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Bourgueil Abbey

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Bourgueil Abbey (more precisely the abbaye Saint-Pierre de Bourgueil-en-Vallée) was a Benedictine monastery in France (current Indre-et-Loire), founded in 990. It was located at Bourgueil, in historic Anjou and the diocese of Angers. The founder was Emma, countess of Blois, daughter of Theobald I of Blois, and duchess of Aquitaine. It later (1630) was attached to the Congregation of Saint-Maur.

Abbaye de Bourgueil, plan général

Plan of Bourgeuil Abbey, circa 1600.

History

Bourgueil was a mansio set up on the Roman main road from Angers to Tours. Other Roman routes converged on Burgolium. Before 977, these lands belonged to Thibaut I of Blois. He gave them as dowry for his daughter Emma. [1]. At this point a priory already existed at Bourgueil.

Emma of Blois, tired of her philandering husband William IV of Aquitaine (935-995), and particularly with his liaison with Aldéarde of Thouars, wife of Herbert I of Thouars, had her rival beaten up and raped.[2]. Emma then fled with her young son, the future William V of Aquitaine, to her brother Odo I, Count of Blois at the château de Chinon. The penitent Emma founded the Abbey in 990, near Chinon. The family was pious and Eudes was a lay abbot of Saint-Martin de Tours and Marmoutier. There were also political reasons, in the Loire region, for the family to stand up to Hugh Capet.

Eglisestjulien

The founding group of monks came from abbaye de Saint-Julien de Tours.

The rich endowment likely came from several sources: Emma's uncle Herbert III of Omois, but also her husband's estate, which included Brolium, Longua-Aqua, Oziacum , Vendeia... (Le Breuil, Longève, Gazais et La Vendée in Poitou).[3]. William V also contributed. The possessions -- land and a large forest, feudal and seigneurial rights down to the waters of the Loire -- were later counted as a barony.

From the twelfth centuries the Abbey acquired 42 dependent priories and 64 parishes in the Angoumois, Île-de-France. The Abbot Baudry de Bourgueil was a poet who praised in verse the wine cultivated locally by the monks.

Notes

  1. Jacques Xavier Carré de Busserolle, Dictionnaire géographique, historique et biographique d'Indre-et-Loire et de ... , Tome I- page 358, 1878.
  2. Herbert I (vers 960 - 987)
  3. L'Anjou et ses Monuments, vol. 1, p. 351 et Archives d'Anjou, recueil des documents et mémoires inédits sur cette..., 1843, p.82n.

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