Abbaye de Fontevraud

The Abbey was founded on this site in 1101, and was originally for both men and women.
It was founded by the hermit Robert d'Arbrissel.
The Abbaye was always for the rich, and for nearly seven hundred years it was governed by an abbess who came from the aristocracy. Over half the abbesses were of royal birth.
No other religious establishment came any where near this prestigious abbaye housed the monks were hosed in a priory outside the main site, and inside the walls were four separate communities.
These ranged from rich widows to reformed prostitutes. There was also a hospital and leper colony on the site.
After the Revolution the buildings were used as a prison, as were many other fine buildings.
The restoration work has been going on since the early 1950's and will continue for many years to come.
The Abbaye's main claim to fame is that fifteen members of the English royal family are buried here. King Richard The Lionheart (1157 - 1199) and Henry Plantagenet (1133 - 1189) are only two of three English Kings not buried in England. The other being William the Conqueror who is also buried in France at Caen.
The most striking feature of the abbaye is the kitchens with many chimneys These were used to smoke fish and meat as well as prepare the meals for the many people in the abbaye.

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