The Abbey of Déols
|Region||Centre-Val de Loire|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Michel Blondeau|
|Area1||31.74 km2 (12.25 sq mi)|
|• Density||270/km2 (700/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||36063 / 36130|
|Elevation||140–165 m (459–541 ft)
(avg. 150 m or 490 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Gallo-Roman vestiges confirm the age of Vicus Dolensis, but it was only during the Middle Ages that, through the princes of Déols and Chauvigny, and the pilgrimage to the tomb of St Ludre, Déols acquired its significance. In 470 the Visigoths defeated the army of Riothamus there, the victory carrying with it the supremacy over the district of Berry.
The Benedictine abbey was founded in 917 by Ebbes the Noble, lord of Déols. In the 10th century Raoul of Déols gave his castle to the monks of the abbey and transferred his residence to Châteauroux. For centuries this change did not affect the prosperity of the place, which was maintained by the prestige of its abbey, which was rebuilt aboiut 1150 on a floorplan that was larger than the cathedral of Bourges; its dependencies, both churches and priories, were extended through seven dioceses. A gateway flanked by towers survives from the old ramparts of the town. The parish church of St Stephen (15th and 16th centuries) has a Romanesque façade and a crypt containing the ancient Christian tomb of St Ludre and his father St Leocade, who according to tradition were lords of the town in the 4th century. There are also interesting old paintings of the 10th century representing the ancient abbey.
In the Middle Ages the head of the family of Dols enjoyed the title of prince and held sway over nearly all Lower Berry, of which the town itself was the capital. The last of the house was Raoul VII, who died in 1177 leaving a three-year-old heiress, Denise. Henry II of England took the child, who represented the inheritance of Déols-Châteauroux, worth more, it was said, than all of Normandy, into his care, and affianced her to one of his barons, Baudoin de Reviers.
In 1187, during the war between Henry II his sons (Richard the Lionheart, Prince John) and Philip Augustus, the truce declared at Châteauroux was so unexpected that it was attributed to a "miracle of Our Lady of Déols" and published in a Liber miraculorum B. Mariae Dolensis. This influenced the religious devotion of the inhabitants of the region towards the Virgin Mary.
The abbey church was sacked by the Protestants and burned out in 1568, during the religious wars; not one of the manuscripts from its library has been identified. In 1627 the abbey was suppressed by the agency of Henry II, prince of Condé and of Déols, who received its annual incomes, after the monks were denounced for corruption. With the abbey in ruins, the town declined and was eclipsed by its neighbour.
Today, Déols is the third largest town in the Indre département with 9,000 inhabitants.
Déols has succeeded in creating new dynamism through its economic, sports and cultural activities.
The Châteauroux-Déols "Marcel Dassault" Airport is sited on the northern approach to Déols, where there is also a 5 square kilometre business park.
- Jeanette Bougrab, born in Déols in 1973
- Jean Hubert, L'abbatiale de Déols", Bulletin monumentale 86 (1927:5-66), noted by J. Huber, "Le miracle de Déols et la trêve conclue en 1187 entre les rois de France et d'Angleterre" Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, 193 (1935) p. 287.
- Huber 1935:286.
- Huber 1935.
- Date given in Huber1935:287.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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