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Vauluisant Abbey

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Source: Ancalagon

Vauluisant Abbey, near Courgenay in the canton of Brienon-sur-Armançon, Yonne, France, is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1127 by a group of monks from the abbey of Preuilly who came to settle between the forest of Othe and the forest of Lancy, an area near the borders of Ile-de-France, Champagne and Burgundy that had come to be far from human habitation. They diverted the waters of the little River Alain and by 1 April 1129, works were far enough advanced for Henri Sanglier, the archbishop of Sens, to consecrate the modest oratory. By 1140 Vauluisant was fully operational. The abbey church was consecrated in 1149. In the second half of the 12th century, granges were established to cultivate abbey lands far from the abbey itself, at Beauvais, Toucheboeuf, Livanne, Cérilly, Armentières, worked by lay brothers who lived communally. Ironworks were established, fuelled by the dense woodlands, and tileworks, whose kilns were also fired by forest timber. The energetic Cistercians of Vauluisant produced more than the abbey needed; the surplus was sold in the market towns of Troyes and Provins, where the abbots retained domiciles, and at the cathedral town of Sens.
The abbey was attacked and pillaged and its mills destroyed several times during the Hundred Years War; its ancient structures were repaired and rebuilt in the 15th century with the return of royal authority to the region of Sens in the reign of Charles VII. At the opening of the 16th century, under the direction of abbot Antoine Pierre the abbey was transformed and enlarged with an enclosed park, a grand fortified gatehouse, a grange dimière , a dovecote, a mill, a rebuilt chapel and spacious new lodgings for guests— the remains that can be recognized today. François I with his court was a guest at Vauluisant more than once, and Jacques de Savoie, 2nd Duc de Nemours was born at Vauluisant in 1531. But the rich benefice of Vauluisant attracted a series of abbots who held it in commendam, enjoying the income while the abbey slipped into disrepair; among them was Odet de Coligny, the well-beneficed cardinal who joined the Reformed church and was excommunicated.


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