Ébreuil, Église Saint-Léger

    Former abbey church settled in 898 by monks from S-Maixent-en-Poitou, fleeing the Vikings. It was claimed that the body of Saint Léger remained here after the return of most of the monks to S-Maixent in 906. In 1180 Ebreuil became a Benedictine abbey. The church is made up of a wooden-roofed nave of six bays flanked by barrel-vaulted aisles (southern aisle rebuilt in the 17th century) and preceded by a huge clocher-porche like S-Benoît-sur-Loire. The crossing is covered with an octagonal domical vault on squinches: the upper crossing space opens into quandrant-vaulted bays by means of “flying screens” characteristic of Carolingian architecture. The south transept has disappeared; the deeply arcaded north transept façade is reminiscent of churches in the Auvergne. The nave and transept probably belong to the time of Abbort Gerbert (d.1064/72)—in other words, to the time of the construction of the main arcades of the nave of Souvigny. To the east is a choir terminating in a hemicycle of five bays opening into an ambulatory and five radiating chapels. The nave and transept are thought to belong to the late 11th century, the choir to the first decades of the thirteenth century (Kurmann proposed c1220).