Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, Abbey of

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SAINT-PIERRE-SUR-DIVES, ABBEY OF

Former benedictine monastery of Notre Dame, Séez diocese, France. It was founded first for nuns, then for monks, by Countess Lescelina of Eu. To secure self-sufficiency and complete independence for the house, she recruited the first monks and their abbot from Saint-Trinité, Rouen (c. 1046). This Abbot Aynard was a noted religious poet. In the mid-12th century the rebuilding of the church was the occasion of several remarkable acts of devotion. The monastery flourished until the 14th century and was fortified during the Hundred Years' War without suffering important damage. At this time it was known as Notre Dame d'Espinay.

The abbey was burned and pillaged by the Calvinists in 1562. It continued to languish under commendatory abbots and recovered only when the maurists were installed in 1668. It was dissolved in 1790 during the French Revolution. The abbey church (13th and 14th century) now serves as the parish church; the chapter house and some claustral buildings survive.

Bibliography: Gallia Christiana, v.113 (Paris 171585),v.1416 (Paris 185665) 11:728735. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:285152.

[d. j. a. matthew]