Abbey St. Paul, Wisques

The community of St. Pauls abbey at Wisques was forced to leave France in 1901. They went to Belgium and lived at first in Honnay, near Namur. They went to Oosterhout in 1906 and started there the St. Pauls abbey. Dom Bellot constructed this abbey and worked from there until 1929.

 

When the monks returned to France in 1920 a few of them stayed in Oosterhout, Dom Bellot also. Most of the French monks left to Wisques and occupied the abby again.

It was a ancient Château, modified in1889 by architect Paul Vilain from Lille.

In 1928 Dom Bellot moves from Oosterhout to Wisques and continues his atelier from this abbey at Wisques, leaving Hendrik van de Leur behind, who would continue the work in The Netherlands as his associé-compagnon.

 

 

 

View at the backside of the abbey.

This part is designed by Dom Bellot.

Behind the rectangular windows is the refectory.

 

 

 

Next and beneath the cloister,

build next to the ancient Château.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the left is the extension,

the lower part is designed by Philippe in the 1960’s.

 

The original plans were to build an entire new abbey at the site of the Château. At the east of the old Château Bellot started in 1930 the extension of the abbey, building a refectory, kitchen, cloister and rooms for the monks. Further extension was planned, because the foundations for a rectangular cloister are still present nowadays. When the new abbey was finished, the Château would be demolished...

 

In the second worldwar the German army occupied the abbey. They complained about the small kitchen and extended it, in style. After the war the monks returned, but never completed the abbey to the original plans of Bellot.

About 1960 architect Joseph Philippe, a former pupil of Bellot, designed a east-wing matching the style of the part Bellot designed in 1930. It contains a chapel, the library and more rooms for the monks. A small bellfry at the south-east side of the complex is also designed by Philippe.

 

 

Cloister

 

 

The cloister has twill arches made of bricks. These arches are decorated with different colors of brick and near the statue of the virgin Mary colored bricks are used to decorate the wall. The other walls are suprisingly plain. The cloister at the north is designed by Bellot, the part at the east is made by Philippe. Ath the west-end two naves of the cloister are closed by a temporary wooden wall with door, since 1930...

 

 

The refectory has a ceiling of concrete, supported by brick colomns. The pulpit is made out of concrete and decorated bij painter father

François Mes OSB.

 

Bellot isn’t using much color in this refectory. Only a belt of colored brick at about 1 metre height is used to decorate. The concrete beams are painted orange and green. On the floor different tiles are used to create the same mosaic like in the cloister.

 

The stained-glass windows are yellow-red colored.

 

Part of the original refectory is nowadays the chapter house of the community. It’s eastwall is rich decorated, as seen below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the first and second floor the rooms of the monks are situated. The typical architecture of Bellot can be found at the staircase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new chapel, designed by Joseph Philippe in 1960 can be seen at the right. Clearly inspired by the refectory Philippe succeeded to match the style of Bellot.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo's: A.W.A. Lukassen and A.A. Lukassen,  july 2010

We wish to thank the monks of Wisques for their generous hospitality.