Saint-Riquier, Abbey of
SAINT-RIQUIER, ABBEY OF
Former Benedictine abbey, near Abbeville (Somme), northern France (Diocese of Amiens). It was named after St. Riquier (Ricarius), who lived in the vicus of Centule in Ponthieu, France, and who was converted to Christianity
during the reign of Dagobert (628–638). Having become a priest, he dedicated himself to preaching, spending his last years in a hermitage known as cella Forestis (Forestmoutiers ), in the forest of Crécy. He was buried there, but shortly afterward his body was transferred to Centule, where a Benedictine abbey, which soon received his name, was founded over his grave. Thus, the abbey was not founded by Riquier himself—in fact, little is known about the precise circumstances of its foundation. Under the carolingians the community numbered up to 400 monks; the cloister buildings were completely rebuilt and enlarged, and three churches were built. There is an interesting 11th-century drawing, known now only through copies, that shows these churches and cloister in their triangular arrangement. angilbert, one of the most remarkable men of the carolingian renaissance, was abbot. This abbey, like so many others, was ruined by the normans, but was later restored by gerard of brogne. In 1659 the abbey became part of the congregation of Saint-Maur (see maurists); it disappeared in the French Revolution. The main abbey church remains today, a su perb building in flamboyant style, the earlier Romanesque church there having been the predecessor of the six-towered Romanesque cathedral (e.g., Mainz, Speyer).
Bibliography: j. hÉnocque, Histoire de l'abbaye et de la ville de Saint-Riquier, 3 v. (Amiens 1880–88). hariulphe, Chronique de l'abbaye de Saint-Riquier, ed. f. lot (Paris 1894). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 2:2868–69. g. durand, L'Église de Saint-Riquier (2d ed. Paris 1960).