Cyrillic Script - A mystery sailing ship
For many years a familar, blue-hulled schooner, transformed into a musem - La Goelette St Sauveur - has been moored in the harbour at St Goustan. Sadly we discovered this tourist attraction was damaged, possibly beyond repair, and removed from the harbour in May2009 .
On our October 2009 visit a small sailing ship we had not seen before was anchored mid-stream opposite Franklin Quay.
An elegant vessel with its name written in Cyrillic script.
There was no wind at all, its flag remained semi furled, only faint glimpses of faded blue and yellow could be seen - so its country of origin could not be identified.
My husband knows Russian but was not sure about the writing on the hull - but he wondered if it might be Ukrainian or Bulgarian.
It was a pretty vessel and if anyone can identify its origin I'd be really pleased.
A mystery no more!
With many thanks to VT Members ChristinaNest, Fugu, HunterV and Kaspian, with whose combined help and advice I can now add the following information about this ship.
It is a 1992 reconstruction of a classic Ukranian ship of the type known as Chaika (seagull) or Cossacks Chaika.
The name of this ship may be translated as Sacred Shroud or more literally The Most Holy Protecting Veil (of the Mother of God).
The ship voyages to various northern European ports. I'm really pleased we saw her in St Goustan, Auray.
Look out for her on your travels - thanks to VT you will recognise her!
La Fontaine Chazelles - more local history.
In the background of the first picture you can see, opposite Franklin Quay, a small structure built in granite..
This is La Fontaine Chazelles, named after the local official who was responsible for bringing the first public water supply to the inhabitants of St Goustan in 1821.
The importance of safe public water supplies cannot be over emphasised in the control and eradication of fatal diseases. Sad to reflect how many of the world's population still await - nearly 200 hundred years on - a Mon. Chazelles where they live.
The fountain was also used by the many trading boats that used the harbour so that they could leave port with fresh water for the next part of their voyage.
Not visible, the remains of an ancient public washery for laundry can be seen nect to the fountain.
The ground on the opposite quai Martin was too wet for me to get there for a photograph. The picture in picture 2 is therefore courtesy of Wikipedia under the agreed licence procedure.
L'Eglise de Saint Sauveur
This is the parish church of St Goustan. Situated at the top of the narrow cobbled, steep hill that leads up from the harbourit stands on the site of a much older church.
Erected in the mid 1400's it has undergone many changes.
A devastating fire in 1886 destroyed most of the Church and the only original thing that remains from the medieval period is the the entrance porch and doors.
At the back of the church in a small square now used for car parking you can see an ancient cross that I would think probably predates the church built in the 15th century. No reference to it is made in any of my guide books and there was no local plaque to provide information.
The Chapel of our Lady of Lourdes
Some years after Bernadette claimed to have seen a vison of Mary in the grotto at Lourdes her story was verified.
It was then that the Vicar at Saint Sauveur in St Goustan decided that a Chapel dedicated to her honour and memory should be built.
The chapel was built in 1878 - just across the road from the Parish Church. The interior was richly decorated with a grotto and stained windows that tell and commerorate the story of Bernadette.
Sadly the building now appears to be in a parlous state .
Closed to visitors and barricaded against intruders or vandals. It seems that a programme of repairs and restoration has been agreed -but there was no sign of work on our visit in October 2009.
Seems the art of medieval builders was not bequeathed to those of the 19th century.
St Goustan - saint of mariners and fishermen
St Goustan is the patron saint of mariners and fisherman and gives his name to the ancient port area of Auray.
In this picture he stands high on the wall of the street that leads upwards from Place St Saveur to the parish church of that name at the top of the hill..in his arms he holds the fish that eaved his life.
The legend of St Goustan,
Saint Goustan was actually born in Cornwall in Great Britain in 974.
Whilst still a teenager he was kidnapped by and brought up by pirates. Because of an injured foot that made him of no further use to them he was abandoned on the Ile de Hoedic in the Gulf of Morbihan.. He survived by feeding from an enormous fish that miraculously restored itself each day providing endless food. On the island he was cared for by St.Felix and convertd to Christianty, later he bacame a monk and founded a monastery on the Ile de Hoedic.
An American Statesman lands at St Goustan
American readers will need no reminder of the remarkable talents of Bejamin Franklin in the fields of diplomacy, engineering, scientific invention and literature.
The story goes that in 1776, Benjamin Franklin, was sent as an envoy to France to seek their help in the American war of Independence from the British Crown.
He set sail, on a small warship, for Nantes but severe weather and strong winds forced him to anchor in the bay at Quiberon. From there he travelled up the Auray River, in a rowing boat, and landed at the port of St. Goustan on December 4, 1776.
At that time it was the third largest port in the whole of Brittany.
From there, he eventually ( the following day according to most records) travelled to Nantes and on to Paris.
The outcome of his diplomatic and negotiating skills was a Treaty of Alliance between France and America.
Ultimately, financial, and military aid in the form of arms afforded by France, led to the success of the American war of Independence.
Both my sister-in-law and I have very strong memories of visiting, in 1987, a "museum" where Bejamin Franklin was said to have "lived". It looked very like the Inn in the pictures shown here.
For a modest fee we visited said museum. It was upstairs, a barely furnished room with a bookcase, a desk and chair. In the chair sat a tailor's dummy dressed in 18th Century clothes and wig.
We felt a bit let down.
When we returned a couple of years later there was no sign of the "museum".
Was this perhaps a shortlived tourist trap?
Nevertheless a real sense of history can be felt here - particularly as on the occasion of my last visit in October 2009 - on the morning after a storm.
Linguistic connections - Little House
At first sight this little house (Ti Bohannig) in Rue St Saveur, close to the church looked unoccupied and abandoned. The rusty chain across the steps to the side door did not appear to have been disturbed in years. But when we went round to the side to see the ancient cross more clearly we also spotted many sign of current occupation - so just as well we did not go poking around!
Apart from its unusual appearance we were struck, as we so often are in Bretagne with the similarities between the Breton and Welsh languages = Ti Bohnnig / Ty Bychan/ Tiny/small house. though Ty bach is more commonly used in Welsh now.