The Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

Our time in Brittany had come to an end and we set off on the road from Sizun to Ouistreheim. It was a short journey and so we stopped at Dol de Bretagne and then again in Caen before sadly boarding the overnight ferry back to the UK.

The Cathedral of St Samson in Dol de Bretagne is very important in Brittany – one of the original seven Bishoprics established by the evangelising monks from Cornwall. Samson, an aristocrat and a Welsh monk, established a monastery in Dol in c.550 and King Judual made him a Bishop shortly afterwards. By 848 when Nominoë was crowned King of Brittany, Samson’s monastery had been replaced with a Romanesque Cathedral which became the religious capital of Brittany. This Cathedral was mainly destroyed in1203 by an English King, Jean sans Terreand today’s building dates from the 13C.  The west façade  shows the changes over the centuries with a Romanesque doorway, and the incomplete north tower which was started in 1520 but ran out of money.

The West Facade of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The West Facade of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

The north side of the Cathedral is apparently more or less unchanged since the 13C

The Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

Building work on the south side continued until the 19C. The Great Porch dates to the 14C, with decorative carvings in white added by Jean Boucher in the 19C. The little porch, or the ‘Porch of the Bishop’, was built in the 13C and afforded the Bishop a private entrance into the Cathedral. The south tower was built between the 13C and 17C, with the steeple added in the 17C.

The Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

The Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

The Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

The south tower & the little porch of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The south tower & the little porch of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The little porch of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The little porch of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The south tower of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne
The south tower of the Cathedral of St Samson, Dol de Bretagne

The interior is spectacular, as I hope to show you in the next post.

Further information
The Cathedral and here
The history of the Cathedral
Old photographs of the Cathedral – beautiful

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