Landévennec Things to Do
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The ticket office and information centre for the Abbey site is housed in a flower covered old barn. You enter through one door where the helpful assistant explained the layout of the site and suggested that we get more from our visit if we went first into the award winning Museum before proceeding around the site. The second door exited onto the pathway to the adjacent Museum and the sweet fragrance of flowers and lush vegetation seemed to immediately propel us backwards in to history. Before entering the very modern building of the Museum we had our first glimpse of the Dig - stones labelled with century markers, the upright ruins of later additions to the abbey and the lovely view across the river.
The museum tells how Bretons who fled from Wales, and other parts of Britain, to France first settled north of Landénnec where St Guénolé founded a commune of monks in the 5th century. Here the first stone Celtic monastery was built.
In 818 the Emperor Louis the Pious ordered the Monks to give up their Celtic practices of Christian worship and accept the Order of Saint Benedict. Then for a century, during the Carolingian Period the Monks of Landévennec specialised in the writing and copying of manuscripts.
In 913 the monastery was attacked by Normans (in one English translation I saw it translated as Vikings) Even the tombs were pillaged and the skeletons burnt.
Over the Centuries the Monastery was built and rebuilt . Three English cannon balls were found in the walls from an attack by the English, then in the 13th C at war with France.
In the late 18th Century the monastery fell in decline and was sold into private hands as a residence.
The museum possesses numerous objects unearthed by the excavations, relevant manuscripts and documents from other religious establishments .
But perhaps its most interesting section is devoted to detailed explanations and examples of how scientific techniques are used to date and interpret the findings of the archaeologists.
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Wander around the site with the plan and history obtained at the ticket office, and absorb the atmosphere of this peaceful place in its beautiful location on the estuary.
The map and guide helped us to get a good idea of the splendour of the original building, its layout and functions. At one point we stopped and spent a long time trying to work out the spot we were standing closest to. One of the staff from the office came running over to ask if we needed any more help or information and was most helpful.
I am sure there is still much to uncover and protect here but there was no sign at all on our visit of ongoing excavations, though plenty of evidence of marked stones and artefacts awaiting reassemly..
Perhaps the apparent cessation is down, as so often, to a lack of funding and a shortage of both professional archeologists and volunteer assistants.
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