AITRE SAINT MACLOU
Originally aitre (Atrium Latin: central square enclose at the entrance of a Roman villa and by extrapolation of a church) was a cemetery. Traced back to 1348, for the black plague.
But the current appearance dates back to the 16th century of a new outbreak of plague . The cimetiére became too small (2/3 of people losing life disease) it was decided to build galleries in ossuary.
It is classified historic monument since 1862 and, after further destinations, it now used by the school of architecture.
A l'origine aitre (du latin Atrium : place centrale enclose à l'entrée d'une villa romaine et par extrapolation d'une église) était un cimetière. L'origine remonte à 1348, lors de la peste noire.
Mais l'aspect actuel remonte au XVI éme siècle, lors d'une nouvelle épidémie de peste. Le cimetiére étant devenu trop petit (2/3 de la population perdant la vie par la maladie) on décide d'aménager les galeries en ossuaire.
Il est classé monument historique depuis 1862 et , après d'autres diverses destinations, il aujourd'hui utilisé par l'école d'architecture.
The aitre (atrium) of St.-Maclou is a courtyard surrounded by a series of two-level half-timbered buildings, the upper floors of which were used as a charnel house (ossuary). They were built from 1526-33. The lower level was originally open giving the area a cloister-like effect. There is a frieze running between the floors that is carved with memento mori:skull and crossbones, spades, sickles, hour glasses, etc. On the vertical shafts are worn carvings that presumably illustrate the Dance of Death, but we were not familiar with that when we were there last and did not attempt to capture such details on film (we became informed about that Custom during an Off the Beaten Path Chartres visit;See those Tips). The courtyard served as a temporary cemetery until the bones were in condition to be moved to the ossuary. The lower level today is closed in and the buildings are used as part of the School of Fine Arts and Architecture.
We've seen the magnificent cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, we've admired the beauty of Saint-Ouen abbey church and now here is a thrid, equally beautiful chruch, inside the quarter of Rouen that baes it's name: Saint-Maclou. This church, in the middle of one of the most wonderful parts of Rouen (streets full with woodwork "vakwerk" houses). It is a perfect example of extravagant gothic architecture, full of fine decoartions, statues, ornaments, forms and shapes. Walking around is a joy for the eyes, especially the five arches that are most famous of Saint Maclou church. Carefully restored after the bombings in the second worldwar, this church is a top attraction in medieval Rouen.
Little further into the quarter one can also visit the beautiful courtyard of Saint Maclou. A green oasis inside the busy streets of Rouen's citycentre.
The history of this strange, yet exceptional site dates back from the Great Plague of 1348, which killed three-fourth of the parish. The Aître Saint-Maclou was thus built as a plague cemetery. The building now is home to the Regional Fine Arts School.
Walking along Rue Martaiville you can see on the left a wide courtyard called Aìtre Saint-Maclou. The name comes from the latin atrium which mean courtyard.
This courtyard is a wonderful example of Medieval ossuary built between 1526 and 1533 during the pestilence ages.
The wide courtyard has got an architecture a colombage on its sides and on the pillars yuo can see as decorations bones, skulls and death figures.
Today it is home of the Ecole of Beaux Arts.
After the Great Plague in 1348 they were obliged to create a new cimetery and they called it A?tre de Saint Maclou.
Today it's the home of the Regional Fine Arts School.
Near the entry is a glass case with a sceleton of a cat inside. It was found in the walls of the building... weird...
And along Rue Martainville we came to the cloisters of St. Maclou. This 16c place is one of the last remaining examples of a medieval plague cemetery.
Half timbered buildings were erected along four sides of this yard between 1526 and 1533. The ground floor used to be open galleries like in ordinary cloisters. The attic was used as a charnel house.