chapter  23
10 Pages

Saint-Leu d’Esserent and Rampillon

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

It would be misleading to conclude the discussion of High Gothic architecture in France without including an analysis of one or two small churches. In its major campaigns of construction, Saint-Leu d’Esserent, originally a Cluniac priory, reveals the whole history of Gothic from its experimental stage in the first half of the twelfth century through an Early Gothic to a High Gothic phase. Saint-Leu d’Esserent, dedicated to Saint Leu or Saint Loup, Bishop of Sens, who died in 623, serves as the church for the small community of the same name on the bank of the river Oise just west of Chantilly, twenty-five miles due north of Paris. The known history of Saint-Leu d’Esserent is of little help in explaining the inconsistencies of size, scale, and alignment or in determining what part of the priory was built when.