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         Section I - Rennes-le-Château before Bérenger Saunière

The Middle Ages

In the 9th century, under the rule of the counts of Rhedae, the city of Rhedae occupying the site of Rennes-le-Château reached the height of its power. From the 10th century onwards, however, it commenced its irreversible decline. A pawn in the constant battles for territorial hegemony, it passed back and forth between the counts of Carcassonne and the counts of Barcelona.

A second church? In 1880 the local historian Louis Fédié mentions the presence of two churches in Rennes-le-Château. The question of where precisely the second church once stood has occupied researchers for several years.

 

Did you know…? The church of St Mary Magdalene was furnished from the outset with a large stone basin serving as a baptismal font. Around 1897 Father Saunière had the basin moved and reused it at the entrance to the cemetery… as a planter!

 

Documents

Louis Alban Buzairies, “Notices historique sur les châteaux
de l’arrondissement de Limoux” (texte) in Journal de Limoux (n.13) 31.3.1867, (n.15) 14.4.1867, (n.19) 19.5.1867, (n.20) 26.5.1867, (n.21) 2.6.1867, (n.23) 16.6.1867. ›  

Louis Fédié, "Rhedae" in Le Comté de Razès et le diocèse d’Alet, 1880. ›  

Louis Alban Buzairies, “Notices historique sur les châteaux
de l’arrondissement de Limoux” (texte) in Journal de Limoux (n.13) 31.3.1867, (n.15) 14.4.1867, (n.19) 19.5.1867, (n.20) 26.5.1867, (n.21) 2.6.1867, (n.23) 16.6.1867. 

Further reading

Photos of the large stone basin serving as
a baptismal font, October 1966 - May 1968. ›  

Jean Fourié, Rennes-le-Château : L’histoire de Rennes-le-Château
antérieure à 1789
, Jean Bardou, 1984. ›  

© 2009-2014 All rights reserved • Texts Antoine Captier, Christian Doumergue, Mariano Tomatis

Contributors Corjan De Raaf, Patrick Mensior, Octonovo, Morgan Roussel, Paul Saussez, Marcus Williamson.

Translation Karen McDermott Art Director Mariano Tomatis