and Villages of the Vendee
On the D948
(not the new dual carraigeway) just 8 kms from La Roche-sur-yon in the direction
of St Hermine is the large village of Chaize-le-Comte.
Aimer 1V, viscomte of
Thouars a companion of William the Conquerer with whom he fought along side
constructed in the village in the 11th century, a Chateau (castle), a priory of
St.Nicholas and a church dedicated to John the Baptist. Today nothing is left of
the chateau except the remains of 3 towers and a section of wall. The church has
disappeared completely. The priory church of St.Nicholas saw many trials and
tribulations being burnt down by the protestants on the 15th March 1568. Later
the bell tower, aspe and transit arms fell down in the 15th century and were
never replaced. The new bell tower was built in 1757.
After the Revolution
the noble houses were sold off as national goods. Because of its central
position the village was thought of by Napolean as being his new prefecture for
the Vendee, but then chose La Roche-sur-Yon as it had less
The 900 year
old church is the Vendee's largest Romanisque church, the fortications were
added in the 16th century. It has 3 Romanesque round arched aisles and a
transept crossing, the strong squinches which carry the weight of the bell tower
are formed by 3 sets of of arch stones.
The facade has beautiful historiated
capitals while inside the fine carved capitals are of Genre and fantasy. Built
in granite it has both Poitevin and Norman archetecture.
19th century the trades of weaving and tanners along with trade in Kaolin,slate
and quarries made the village prosperous, there were large cattle fairs and the
railway which arrived in 1870 helped with trade. Today with the bypass of major
traffic the village has dropped back into a more leisurely way of life. There
are some pleasant walks around the village and quiet country lanes.