Abbaye de Maubuisson
The southeastern side of the abbey
|Sect||Ancient Order of Cistercians|
Maubuisson Abbey (French: Abbaye de Maubuisson or Notre-Dame-la-Royale) is a Cistercian nunnery at Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône, in the Val-d'Oise department of France. It was founded in A.D. 1236 by Blanche of Castile. who may have been buried there in 1252. The site is now within the north-western suburbs of Paris. The surviving buildings are listed as a monument historique.
- 1 History
- 2 Abbesses
- 3 Description
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In the fifteenth century the nuns twice supported rival abbesses.
After a century of decline the abbey was disbanded in 1787 by order of Louis XVI.
From foundation to the Hundred Years War
As part of an effort to strengthen the ties between royalty and the abbeys, Blanche of Castile decided to finance and build her own abbey. In 1236 she annexed the lands of Pontoise and Saint-Ouen, which only became Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône much later. These lands had the advantage of being close to the castle at Pontoise, at the confluence of the River Oise and the Liesse stream.
She built Maubuisson Abbey between the villages of Saint-Ouen and Épluches, on the left bank of the Oise. According to local legend, the name "Maubuisson" was translated from Latin as French: Maudit buisson ("Cursed bush"), because of the prevalence of bandits in the surrounding woodland. However, this story is not confirmed by local archaeologists researching Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône archives.
The abbey's enclosure of land covered 32 hectares (79 acres).
To breathe life into the abbey, from 1237 until 1242 Blanche of Castile devoted herself to a chapter of the Cistercians, and in 1242 she installed, in barely-finished buildings, a group of nuns from Saint-Antoine near Paris. She named the abbey "Notre-Dame-la-Royale", in honour of the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Kingdom of France, but the name "Maubuisson" has been used from the start.
After the groundbreaking in 1241, it became attached to the Order of Cistercians in 1244. Because of its royal connections it was well protected, and played an important role in the local economy.
Blanche of Castile gave the Abbey three well-defined roles:
- As a gathering-place for young noblewomen
- As a royal residence
- As a royal necropolis: Bonne of Luxemburg was interred there; his son Charles V had his own tomb built; and in 1599 Gabrielle d'Estrées was interred in the chapel choir.
In 1307, King Philip IV of France annihilated the Knights Templar, to whom he was deeply indebted. On 14 September 1307 – the day of celebration of the True Cross – he issued the order for the trials of the Knights Templar from the abbey.
From 5 to 8 September 1463, while touring the villes de la Somme, King Louis XI (born 1423; reigned 1461–1483) stayed at Pontoise, and awarded Royal protection to Maubuisson Abbey by means of Letters Patent, doing so again in December 1474.
The abbey's robust budget let it survive the Hundred Years War.
From 16th to 18th centuries
At the start of the 16th century, under the auspices of Abbess Antoinette de Dinteville (1482 – 1523), new wings were constructed and the abbey numbered 120 nuns. However, it was a trying time as the French Wars of Religion progressed: at least twice, in 1566 and 1588, the abbey and its associated land and buildings were ransacked by Protestant troops.
In 1597, Angélique d'Estrées, sister of Gabrielle d'Estrées, was appointed Mother Superior of the Royal Abbey by Henri IV. The abbey's doctrine diverged from that of the Rule of Saint Benedict and the spirit of Saint Bernard. The French: vicaire général of the Cistercians gave Angélique Arnauld orders to leave the Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs and go to reform that at Maubuisson. She found d'Estrées and her entourage troublesome. With the intervention of the Parliament of Paris, the prévôt of Île-de-France removed them, and installed Arnauld as abbess. François de Sales made several visits to the new abbess.
Later, Arnauld was replaced by Madame de Soissons, but, in Racine's words, she "did not take" (French: "n'avoit pas pris"):
un fort grand soin d'y entretenir la régularité que la Mère Angélique y avoit établie
A great effort was made to keep the routine that Mother Angélique had put in place
de Soissons died in 1627. Her successor Marie Suireau, known as Marie des Anges ("Mary of the Angels"), was chosen (on Arnauld's proposal) as Maubuisson's leader, a position she held until 1648. From 1628, she fought against the influence of Molinism on some of the sisters, but with two nuns suspected of this heresy having been ejected, the orthodoxy and canons of the Cistercian Order were affirmed.
Louise Hollandine of the Palatinate (1622 – 1709), daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate and aunt of Elizabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, second sister-in-law of Louis XIV, also served as Abbess of Maubuisson.
On 27 April 1769, Archbishop Christophe de Beaumont, the Duke of Saint-Cloud, visited the abbey to restore friendly relations between the abbess and her nuns.
In the 18th century, the abbey shrank in numbers, from 70 nuns in 1720 to only 18 in 1780. In 1786, Louis XVI decided to disband it.
|1275||1276||Agnès de Laval|
|1276||1309||Blanche de Brienne d'Eu|
|1309||1345||Isabelle de Montmorency|
|1345||1362||Marguerite I de Moncy|
|1362||1390||Philippa Paynel of Hambye|
|1390||1391||Catherine I of Flins|
|1406||1456||Catherine II of Estouteville|
|1461||1473||Marguerite II Danes|
|1473||1482||Guillemette II Martine|
|1482||1523||Antoinette of Dinteville des Chenets|
|1523||1524||Henriette de Villers la Faye|
|1524||1543||Mary of Montmorency|
|1543||1546||Mary II of Annebault|
|1546||1574||Mary III of Pisseleu d'Heilly|
|1574||1594||Madeleine II Tiercelin of Brosses|
|1594||1597||Françoise Tiercelin de Brosses|
|1618||1621||Interim of the Abbess of Port-Royal des Champs|
|1623||1626||Charlotte I of Bourbon-Soissons|
|1626||1648||Mary IV Suireau of Rocheren|
|1648||1652||Suzanne of Hénin-Liétard de Roches|
|1652||1653||Marguerite III of Béthune of Orval|
|1653||1664||Catherine III Angélique of Valois-Orléans-Longueville|
|1664||1709||Louise Hollandine of the Palatinate|
|1709||1719||Charlotte II Joubert of the Bastide of Chateaumorand|
|1719||1765||Charlotte III of Colbert-Croissy|
|1765||1766||Mary V Margaret of Jarente of Senas d'Orgeval|
|1766||1780||Venture-Gabrielle of Pontevès of Maubousquet|
|1780||1786||Gabrielle-Césarine of Beynac|
After the Revolution
In 1786, Louis XVI decreed that the abbey had lost its religious function, and the French Revolution only entrenched that view. In 1793 it became a military hospital, and then served as a stone quarry at the start of the 19th century. Such buildings as were still useful by the mid-19th century either became part of a textile mill or were closed.
In 1947 the abbey was classed as a monument historique, and became the property of the Departmental Council of Val-d'Oise in 1979. For two years, until 1981, there were some exploratory archaeological digs, followed by important restorative works, in particular to the tower of the tithe barn.
Centre of Contemporary Arts
As of 2018, the abbey houses a Centre of Contemporary Arts which stages exhibitions. Since 2001, it has specialised in plastic and visual art. Artists are invited based on their relevance and newsworthiness, but also for their capacity to explore a space of such unique heritage.
Large specialist exhibitions take place each year, lasting from two to eight months. They are dedicated to the production of original works and reflect the richness and diversity of contemporary installation art, video, photography, sculpture, painting, digital arts, sound, and so on. The abbey is a project incubator lab: all year, it develops research, production and direction programmes along the three axes which make up its identity: architectural heritage, contemporary works, and natural history.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2018)
According to the writings of Noel Tallepied, dated 1584, the abbey church was an extremely tall building:
il possédait deux ailes et un petit clocher pour remplacer un plus imposant détruit en 1540 par un incendie déclenché par la foudre
It had two wings and a small bell-tower, which burnt down in 1540 when struck by lightning
Grilles and woodwork separated the cloisters from the nunnery. The high altar was adorned with a white marble altarpiece, donated by Jeanne d'Évreux in 1340. It was demolished during the French Revolution. The centrepiece, a relief of the Last Supper, is preserved at the Saint-Joseph-des-Carmes church in Paris. Other features include a reliquary of the Madonna and Child, situated near the side altar. Dating from the 16th century, it is 140 cm (4 ft 7 in) tall, carved from walnut, painted and gilded. The Virgin Mary is sitting, holding the infant Jesus on her knee. This forms the middle of a triptych composed of three hollow parts, each subdivided into boxes with wooden columns and statuettes representing Paradise, Hell, Purgatory and scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
In 1792, the nuns entrusted it to their groundkeeper, and in 1839, it was given to the church of Saint-Ouen in Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône. It had lost its original statuettes, that of the Twelve Apostles at Calvary being replaced around 1840. It was classified on 13 May 1897 and stolen on 13 April 1973.
Until the end of the 15th century, the church served as a necropolis for royalty and nobility, as well as for the abbesses who are buried there. There are five burial grounds within the abbey:
- Abbey church
This was reserved for the Royal Family and others of high class.
- 1252: Blanche of Castile During the 1907 excavations, many precious objects were found which mysteriously vanished without trace.
- 1320: Jeanne de la Marche (daughter of Charles IV of France and Blanche of Burgundy), buried in a black marble tomb on a white marble base.
- 1271: Alphonse de Poitiers (1220–1271), burial of his remains.
- 1275: Marie of Brienne (1225-1275)
- 1296: Jean de Brienne (died 1296), court butler, son of Jean de Brienne. Buried in the choir.
- 1302: Robert II d'Artois (1250-1302), buried in the choir.
- 1307: Catherine of Courtenay.
- 1309: Blanche de Brienne (1276-13 July 1309), abbess, buried in the nuns' small winter choir.
- 1326: Blanche of Burgundy, died in the abbey on 29 April, buried in the choir.
- 1328: Charles IV of France (1294-1328), died 1 February, his remains were buried in the choir to the right of the high altar, before the first pillar.
- 1328: Marguerite de Beaumont, died 9 April, daughter of Louis de Brienne and Agnès de Beaumont-au-Maine. She married Bohemond VII of Antioch in Naples on 2 January 1278
- 1329: Mahaut, Countess of Artois (1269 or 1270-1329), died 27 November and buried in the choir.
- 1349: Bonne of Luxemburg (1315-1349), died 11 September, reburied with his son Charles V of France on his death in 1380, to the left of the altar in a space in front of the nuns' small winter choir.
- c. 1351: Philippe de Montmorency, to the left of the nave before the second pillar.
- 1371: Jeanne d'Évreux, together with her husband Charles IV.
- 1390: Jeanne de France (1388-1390), eldest daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabel of Bavaria.
- 1390: Philippa of Paynel, abbess, to the left of the nave before the second pillar.
In April 1599, the body of Gabrielle d'Estrées was interred in the choir by his sister Angelique, then abbess, together with her child.
- Chapel, east and south wings
These are dedicated to the nobility and bourgeoisie. The tomb of the first abbess is also located here.
- Guillemette I governed the abbey for nearly thirty years and was named as "Saint Guillemette". She feigned being a cousin of Louis IX of France and niece of Blanche of Castile, but her mother is unknown. She converted large numbers of people, and is attributed with performing miracles both in life and after death. Her tomb and epitaph are very modest.
- Cloister and gallery adjoining the boarding-house
These are dedicated to the burial of active and retired nuns.
- Abbey cemetery
This was dedicated to nuns. It was razed in the 17th century to make room for the cloister gallery.
- Saint-Michel church and its cemetery
This small church is located to the south-west of the abbey church, and the graveyard is dedicated to the abbey's benefactors, be they laity, priests, religious or other servants.
- On 25 October 1766 Abbot Grassis, priest from the diocese of Lizieux and royal chaplain of Maubuisson, was buried here.
The cloisters were enclosed by the abbey church, the chapel (built over the dormitory), the boilerhouse, the kitchen and the refectory, which were all enlarged.
As with all mediaeval abbeys, Maubuisson was built with a complex system of plumbing. The presence of two nearby watercourses would have influenced Blanche of Castile's decision to site the abbey there. Drainage channels serviced the latrines and also let the water be reused to turn the mill.
The latrines, built over a drainage channel, consisted of 38 back-to-back seats. The whole was enclosed by a 20-arched roof, 14 m (46 ft) high.
This and the refectory no longer exist. The chauffoir was the only place where hot food could be cooked.
This was the only place where nuns could talk directly with the Mother Superior. They could speak only of spiritual and material matters related to their religious community.
The chapter was a room in which, every day, the nuns would take confession from the abbess or her deputy, and listen to a sermon of Saint Benedict, to whom the room was dedicated. The Mother Superior would then discuss the sermon. The nuns could also discuss it, together with matters concerning the community: sales and purchases, contracts, and so on.
- Klaniczay 2002, p. 236.
- According to Julien Théry, this choice of date has a religious significance, since the accusations of the royal prosecutors were mainly those of direct or indirect offences against Christ. According to prosecutors, the Knights Templar "crucified our Lord once more", and in 1308 the lawyer Guillaume de Plaisians affirmed before the Pope that the arrest of the "perfidious Templars" by the King of France was "the greatest victory won by Christ since his death on the Cross".
Théry, Julien (2013). "Une hérésie d'État. Philippe le Bel, le procès des 'perfides templiers' et la pontificalisation de la royauté française". La Vie en Champagne. Les templiers dans l'Aube (in French). Troyes. pp. 201–202.
- Lettres patentes de Louis XI (in Latin). Pontoise. September 1463. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- Lettres patentes de Louis XI (in Latin). Mitry. December 1474. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- de La Martinière, Bruzen (1768). "Book IV". Grand Dictionnaire Géographique Historique et critique… (in French). 1 (Nouvelle ed.). Paris. p. 597.
- "Notice no PA00080199". Base Mérimée (in French). Ministry of Culture (France). Retrieved 15 December 2018.
- "Vierge à l'Enfant" [Virgin with Child]. Base Palissy (in French). Ministry of Culture (France). Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Depoin 1884, pp. 13–23
- Régnier 1922, p. 120
- de Combault Auteuil, Charles (1644). Blanche infante de Castille, mère de St. Louis, reyne et régente de France (in French). de Sommaville: de Sommaville. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
On déposa le Corps de la Regente dans l'Abbaye de Maubuisson avec les prières & les solennités accoutumées à ces rencontres. Mais au mois de Mars ensuivant le Cœur de la Princesse ce cœur généreux & magnanime fut reporté solennellement de Pontoise en l'Abbaye du Lys prés Melun par Y Abbesse de ce Monastère iadis Comtesse de Mascon à qui selon le témoignage de l Evesque de Paris la Regente auoit accordé cette grace tant
- Perrot, G.; Reinach, S., eds. (1907). "[no title]". Revue archéologique (in French). Ernest Leroux. 4.9 (July–December 1907): 448–449.
- Obituaires de Sens Tome I. 2 de l'abbaye de Maubuisson, p. 655
- Married in 1251 or 1252 to Marie de Coucy, widow of King Alexander II of Scotland, and daughter of Enguerrand III de Coucy
- Patou, Étienne (2005–2016). Maison de Brienne (PDF).CS1 maint: date format (link)
- de Voyer de Paulmy d'Argenson, Marc Antoine René (1784). Mélanges tirés d'une grande bibliothèque de lecture de livre françois (in French). 42. Paris: Moutard. p. 76.
- Le Charpentier, Henri (1883). "Notes de Mr Le Vallois, curé de Saint-Maclou de Pontoise de 1744 à 1779". Mémoires de la Société historique et archéologique de l'arrondissement de Pontoise et du Vexin (in French). Pontoise. IV: 93.
- Klaniczay, Gábor (2002). Holy rulers and blessed princesses: dynastic cults in medieval central Europe. Cambridge University Press.
- Depoin, Joseph (1884). "La Vierge ouvrante de Maubuisson - Notice historique". Mémoires de la Société historique et archéologique de l'arrondissement de Pontoise et du Vexin (in French). Pontoise. 4 (1883): 13–23. ISSN 1148-8107. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Régnier, Louis (1922). "Abbaye de Maubuisson". Excursions archéologiques dans le Vexin français. 1 (in French). Évreux: Imprimerie de l'Eure: 123–133. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Racine, Jean (1767). Abrégé de l'histoire de Port-Royal. Paris. pp. 9 et seq. Retrieved 16 December 2018. (Racine's last book, written clandestinely.)
- Archaeological excavations made in 1979 by the Service Archéologique du Val d'Oise (SDAVO)
- Depoin, J.; Dutilleux, A. "Mémoire des corps qui sont inhumés en l'église Notre-Dame-la-Royale de Maubuisson". Copy of 18th century text (in French). Archives départementales du Val-d'Oise. 1. 72 H 167 item 14.
- Depoin, J.; Dutilleux, A. (1882). L'abbaye de Maubuisson (Notre-Dame-la-Royale) histoire et cartulaire (in French). Pontoise.
- Depoin, Joseph (1884). "La Vierge ouvrante de Maubuisson - Notice historique". Mémoires de la Société historique et archéologique de l'arrondissement de Pontoise et du Vexin (in French). Pontoise. 4 (1883): 13–23. ISSN 1148-8107. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- Liot, Thierry (1994). L'Abbaye de Maubuisson, Val d'Oise (in French). Nouvelles Éditions Latines.
- Histoire et archéologie à l’abbaye royale et cistercienne de Maubuisson, Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, Val d’Oise (in French). Conseil général du Val d’Oise. 1988.
- Wabont, Monique (1988). Restauration à l'abbaye royale et cistercienne de Maubuisson, Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône – Val d'Oise (in French). Conseil général du Val d’Oise.
- Maubuisson au fil de l'eau... Les réseaux hydrauliques de l'abbaye du XVIIIe siècle (in French). Conseil général du Val d’Oise. 1992.
- Histoires de femmes, les très riches heures de Maubuisson (in French). Conseil général du Val d’Oise.
- Abbaye cistercienne de Maubuisson (Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, Val d’Oise). La formation du temporel (1236 à 1356) (in French). Conseil général du Val d’Oise. 1990.
- Milhet, Guillaume. "Tombeau de l'église de Maubuisson, chapitre de l'église de Maubuisson". Copy of 18th century text. Archives départementales du Val-d'Oise. 72 H 167 item 6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Abbaye de Maubuisson.|
- "Abbaye Notre-Dame-La-Royale dite de Maubuisson". romanes.com (in French). Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- "Abbaye Notre-Dame -La-Royale de Maubuisson". tombes-sepultures.com (in French). Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2018.