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The Bastide of Villeneuve d'Aveyron

(link to Villefranche-de-Rouergue)

 

Link to Maps of the Pilgrimage Roads of France

 

Back to from Aubrac to the River Lot and Conques

 

 

    

The main square in the Bastide of Villeneuve d'Aveyron

 

 

A Priory was set up in Villeneuve as a dependency of the (by then) Clunaic Abbey of St-Pierre, Moissac in the 1000s.  The Priory church had a Greek Cross footprint (the red outline in the plan on the right), with monastic buildings grouped on its south east side.

 

In 1231 the last of the the awful Raymonds of Toulouse (number VII, son of Joan of England) set up a bastide based on the village around the priory, which was called Villeneuve.  The town, which was on the Via Podiensis - the pilgrims' Road from le Puy to Santiago de Compostela - was further upgraded when it was designated "Royal" 40 years later.  At the same time the monastery was enlarged and the east side of the church was knocked down to enable a nave to be added, so that the expanded church became a Latin cross and reflected the Bastide's new found status.

 

Our visit here was to see the remarkable frescos of pilgrims, painted at the beginning of the 1300s in the north apse of the old Greek Cross Romanesque priory church (the one on the right side of the plan).  This is how pilgrims were dressed at a time when Dante and Giottio were in their mid thirties, and Marco Polo was also still around.

 

The purses slung over their shoulders were called "scrips".  The scrips often displayed the badge of the pilgrim route (in this case the scallop shell of Compostela).  They usually did not contain much more that an eating bowl, a knife for cutting and eating food (in conjunction with the thumb), a trinket or two and a spare set of undies - no 50 litre backpacks in those days - pilgrims threw themselves mendicant like on the mercy and generosity of those they met on the road. 

 

 

 

 

Stone masons at work - why was this defaced one wonders?  Link to a distinctively faced colleague in Poitiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scallop shells, logo of pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela, appear on pilgrim scrips (purses) and hats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A scallop badged pilgrim - ?killing a whale? dragon?

 

 

 

An undefaced lecherous devil, grasping something intimate one suspects !

 

 

 

 

Link to  Villefranche-de-Rouergue

 

 

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