Chemilly, Église Saint-Denis

    The parish of the diocese of Bourges, confirmed to Souvigny by Pope Eugene III in 1152. In the 12th-century church two side aisles flank a narrow central nave with three bays; a non-projecting transept opens onto a central apse and two apsidal chapels. The pointed barrel vault of the central aisle is articulated with arches, which spring from massive cruciform piers. The lateral aisles are groin vaulted. There are no capitals, only plain cornices--wall painting was intended as the interior's sole decoration. On the exterior of the west façade, the projecting portal is flanked by six colonnettes, with ornate capitals, which are topped by an archivolt with multiple orders and a plain lintel. In addition, there is another portal on the southwest end of the nave--another similarity with the neighboring church in Besson. A much later sacristy has been added to the southeastern end of the transept. Decorative corbels support a cornice molding, which lines the roof of the apse. The masonry of the exterior walls of the transept can be described as an ashlar skeleton filled in with petit appareil. The building, although small, has a certain compressive power that results from the narrowness of the main vessel and the height of the apses and transept. Upon initial impression, the building appears to be in sound structural condition, although to a certain extent this is misleading. On the southwestern buttress of the nave, there are three telltale bands. Dated April 30th, 1939, these have already cracked: evidence that concern with the structure's stability is well founded.