Sunday, 9 August 2015

In search of hidden treasures

The path to the chapel with the woods on the background.
We have been known to go to some lengths to find remains of Romanesque churches and chapels but the chapel at Dracy-lès-Couches has proved to be a very difficult one to find.

We have been twice before to try and locate this little chapel, to no avail, mostly because the route to where we thought the chapel should be, was so wet that we just couldn’t go any further.

Is this a wall or just a pile of stone?
With the drought that we are now experiencing, we decided to give it one more go. To be more precise, I decided, I think Cees had given up on the idea of ever finding this one.

The last time we had been to the site, there was a sign up saying chapel 200m, where a path led into a field and a cluster of trees beyond. On this visit, the sign had been removed, but fortunately my memory for places is good enough to know which path we had to take. We walked to where we had last managed to get to which was a cross roads of foot paths in amongst the trees and dense undergrowth. We then we proceeded to walk down each of those paths. All to no avail. This chapel looked like it was going to remain on the never-to-be-found list.

A gravestone - we are on the right track.
A bit disheartened we headed back to the car through the woods when I saw something. It looked like a small wall, it could have been just a pile of stones, but a quick check on the sun’s position in the sky and I could tell this was an east-west pile of stones, perfect as a foundation row for the side of a church. Cees was not convinced and I think he wanted his picnic lunch which was long overdue, due to the amount of walking we had done. He didn’t follow me into the undergrowth.

Finally the apse is in view.
I followed the row of stones towards the east to see if they would curve off and become an apse or not. I had to divert a bit to avoid the undergrowth and then I literally stumbled over a gravestone. I was very excited and called Cees over, and we headed eastwards together, to see if there was an apse or not. Not far from the gravestone and there it was – the apse.

It pays to be persistent and have a good sense of direction. So we can now declare one little Romanesque chapel has been found and it has been marked on Cees’ map.

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