temple in the commune of Cahagnes.

Portail de la chapelle
The portal of the chapel
Source : M. de Caumont, Bulletin monumental, tome 1, série 3, volume 21, Paris 1855 -pages 667/670 -

The only remains of the old Baugy preceptory are parts of the chapel and the foundations of the seigneurial manor. The chapel "Notre Dame of the Temple", rather damaged, was originally composed of five spans.
It was a simple and austere building of the 13rd century. Flanked by massive buttresses, the chapel nevertheless offered a certain appeal through its simplicity.

le tympan d'une des portes de la chapelle
Détail du tympan
On the west was a door above which were three arches. The door archvault was supported by two small columns on each side, and each column featured a sculpted capital.
On the tympanum, one can still see the Lamb of Christ topped by a cross. Symbolic of ressurection, the lamb is a metaphor for Christ sacrificing himself for the salvation of man.

One may also find in Baugy church the recumbent figure of Brother Richard d'Harcourt(2) representing the maimed effigy of the deceased.
Brother Richard, with clasped hands, and head on a pillow, is clothed in chain mail covered by the long white and sleeveless tunic of the Templars.
He has a shield typical of those used at the end of the 12th century, with a sharp point, and adorned with his blazon "of gules with two gold faces".

Quite precise information on the Preceptory of Baugy is available thanks to an inventory drawn up by Jean de Verretot(3), bailliff of Caen, on October 13, 1307, the day the Templars were arrested by Philippe the Fair, King of France.

Gisant de Richard d'Harcourt
Gisant de Richard d'Harcourt

Included in the Baugy inventory the Royal steward counted: 180 sheep, 14 dairy cows, 8 calves, 3 bulls, 3 heifers, 2 plough bullocks, 98 pigs, 1 sow (and its 8 piglets), 8 mares, 8 foals, the horse of the Preceptor, and 5 plough horses.
There were also several servants attached to this preceptory (25 persons in all): 6 ploughmen, 3 servants for the dairy (to make butter and cheese), 1 shepherd, 1 cowherd, 1 manservant for the preceptor, ...

Notes :

(1)The family Bacon Molay or Molay Bacon is an old Norman noble family. Roger III is the fifth lord of Molay. He was born about 1126 - 1130 and died in 1190.

(2)Richard of Renneville or Richard of Harcourt, second son of Robert I of Harcourt. He was also behind the creation of the preceptories of Bretteville and Renneville.

(3)We have little information about this person. He is Viscount of Arques (now Arques-la-Bataille) in 1298 and bailiff of Caen from 1303 to 1312.

More references... Bibliography
  1. "Sur les Pas des Templiers en Bretagne, Normandie et Pays de Loire"
    M. Dumontier, N. Villeroux, G. Bernage T. Barreau; Editions Henry Vernier 1986
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Translation : Andrew Zolnai
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