Bayet, Église Saint-Marcel

    Parish of the former diocese of Clermont, from the 12th century dependent on S-Pourçain. A three-aisled nave of three bays topped by an articulated barrel vault is flanked by aisles with quadrant vaults similar to those in the churches at Chappes and Châtel-de-Neuvre. The western frontispiece is modern. To the east a narrower bay serves as choir and supports a crossing tower that springs from a rectangular bay and terminates in a post-medieval octagonal bell tower. There is no transept. Like many of the churches in the area—Meillard, Contigny etc., the articulation of the interior is minimal--the church’s decoration previously relied on a painting program. In fact, in the apse there are remnants of a wall fresco, possibly from the 13th century. The narrower choir bay may have been constructed later than the nave: the transverse arch of the choir vault springs out from corbelled colonnettes. The haunches of the western arches of the second bay are swallowed by the vault, suggesting that the current vault may not be original. It seems as though the apse and the third bay represent the older core of what was once an unvaulted structure. Accordingly, the apse and the third bay are oldest, while the tower bay and the bay to its west are newer. A later renovation sees the reworking of the most western bay and the west façade. The whole of the exterior has undergone restoration, as evidenced by the thick coat of plaster on the outer walls. Interior masonry surfaces have probably been reworked in the eighteenth century.