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Lespignan et le Languedoc - Abbaye de Fontcaude
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Près du village de Cazerdarnes, en pleine garrigue, à 18 km de Béziers, se dressent les vestiges de l'abbaye de Fontcaude, un des grands sites historiques de l'Hérault, vestiges restaurés à partir de 1969.

Ces vestiges se situent au milieu d'un charmant hameau, constitué de quelques habitations, noyé dans la verdure.
 
Deux siècles de prospérité
Ce lieu était, il y a longtemps, imprégné du sacré lié à la présence de sources (source chaude…Fontcaude).
 
Si en 1154 un groupe de chanoines vint s'y établir, quittant le prieuré de Valcroze (près de l'abbaye d'Ariane), afin de s'éloigner des exigences autoritaires de son abbé, c'était aussi pour éradiquer ces traditions païennes et parce qu'un des chemins de Saint-Jacques y passait.
 
En 1165 certains chanoines de Fontcaude, critiquant le mode de vie canonial et son austérité, font venir des "confrères" de l'abbaye de Combelongue, appartenant à l'ordre nouveau Prémontré, qui, quelques années plus tard érigèrent Fontcaude en abbaye.
 
1184 Construction de l'église abbatiale, dernier ouvrage d'architecture romane de la région
 

En 1204 ces chanoines fondent l'abbaye N.D. D'Huveaune (près de Marseille).
 
L'abbaye se développe et de nombreux bâtiments sont construits : granges, maisons, moulins…
 
Le déclin et le délabrement
Au XIVème siècle les abbés de Fontcaude, sous la pratique de la commende, sont nommés par le Pape (et plus tard par le roi), entraînant le déclin de la vie religieuse.
 
Les croisades, la crise cathare puis la guerre de Cent Ans vont peu à peu dépeupler l'abbaye, pillée à de nombreuses reprises.
 
Du XVIIème au XVIIIème siècle la communauté est réduite à 6 chanoines, survivant dans des bâtiments ruinés.
 
Après la révolution, l'abbaye est aliénée comme Bien National, vendue aux enchères et partagée entre neuf propriétaires.
 
1969 – Les débuts de la restauration
Si en 1940 un archiviste départemental relevait pour la première fois les plans de l'église, ce n'est qu'en 1969 que l'association "Les amis de Fontcaude" a entrepris un long travail pour restaurer une partie de ce qui n'était que ruine au milieu de ronces et d'immondices.
 
Ce que l'on peut voir aujourd'hui
 
L'Eglise, élément architectural le plus brillant de l'abbaye.
 
Le Cloître, jardin il n'y a pas si longtemps, aujourd'hui "lisible".
 

L'Oratoire, adossé au mur sud de l'église.
 
Le Musée Fonderie de cloches, qui contient les plus belles pièces de la sculpture de Fontcaude.
 
Le moulin, moulin à huile des chanoines, témoignage de l'activité agricole de Fontcaude.
 
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Content © 2007 Lespignan et le Languedoc
Design by Jacques Cassan

 


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