Saint-Martin-aux-Bois, Église Saint-Martin


    In the late 11th century a chapter of Augustinian canons was founded from the monastery of S-Quentin in Beauvais in a place called Ruricourt. The name "S-Martin-aux-Bois" is only found from the late thirteenth century. S-Martin became a very wealthy monastery, however, in 1445 the monastic precinct was badly damaged by fire -- it was probably at this time that the west end of the church was destroyed. The remaining monastic buildings were demolished after 1793.


    Begun ca. 1240


    The plan, with a five-bay aisled nave (no transept) terminating in a seven-segment apse with no ambulatory produces a sense of overwhelming spatial unity. Two towers flank the nave -- with the loss of the western nave bays they now mark the frontispiece. The plan may be compared with Rampillon and S-Sulpice-de-Favières.


    Three stories: the arcade wall, very thin and articulated with a sharp triangular molding, is supported by slender piers made up of four colonnettes (thicker piliers cantonnés to the west). Each bay of the triforium is made up of three recessed chamfered blind quatrefoils; there is a tall clerestory window. Quadripartite vaults with sharp moldings and beaked capitals like the ambulatory of Beauvais cathedral. The apse is glazed from top to bottom making a cage of glass and tracery, with a horizontal transom dividing the windows in the middle


    Work began around 1240; in 1261 Jean de Rouvilliers donated a window; in 1271 Abbot Gallon de Montigny was buried in front of the altar.


    Very strong architectural references are made to the cathedrals of Amiens and Beauvais, particularly the ambulatory of the latter. Links can also be made to S-Jacques at Compiègne. Yet the extreme austerity of of the program seems entirely appropriate for a community of Augustinians.

    Barrault, Abbé, "Notice sur l'église de Saint-Martin-aux-Bois," Bull. mon., 9, 1843, 43-56
    Bidault, M., and Lautier, C., Ile-de-France gothique, Paris, 1987, 332-340.
    Morel, chanoine, "Eglise de Saint-Martin-aux-Bois," Méms. de la Soc. arch et hist. de Clermont, 2, 1907, 19-100.
    Vergnet-Ruiz, Jean, "L'église abbatiale de Saint-Martin-aux-Bois," Compte-rendus et méms de la Soc arch et hist de Clermont-en-Beauvaisis, 1944, 40-50.
    ----- and Vanuxem, Jean, "L'église de la'abbaye de Saint-Martin-aux-Bois," Bull mon 103, 1945, 137-173.
    -----, and -----, "Saint-Martin-aux-Bois et le duché d'Halluin," Groupe d'Etudes des Monuments et Oeuvres d'Art du Beauvaisis, Bulletin, 4, 1978, 1-120.
    Baron, Nicole et Louis, "Saint-Martin-aux-Bois (Oise) Esquisse d'une chronique de l'abbaye, Revue archéologique de l'Oise, 18, 1980, 19-29.