I love this church and visit it every time I am in Brittany.
The Church of St Yves in La Roche-Maurice is dedicated to Yves Hélory de Kermartin who was born in 1250 near Tréguier, the son of a knight. He was an exceptionally gifted scholar and at 14 years old entered the university of Paris to train as a lawyer. He was also a devout Christian and decided to devote his knowledge to the service of widows, orphans, and poor people, becoming known for his astute and fair application of justice, and eventually revered as the patron saint of lawyers. I believe this statue on the South Porch of the church is St Yves – with the scales of justice and a book of law; and there is another statue of him high above the west door, in the Bell Tower.
The Church was built from 1509-89 on the site of a 14C Chapel founded by the Rohan family, and stands beside a large graveyard, not far from the remains of the castle.
‘The Triumphal Arch’ is very modest, really just barricaded steps down to the church, and a calvary of three crosses. All date from 1572.
The Ossuary, originally built in 1639-40 as the Chapel of St Anne, is a wonderfully elegant building with a carved frieze of people for whom it waits, and an Ankou who reminds us that ‘I will kill you’.
And now it is time to open the door and step inside…