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Saint-Évroult-d'Ouche, Abbey of

SAINT-ÉVROULT-D'OUCHE, ABBEY OF

Former benedictine monastery, in the Forest of Ouche, Ferté-Fresnel, Orne, France, formerly Diocese of Lisieux, present-day Séez. It was originally founded by (St.) Évroul (ebrulf), who died 596; he was a Merovingian courtier who led a group of hermits into the Forest of Ouche. This foundation was ravaged in the 9th-century invasions of the Vikings, and the site was reoccupied only in the mid-11th century, when William, son of Giroie, became a monk at bec and granted the site to the monks. Later his nephews, Hugh and Robert de Grandmesnil, founded there an independent monastery that was generously endowed by many leading Norman lords and enjoyed royal patronage in the 13th century. It remained prosperous till the Hundred Years' War. The writer ordericus vitalis was a monk here, and his Ecclesiastical History is the most important single source of information about this and other monasteries in Normandy until 1141. The maurists undertook to reform the house in 1628, but in 1790 the monks were dispersed. Only unimportant ruins of the buildings survive.

Bibliography: ordericus vitalis, Historia ecclesiastica, ed. le prÉvost and l. v. delisle, 5 v. (Paris 183855); tr. t. forester, 4 v. (London 185356). Gallia Christiana, v.113 (Paris 171585), v.1416 (Paris 185665) 11:813830. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:266971.

[d. j. a. matthew]

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