St Martin, Jeantes

The NE frontier region of France, known as the Thiérache, was for centuries a rat run for invading armies. During those times of rape and pillage, villages like Jeantes fortified at least some of their church building to provide shelter for themselves, their goods and their animals, against the time when Death came knocking at their doors. It was at nearby Montcornet that a certain Colonel Charles de Gaulle held up Guderian’s Panzers in May 1940.

 

A Dutch mission priest, of Portuguese origin, came to the little village of Jeantes as its new cure in 1961. Pere Pierre de Suasso de Lima de Prado called in the celebrated artist Charles Eyck (1897–1983). The artist worked dawn to dusk for weeks to transform the sad and abandoned coloured frescoes and black and white sgraaffto etchings, as well as five stained glass windows. brick church, saying ‘Je viens pour remplir un vide.’ Fill it he did, with 400m2 of paintings, both

It is a wonderful treatment of traditional themes in the expressionist style. Restoration in 1992–7 saw the glazing completed by Rob Brouwers, and the installation of a splendid nave altar.

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