Lampaul-Guimiliau parish close

Lampaul-Guimiliau parish close THE RICH CLOSE OF THE TANNERS

From May 1st to September 16th: Monday to Sunday – 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00 From September 16th to April 30th: Monday to Friday – 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00 Closed Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
On site parking
Restaurant nearby
Disabled access

”Paotred Lampaol kivijerien” says the song : “men of Lampaul, the tanners”. As many as 146 tanneries were recorded here around 1780 ! The profits of this activity as much as those of the cloth trade, help us to understand the scale of this parish close and the exceptional brilliance of its interior decoration.

Lampaul, however, was only a religious dependency (trève) of Guimiliau up until the Revolution : a “daughter” as one said at the time. But a very rich little daughter and one keen to distinguish herself from the mother parish : Saint Miliau counted less here than Saint Paul Aurelien, first bishop of Léon and patron of the church. Out of all the statues that represent him, tethering the dragon of the Ile de Batz with his stole, the one above the porch is most expressive : the sculptor pays tribute to him with Renaissance style, even though the rest of the porch (1533) is Gothic.
But the self-assertion of the religious dependency is shown above all in the great bell-tower, which was a giant (75m, almost as high as the Kreisker spire in St-Pol-de-Léon) before losing its top in a lightning storm in 1809. In such surroundings, the calvary can remain modest, and the triumphal entrance gate has a second example, above a single arch which is a summary version of Berven and Sizun. Beside it, the ossuary (1667) displays classical form through the purity of its lines, columns and decorative niches. But its great merit, and certainly it was the first to do this, was to re-interpret the basic conception of the building : what was in the beginning only a perfunctory depository for bones here became a sumptuous chapel where mass was said for the departed.
The gable end of the chevet houses an altar above a crypt initially designed for a group sculpture of the Mise au tombeau (Entombment of Christ). This most moving work (1676) in tuffeau stone by a craftsman from the French Royal Navy in Brest today adorns the church, together with six altarpieces, a pulpit, an organ case, a baptistery, a beam of glory and two ancient processional banners !