QR Yronde-et-Buron 3
Saint Martin Chapel
A Roman small church in Auvergne
In 12th century a sanctuary that was confirmed in 1015 stands as the ground for Saint Martin church. Despite numerous changes, Saint Martin church mainly kept its Roman style. It was built following a simple plan as most of the country churches of the time. It was made of a single barrel-vaulted nave extended by a front choir bay and a choir composed of a semi-circular apse.
The arches of the walls of the nave, the dome surmounted on squinches in the front choir as well as the apse pierced by three elegant arched windows are preserved from the medieval building. However, the side aisles were built later. Indeed, they were added between the 16th century and 19th century. They make a succession of four narrow rib-vaulted bays. Outside, the Roman church kept its radiating semi-circular arched portal. The original steeple that was destroyed in 1793 was rebuilt in the same style.
As the church has been nominated as part of Historical Monuments (National Heritage) in 1961, huge consolidation and renovation works have been carried out between 1963 and 1973 and then again between 1998 and 2008.
Painted and carved decorations
The church was endowed of rich decorations that were revealed via sounding before renovation works began. Medieval painted decorations were unveiled in the choir and in the front choir. An incomplete reintegration of non-figurative paintings in the front choir, a sun dating back to 15th century painted on the vaulted apse have been chosen for the renovation.
In the altars located on either side, carved wooden panels of which one shows the Adoration of the Shepherds may come from the abbey of Le Bouschet that was dismantled during the French revolution.
The Roman capitals also catch the eye. They are adorned with water leaves, foliage, vine branches. One in particular depicts the Last Supper and is found in the choir.
Outside, the modillions of the cornice depict geometrical patterns or grotesque animals.
Who was Saint Martin?
Former Roman soldier, bishop of the city of Tours in the 4th century, Saint Martin is considered as the evangelist of Gauls. He is so famous that his name was given to more than 3700 churches in France. Nearly 250 towns have also chosen his name. In addition, Martin is the most common surname far in front of Bernard, Dubois or Durand. Two statues of the Saint as a bishop can be admired in the church of Yronde.