Jumièges, Abbey of

views updated


Former Benedictine abbey, in Upper Normandy, west of Rouen, Archdiocese of Rouen (Latin, Gemmeticum ). It was founded on the Seine in 654 by Clovis II at the urging of Queen bathildis. The first abbot, philibert, established the monastery under the luxeuil observance, built three churches (Notre Dame, Saint-Pierre, Saint-Germain), the cloister buildings, and the abbey walls. He organized the abbey's commercial port on the Seine. The abbey, already called "Jumièges the Almsgiver," enjoyed its first period of real prosperity from the 8th through the early third of the 9th century. At this time the benedictine rule replaced the Luxeuil observance; the monastery had several hundred monks, students, domestics, and serfs. After the Norman plunderings (841, 845,851), Jumièges was abandoned by the monks, who fled to Haspres (near Cambrai, France). It was temporarily restored in 940 by Duke William Longsword of Normandy, with monks from Poitiers; it was permanently restored c. 1010 by Abbot william of saint-bÉnigne of dijon and his disciple Thierry. The church of Notre Dame, rebuilt in Romanesque style, was consecrated in 1067; it was enhanced c. 1250 by the addition of an ogival choir, and its transept was rebuilt during the 14th century. The church of Saint-Pierre was restored during the same years. The abbey's second period of prosperity lasted from 1050 to 1340, during which time Abbot Gontard (104895) promoted the abbey's intellectual life, organized a scriptorium (which developed a school of miniature painters), and procured manuscripts. Abbot Alexander (11981213) gave further impetus to education and reorganized the scriptorium. Abbot William of Rouen (12391259) increased the abbey's manuscript holdings by gift and purchase. Excessive papal taxation, accumulation of debts, and pillaging during the Hundred Years' War led to a decline, but the abbey was restored by Jean de la Chaussée (143162). In 1516 the Reform of chezal-benoÎt was introduced. From 1524 to 1539 Abbot François de Fontenay restored the buildings and the church of Notre

Dame and built a new cloister of unusual richness in flamboyant ogival style, but he was succeeded by commendatory abbots who were both greedy and litigious. In 1562 the abbey was plundered by the Protestants. The maurist Reform was introduced in 1616 and Jumièges produced many Maurist scholars, e.g., C. F. Toustain and R. P. Tassin. But only 20 monks remained at Jumièges in 1730; it was abolished during the French Revolution. The library became the nucleus of the municipal library of Rouen; the archives were sent to Yvetôt, but in 1827 were returned to Rouen. The local pastor would not accept Notre Dame for his parish church, and it was allowed to go to ruin by its owner, as were the convent buildings.

Bibliography: Chartes de l'abbaye de Jumièges (v. 825 à 1204) conservées aux archives de la Seine-Inférieure, ed. j. j. vernier, 2 v. (Paris 1916); Histoire de l'abbaye royale de Saint-Pierre de Jumièges, ed. j. loth, 3 v. (Rouen 188285). Vita Filiberti Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum (Berlin 1826) 5:568606. l. a. jouen, Jumièges, histoire et légendes, ruines et reliques (Rouen 1954). d. knowles et al., "Jumièges et l' Angleterre," Jumièges: Congrès scientifique du XIII e centenaire, Rouen, 1012 juin 1954, 2 v. (Rouen 1955) 1:259313.

[p. cousin]