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Title: Bellou-sur-Huisne  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Communes of the Orne department, Arrondissement of Mortagne-au-Perche
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Coordinates: 48°25′34″N 0°45′26″E / 48.4261°N 0.7572°E / 48.4261; 0.7572Coordinates: 48°25′34″N 0°45′26″E / 48.4261°N 0.7572°E / 48.4261; 0.7572

Country France
Region Lower Normandy
Department Orne
Arrondissement Mortagne-au-Perche
Canton Rémalard
Intercommunality Perche rémalardais
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Claude Lefèvre
 • Land1 15.11 km2 (5.83 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Population2 430
 • Population2 density 28/km2 (74/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 61042 / 61110
Elevation 120–226 m (394–741 ft)
(avg. 124 m or 407 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bellou-sur-Huisne is a commune in the Orne department in northwestern France.


Saint Paterne church

The church at Bellou-sur-Huisne, as many religious buildings in the Perche, belongs to the Romanesque era. This cruciform church has a single nave. The base of the tower constitutes the North transept, while a chapel built in 1854, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, serves as South transept. The apse ends in a semicircle, while its base is made of stones of quite large size. The building must have had architectural interest. The main entrance was the North one. It is the most typical feature of the original church. In the 16th and 17th century, the church underwent alterations.

In 1875, the "Fabrique" (official organization of parishioners) and direct gifts from parishioners made it possible to start restoration work, and the sculptures representing various motifs taken from Christian symbolism date from that time. The most typical features are the 82 medallions which decorate the various sides of the building, representing the history of Christianity, the sins of men, redemption, the litanies of the Virgin Mary and the symbols of the Church.

The furniture of the church is quite remarkable : a baroque altarpiece in painted stone with wings and six columns (18th century), an arched pediment with glory, garlands and baskets of flowers, decorated with two statues (Saint Martin and Saint Paterne) in carved and painted wood (17th century), a wooden tabernacle (18th century), a great crucifix in carved and painted wood (17th century), an 18th century processional banner. All these are on the supplementary historical register. A beautiful set of 18th century benches is also worthy of notice.

One of the three bells (1896) was given to the parish by the empress of Russia. Her godfather was count Jules François de la Bonninière de Beaumont, and her godmother her majesty the dowager empress of Russia Maria Feodorovna, widow of Alexander III, and mother of the last Tsar, Nicolas II.

The windows represent the patron saints of the parish and the saints who lived in the Perche. The ones in the apsidal recesses are Saint Paterne, Saint Eloi and Saint Louis, the ones in the nave, Saint Latuin and Saint Laumer. The nave windows were designed and made in an Argentan workshop, by Ledien and Bazire (1858). Local popular fashion best enabled the stain-glass artists to express their originality. In the absence of academic models, they had to create original art representing the specific cults of the Perche. Several of these windows have been on the register of the département since 1987. Next, transfer of the relics of Saint Latuin to Bellou S/Huisne.

Eighteenth century processional banner, restored in 2006-2007 (Oil on linen canvas, one side representing Saint Paterne, the other, the virgin enthroned.)

Saint Paterne

Born in Poitiers circa 482. In 507, he became a monk in the Enxion Monastery. After having retired to the woods to meditate, he decided to spread the word of God and to evangelize. Saint Lo, bishop of Coutances, ordained him priest. He settled in Avranches and was chosen to succeed Gilles as bishop of Avranches. He introduced the rule of Saint Benedict in monasteries. He died at the age of 83. SAINT LATUIN Born in Great Britain, he evangelized the Exmes country, the Perche and other areas of the region in the fourth century. He was sent on a mission by Pope Clement, and was honoured as the apostle and the first bishop of Sées. He was said to possess the power of curing fevers, skin infections and eye problems.

SAINT LAUMER (or Lhomer). He founded the first monastery in the Perche in Moutiers-au-Perche around 563. The monks shared their time between manual and spiritual work, associating culture and preaching. In the ninth century, at the time of the Norman invasions, his followers transferred his body to Blois for safety reasons.

SAINT ELOI (patron saint of goldsmiths, glaziers, blacksmiths and locksmiths). He was born near Limoges in 588. He was apprenticed to a goldsmith at an early age. He was noticed by king Clothaire II and was appointed minster of finance at his court. He later became the treasurer of Clothaire's successor, King Dagobert. He had admirable talent and made several precious works for the Saint Denis basilica founded by Dagobert. In 640, he left the monastery where he had retired to become bishop of Noyon. He stayed in Mortagne, where he cured sick people.


The "Bellou-sur-Huisne Patrimoine" association was created in July 2005 in order to collect gifts from individuals and companies and help the village to preserve its cultural and historical heritage and more specifically, the church of Saint Paterne. Thanks to the gifts and to the "Fondation du Patrimoine" and the "Conseil Général de l'Orne", the tower and many works of art (The Stations of the Cross, the banner etc.) have already been restored. Many objects and pieces of furniture are still in need of renovation. Gifts to the association may be tax-deductible. For further information, contact :

See also


  • Bellou-sur-Huisne on the link of Bellou Patrimoine
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