In the city center of Saint-Omer, rue Saint-Bertin, the Saint-Denis church and its square tower rises in the center of its enclosure. Its ancient origins make this church a symbolic monument of Saint-Omer listed as a historical monument.

Formerly associated with certain corporations and large Audomaroise families, the church of St Denis in Saint-Omer has one of the oldest Gothic towers in the region. The latter, dating from the 13rd century, is likely to be confused with the tower of the cathedral when one is not accustomed to the monuments of Saint-Omer.

Let's go back briefly to the history of this Audomarois monument.

Fountain raised at the entrance to the Saint-Denis enclosure in Saint-Omer

History of the Saint-Denis church in Saint-Omer

Some writings mention that on the site of the church of St Denis stood, in the time of the Morins, a pagan temple dedicated to Minerva. Then, the St Bertin abbey was built in the year 648, a little before the Notre-Dame church on Mount Sithiu. This will become a cathedral much later. Rue Saint-Bertin, the oldest in the city, was a processional route with a prayer station halfway. It was on the site of the pagan temple and this station that the Saint-Denis church was built in the XNUMXth century.

Built to cope with the growth of the city in need of a church, it is one of the oldest parish churches in the city which did not experience the devastation of the French Revolution.

The cemetery that surrounds it will become its enclosure in the XNUMXth century following a public health law prohibiting intramural cemeteries.

A medieval church

Today, it is difficult to find elements of the primitive Romanesque church of the 13th century. Indeed, the oldest parts of the construction date from the 4th century? like the tower. The latter, in Gothic style, is presented as a square tower with XNUMX levels, surrounded at its feet by buttresses. The heart and a column of the north chapel date from the XNUMXth century. The hallekerque type construction, or hall church with three equal naves, dates from the XNUMXth century. These last works made it possible to put back the arrow blown by a storm. This arrow today is unfortunately no longer.

St Denis St Omer
Saint-Denis church, rue Saint-Bertin in Saint-Omer

The church of corporations and large Audomaroise families

This church had many donations from large Audomaroise families who frequented it during the Ancien Régime. We find within it sculptures, chapels and elements of sacred art designed in their honor, such as the black stone funerary plaque of a nobleman who died at the battle of Agincourt, Antoine d'Avroult. The noble family also had its chapel there in the Saint-Denis de Saint-Omer church.

 Other chapels contain treasures of sacred art dedicated to the guilds of fishmongers and carpenters, as well as to their Patron Saints.

Saint-Denis church closed for works

Time has done its work, and the Saint-Denis de Saint-Omer church is in bad shape today. Due to lack of funds, the work was postponed for a long time. Now in great danger, the Saint-Denis church has been under construction since 2019. It is therefore closed to the public.

To find out more about the church of St Denis and the monuments of Saint-Omer, go to the website of theaudomarois town planning agency and country of art and history.

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