This is the story of the Prieuré de Bray sur Aunette
The history of the prieuré was marked by three main periods. The buildings, the yards, the woods reveal the transformations due to historical events and the activity of man.
In 1249, Guy le Bouteiller, Lord of Senlis, in the will which he drafted in 1248, donates for the creation of one regular abbey of canons dependent on Saint Victor of Paris (it founded in Paris in 1113 by Guillaume de Champeaux).. It was before leaving with king Louis IX for the seventh crusade, during which he died in 1249 by landing to Damiette in Egypt.
One of the clauses of the will clarified » that one abbey conventual of regular canons of the order of Saint Augustine connected with the convent Saint Victor of Paris would be based to Bray near Senlis on the quint (the fifth) of the succession of the aforementioned Lord «
Abbaye St Victor of Paris on the 12th century
Now, the real value of the « quint » not being sufficient for the foundation of an abbey, the bishops of Paris and Senlis as well as the abbot of Saint Victor of Paris reduced it to six canons gathered in a Prieuré. What will be confirmed by obvious letter of King St Louis in 1255.
It will be necessary to wait for the papal confirmation of Alexandre IV in 1259 before the works can begin.
The day before Christmas 1263, the first prior, Raoul de Crécy, accompanied with five canons, can finally settle down in the buildings, and private chapel which have just been finished.
Therefore, within fifteen years of time and thanks to the donations of a local Lord, the Prieuré is going to be able to make its entry into the spiritual world and the so rich in the environment of the 13th Century.
Five centuries of religious life and a few adventures
Env. 1650 Plunder of the prieuré by the troops of Turenne and fire of the height of the chapel. The Chapel is repaired and even seems to benefit from a real revival thanks to the action of Benoît Faure, prior from 1632 till 1656.
During five centuries, from the middle of the XIIIth until the XVIIIth, about 40 priors succeeded one another in the Prieuré St Victor de Bray.
Among them, let us quote Gérard Marescot ( 1445 ), who became then an abbot of La Victoire, then Carthusian monk – Jean III de Nicolai ( 1456 ) who became an abbot of St Victor of Paris – Jean IV Petit ( 1483 ) buried in 1505 in the chapel – Robert Barthe ( 1539 ) hundred-years-old dead man – Benoit Faure ( 1632 ) who » renewed the spirit of the community and returned the church and the house more beautiful than they had never been » – Jean-Louis Hardy ( 1740 ) honoured on a paving stone still in the chapel – and finally Jean-Baptist Cassenet ( 1763 ), former grand prior of St Victor of Paris.
1773 Death of the last prior, Jean-Baptist Cassenet.
It is at this moment when the big prior of the abbey royal of St Victor of Paris, by concern of profitability decides to rent altogether prieuré, farm and possessions » so that the abbey was released from any concern of administration of this domain but the buyer had to let live in the seigneurial manor house and prieural only honest people and maintain the chapel with propriety. « . The first tenant is Jacques Badin, a bourgeois from Paris, but we ignore if the regular controls foreseen by the Abbaye St Victor de Paris were able to guarantee the good conservation of buildings.
1791 During the Révolution, the prieuré is declared National Property, then sold in 1791 to Nicolas Philippe Louis Charles Desprez de la Rézière, Parisian « jurist » whose family will keep the property during almost one century. Then, in 1885, the Prieuré will be sold to the family Roche. The fate of the buildings of the Prieuré during this period remains dark, but it is likely that the destructions and the alterations which mark the site even today date this time The set is henceforth dedicated farming and will be run during almost 200 years. The chapel will be used as barn.
The alterations which are going to accompany this painful period will however allow to find new uses, thus saving the buildings of total destruction. Their maintenance will henceforth be insured by the successive owners.
beginning of the century seen current after repair of the roof
1926 Prieuré de Bray (ancient): nearby cellars and vestiges situated in the North of the chapel are registered on the supplementary inventory of ancient memorials from 1925 till 1970. Registration by order of April 8th, 1926. (J.O N 31 of February 6th, 1999) NOR: MCCE9800916K on: http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/WAspad/UnTexteDeJorf?numjo=MCCE9800916K)
1943 The chapel, the dovecote and the cellar situated in the North of the ancient monastic complex are classified in conformance with ancient memorials.
1970 – 1980 Christiane and Charles de la Bédoyère, owners since 1943, restore roofs and masonries of the farm building.
1981 – 1997 New owner of the prieuré, the Delacharlery family begins very important works on the whole site and mobilizes to engage the decisive stages which will put the chapel out of water.
1992 Realization of a preliminary study by Yves Boiret (ACMH) for the restoration of the chapel classified in conformance with Ancient memorials.
1996 the Restoration of coverages and skeletons of the chapel by Vincent Brunelle ( ACMH) These works end in 1996 after the acquisition of the prieuré by Patrick and Sylvie Warin Thibault.
1998 Acquisition of the prieuré by the family Sirot Saunier.
1998 Beginning of the rehabilitation on buildings surrounding the chapel.
2003 Organisation of a team « project and organization » during a first seminar gathering around thirty experimented persons willing to get involve in the program of rehabilitation.
A new breath is given to return to the Prieuré de Bray its past brilliance.
This is the chantier !