Sunday, June 9, 2013

Temples now: Beauchassin, France - "Maison du temple" today

On its site templiers.net  provides most valuable and comprehensive information on Templar sites in France. This allows for visits to such sites, which otherwise could be easily overlooked. TemplarsNow visited the "Maison du Temple" (Temple House) at Saint Hilaire, departement Allier in the Summer of 2012.

aerial view of the Temple House at Beauchassin, Allier France. source google.com
view from the northwest (photo TemplarsNow 2012)
driveway seen from the west (photo TemplarsNow 2012)

The "Maison du Temple" of Beauchassin is located at the village of Saint-Hilaire, Département Allier, Arrondissement: Moulins, Canton: Bourbon-l'Archambault, municipality of Saint-Hilaire. Beauchassin is located close to and to the east of the "bourgh" of Saint Hilaire.

The name of the Templar settlement changed as follows: Bois-Chassain, Bost-Chassin or Bourg-Chassain and today Beauchassin. The site still shows traces of the Knights Templar, for instance in the stone tablet in the wall of the House (aerial photo above nr 1).
This tablet earlier was described to show a cross pattée, a type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter. This cross appears very early in medieval art, and became one of the characteristic signs of the Knights Templar. It is known, however, that  in their early days Knights Templar wore a simple cross, as did all early crusaders. The present day cross at Beauchassin is not clearly a cross pattée as can be seen on the recent photographs below.


cross pattée (?) above the main door of the house in the
southeast facade of the House  (photos TemplarsNow 2012)
cross pattée (?) in detail
Apart from the house the Templar possession included a chapel, agricultural buildings, fields, pastures and forests. The chapel was dedicated to Saint Blaise and Saint John. The chapel measured 15 x 6,5 meters. It was not vaulted as indicated in the drawing below.

Some traces of the chapel still exist in the form of an ornamented doorway, shown on the pictures below. This doorway, set in the northwest facade of the building indicated nr 2 on the aerial photo above, nowadays leads into a agricultural building with a tin roof.


decorated doorway in northwest facade former chapel
detail doorway (both pictures TemplarsNow 2012)


Templiers.net
Probably southeast facade view of chapel with doorway
similar to the one shown above but in the opposite wall.
The House can be seen to the left, with the door over
which is the croix pattée also shown above. To the  right
detail drawing of probably same doorway. Dates unknown.
Templiers.net
According to the present occupant some years ago a fire destroyed much of the building that once was the Chapel. This building was rebuilt in a simple way with only agricultural use foreseen.

So there is not very much left of the former Templar origin of the site, although this origin is still documented by some striking details. Probably the Knights Hospitaller did take this house when the Temple Order was abolished in the early 14th century. However, only about 1 km to the westnorthwest, on the nearby D1 road, another (former) Hospitaller House is located, now aptly called La Croix Rouge (The Red Cross).

The colour photographs were made and copy-righted by TemplarsNow. They may be re-used for non-commercial purposes, but only with full reference to this site and TemplarsNow. The above text is mainly a French-English translation by TemplarsNow of the text in www.templiers.net. The drawings are from templiers.net, which mentions as source thereof the municipal archives of Saint-Hilaire.

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