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Home / The Abbey / History

HISTORY

Crossing the ages

Lords of cabrières

1139 – 1159
Construction

The Abbey of Valmagne was founded in 1139 by the powerful lords of Cabrières. They appealed to the Benedictine monks of the monastery of Ardorel (diocese of Albi), this foundation was immediately confirmed by Raymond Trencavel, son of Bernard Aton IV founder of Ardorel.

In 1159, the abbey is attached to the order of Cîteaux and becomes daughter of Bonnevaux (Dauphiné). From this date, the Romanesque church and cloister will be built according to the Cistercian plan.

St. Mary of Valmagne

XIIth to XIVth
Apogee

From the 12th to the 14th century, Sainte-Marie de Valmagne is one of the richest abbeys in the South of France.

It was during this lavish period that the construction of the new Gothic church began in 1257, when the first Romanesque church was too small to accommodate the ever-growing community.

Religion

XIVth century
Wars of religion

After a period of expansion and wealth, the Abbey faced the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion.

Very damaged, the Abbey did not have too much of the two following centuries to recover its primitive splendor. But the revolution melted on an Abbey where decadence had already settled. The last monks fled in 1789 and Valmagne was sacked.

Vincent Concomblet of Saint Séverin

1575
Slaughter
monks

In 1575, the commendatory abbot of Valmagne, Vincent Concomblet of Saint Séverin, passes into the camp of the Reformed and returns with an army of peasants to seat his own abbey. During this attack, the monks are murdered and the places ransacked. Valmagne will remain deserted during forty years and will become a den of brigands.

It will be necessary to await the beginning of the XVIIe century so that the monks return and begin to revive the monastery. This reorganization will last nearly a century

Reconstruction

XVIIth et XVIIIth
Renaissance

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are more clement for Valmagne thanks to the arrival of a new commendatory abbot, Cardinal Pierre de Bonzi, who will turn Valmagne into an episcopal palace and restore its past splendor.

Abbey and vineyard

1791 – 1838
The abbey becomes
a winery

On the eve of the French Revolution the Abbey is highly indebted, there are only five monks left in a community that had counted more than two hundred at its peak. They will flee to Spain in 1791 taking with them the last goods of the Abbey. The monastery is plundered by the revolutionary peasants and becomes, after that, National property.

The Abbey and its estate are sold to Mr. Granier-Joyeuse, a viticulturist from Villeveyrac who will transform the abbey church into a cellar. At his death, Valmagne is put back on sale and will be bought by the Count of Turenne in 1838.

Family history

1838 – 2018
Generation
in generation

Since the Abbey of Valmagne is transmitted from generation to generation to the family Gaudart D’Allaines, current descendants of the Count of Turenne. Listed as a Historic Monument in 1947, it has been open to visitors since 1975.

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