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Abbey of Saint Loup, Troyes

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The Abbey of Saint-Loup, Troyes (Abbaye Saint-Loup-de-Troyes) near Troyes in Champagne, France, was established in the ninth century to shelter the relics of bishop Lupus of Troyes, Saint Loup, the legendary defender of the city against Attila in the fifth century[1] and patron of the city. The monastic community was reformed in 1135 by Bernard of Clairvaux, when the abbot and his monks embraced the Rule of Saint Augustine. The Abbaye Saint-Loup, which came to be enclosed within the burgeoning medieval city of Troyes, developed a renowned library[2] and scriptorium. The famous poet Chrétien de Troyes may have been a canon of this monastic house.[3]

The abbey[4] was founded — as were many abbeys— in an existing Gallo-Roman villa[5] abutting the former Roman Via Agrippa (now the rue de la Cité) just outside the former Gallo-Roman city. Charlemagne gave the abbey of Saint-Loup to the scholarly Alcuin,[6] and Adalelm, Count of Troyes (died 894) was a patron. Before the reform of 1135 Saint-Loup's secular canons could enjoy the fruits of their prebendaries.[7] In the fifteenth century an imposing Flamboyant Gothic abbey church was erected; the abbey church was rededicated in 1425. The scholarly Petrus Comestor was an Augustininian canon of Saint-Loup, among his other benefices.[8]

The abbey's church and buildings, largely reconstructed in the seventeenth century, were destroyed during the Revolution;[9] the only building left standing, in rue Chrestien de Troyes, was used to store books and manuscripts confiscated from neighbouring abbeys and convents, among which was the Abbey of Clairvaux. Thus a municipal public library in Troyes was first created.[10] The Musée Saint Loup (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Archéologie et Histoire Naturelle) was also installed in the building, where it has remained since 1830. It conserves paintings of the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries (with strength in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), a strong representation of local medieval sculpture as well as busts of Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse by the locally-born sculptor François Girardon, and furniture and decorative arts, together with some locally recovered Roman antiquities, most notably the Treasure of Pouan, the grave goods of a fifth-century Germanic warrior, and the Apollo of Vaupoisson, a fine Gallo-Roman bronze.


  1. The relics were transported from Saint Martin-ès-Aires, "Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields", also within the historical centre of Troyes.
  2. For the development and contents of the library: see C. Lalore, Inventaire, ccxxii-iv.
  3. John F. Benton, "The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center" Speculum 36.4 (October 1961:551-591) p. 13.
  4. C. Lalore, introduction to Collection des principaux carulaires du diocèse de Troyes vol. i {Paris, 1874); A. Roserot, Les abbayes du département de l'Aube", Bulletin historiqie et philologique 1904:558-71; M. Bur, La formation du comté de Champagne, 950-1150 (Nancy 1977:353-55)
  5. Roman archaeological remains may still be inspected in situ.
  6. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, s.v. "Alcuin"
  7. Christopher Harper-Bill, Ruth E. Harvey and Stephen Church, The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood (1986:254).
  8. Eric Leland Saak, High Way to Heaven: The Augustinian Platform Between Reform and Reformation (2002:179f)
  9. Precious manuscripts from the Saint-Loup library are conserved in the public library, Troyes, and a mid-fifteenth-century iron tabernacle door from the abbey came eventually to the Walters Collection, Baltimore, as one of Henry Walters' first medieval purchases, in 1899 (William R. Johnston, William and Henry Walters, the Reticent Collectors 1999:151).
  10. The library was rehoused in a modern structure in 2002.

Coordinates: 48°18′3″N 4°4′49″E / 48.30083°N 4.08028°E / 48.30083; 4.08028

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