The Church of St Suliau in Sizun is, in my view, one of the memorable Enclos Paroissiaux in Brittany. It dominates the centre of the village and has most of the ‘ingredients’ of an enclos: walled churchyard, Triumphal Arch, Church with a South Porch, Sacristy, and Ossuary. There are, sadly, only the remains of the Calvary. Inside it is glorious.
The Church complex is spread out and very difficult to photograph! (The third photograph is not distorted – the church is on a small hill!)
St Suliau was actually a Welsh saint, Saint Tysilio, I believe, who lived in the 6C-7C in Wales, but eventually came to Brittany, where he died. In Sizun he is remembered in several statues both inside and outside the Church.
The Bell Tower dates from the early 1700s and is tall and elegant, visible for miles around.
The Triumphal Arch was built 1585-90 and dominates the centre of the village. It has an upper gallery, accessed by a stair (similar to the Triumphal Arch at La Martyre) which could be used for preaching to the public outside the church, but unfortunately the end of the arch and and enclosing wall, and the end of the Arch, were lost when the road was widened in recent years – a real shame, as I think this is the most beautiful Arch in Brittany.
The Ossuary of1585-88 is both a striking and a curious building. The Rohan coat of arms is over the door, with yet another statue of St Suliau. The Apostles line the front of the building, rather than stand in the South Porch, and below, between the windows, are curious, almost Egyptian-looking figures.
The 17C Sacristy has a slate roof in the shape of a ship’s hull.
The buildings are decorated with carvings – gargoyles, a curious frieze, and statues – a wonderful mix of sacred and secular. In particular there are a number of ‘sirens’ – fantastical fish-tailed maidens.
There must have been a calvary outside the church but all that remains is a small pièta.