Daily Destination


Carrying on with my fascination for the abandoned corner where there’s a medieval chapel….

The first documentary evidence dated 1202 mentions the foundation by Godefroy and his wife Agnes of an oratory ‘near Nanteuil’. They endow it with an income, 6 acres of land and the possibility to tax their fishponds. The donation is ratified by the bishop of Meaux. Further 13th century documents suggest that the chapel is surrounded by its own domain, within an enclosure, and that there was a ‘house’ as part of the property, maybe for a resident chaplain or for workers on the lands within the domain.

At a certain point, it belongs to the church in Juilly (for an aside about the abbey in Juilly see me disappear down a rabbit-hole here). Regular church services though in the chapel don’t seem to have taken place. As there was no Prior living in the Priory around the chapel, noone was there to celebrate. In the mid 16th century, there is a whole complex of buildings attested to including a courtyard, stables, granges, dovecote all within an enclosure, but by the early 17th century it’s all gone to ruin. Then it’s restored, and tenancy agreements for the ‘house within which is the chapel’ survive from later in the 17th century. In the early 18th century, the chapel changes hands again, passed into the purview of the ‘cure de Chantilly’. The Benedictine monks of Nanteuil get it back in 1777, but are really only interested in the lands, so once more the poor chapel suffers disrepair and dilapidation.

The estate changes hands several times before it’s bought by M. Fremin in 1921, who gives it to the local abbé Lemire who totally reconstructs it using the fallen stones which were simply lying around the structure waiting to be built back up again! Abbé Lemire then gives the chapel to the ‘catholic people of Nanteuil’.

The history of the chapel was perhaps first recounted in an article published in 1908, not long after it was rescued and reconstructed by abbé Lemire.

an old picture postcard of the chapel with two people in the foreground
cute old postcard showing the chapel and the spring in the foreground, from the beginning of the 20th century according to wiki

More recently (well, in the 80s), archeological excavations enabled a reconstruction of the ground plan of the chapel in previous states, with a cemetery to the east, a well and porch (or maybe narthex) to the west. A further small building on the north west corner seems to be the most ancient structure, with ceramic material characteristic of the 13th century found there. It could have been a small oratory that was replaced by the larger chapel and eventually abandoned after the 14th century, after which the well was also filled in.

a ground plan of the chapel showing where burials were uncovered and evidence of previous buildings found during archaeological excavations
Oiry Bernadette. La chapelle médiévale Notre Dame des Marais à Nanteuil-le-Haudouin (Oise). In: Revue archéologique de Picardie, n°1-2, 1987. pp. 125-132.

A long history of worship and activity in this abandoned-feeling corner of Nanteuil.

Cette chapelle… donne lieu chaque année à un pèlerinage : le lendemain de la première communion. Les offices y seront célébrés le mardi de la fête patronale de Nanteuil.

La croyance est que sa patronne préserve les enfants de la peur et qu’elle fait marcher plus vite les petits enfants…

Ernest Legrand, Histoire de Nanteuil le Haudouin, 1922

La chapelle des Marais, rebatie plus tard par l’abbé Lemire au XIXème siècle, sauvée d’une nouvelle ruine récemment….

Bernadette Oiry, “La chapelle médiévale Notre Dame des Marais à Nanteuil-le-Haudouin (Oise)” Revue archéologique de Picardie, 1987

And I can’t help but think that ruin threatens it again. The windows are boarded and only birds can go in or out. Graffiti was already rife in the 19th century…

an example of 19th century graffiti, the date 1865 is carved into the stones at the side of the entrance