Sainte-Croix de Caderle : The Chapel
When was this edifice built ? The answer remains imprecise. Nevertheless, recent excavations showed that there were four different periods of building.
First a Caroligian and rebuilding in the romanesque period (XII th century). Other destruction and other rebuilding in the XIV th century, and finally other partial destruction and rebuilding in the XVII th and XVIII th century.
If we take into account that the starting point of the district is the hamlet of Caderle, two miles far from the chapel (welknown for its copper mines at the Gallo-Roman age) we can wonder why a chapel was built there, knowing that the place must have been desert and uncultivated at the time.
Sure that the dominating position of this area is something essential and we can’t help thinking that in the Gallic times this spot had already been dedicated to deification.
As it appears now, with adjoined farm buildings, the edifice has nothing to do with its past splendour : a Roman nave topped by a steeple and flanked by two little chapels and a semi-circular choir - the ceiling of all this edifice being supported by crossed vaults.
The addition of a hayloft above the Entrance door, the suppression of the steeple, the raising of the chapels, the moving of the rooftop, make it appear, from the outside, like a solid building, and you must enter it to discover the elegance of the Arch of the Central nave and the crossing of the vault in the little lateral chapel, so, you can imagine what the edifice was like at its beginning.
Nowadays sobriety of the inside, because of the protestant worship, makes us forget the various ornaments that must have decorated it at the time of its first destination. According to an inventory of the cult articles made on october 27 th 1420 there were a silver cross, two candelabras, etc… in the church.
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It was probably at this time that the church was elevated to the rank of « priory » with a blazon for the parish ; « on an azure background, a golden cross, with four identical little golden crosses ».
The events of history are often the causes of many destructions. As most of the other « Cevenol » villages, the district had taken side with Reformation and the church was partially destroyed during the religion wars. The fortifications which were built at this time can be partly seen nowadays. They have the shape of an irregular pentagon which is built against the south wall of the church.
A rounded perron of five steps leads to the entrance door opened in the south wall. This entrance must have been closed by a wooden door, now disappeared.
On the right of the door, a loophole was there to keep protection. The south-east wall, one foot three inches wide, still exists on a length of seven meters and we can notice five loopholes in it.
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In march 1580, the Catholics took possession of the village. The church had been pulled down during the disorders, only a roofless chapel remained, all the rest of the building had been razed to the ground, except maybe the foundations of the North wall of the Chapel.
The church was rebuilt between 1653 and 1663, under Raymond Barrault’s ministry. This one had repairs done to the presbitery and paid them himself. At this time, the parish was provided with a bell too. R. Barrault died in 1686 and was buried in the nave of the church.
During the « Camisards » war, on november 25 th 1703, the church and the presbitery were burnt. It seems that everything which was wooden made inside the building disappeared but the walls stayed rather intact.
Till the 1789 revolution, a lot of repairings were made on the building. Little by little, they gave the edifice the aspect it has nowadays.
During the 1789 revolution the church and the presbitery were classified : « National property ». When those « National properties » were sold, only half an acre was left to the priest : it was the presbitery, the garden just behind the house, and the little closed ground in front of the church. The rest of the property was sold by auction on august 2nd 1791.
The church and the graveyard were given to the protestant cult in 1802.
An association « Les amis du temple de Ste Croix de Caderle » , « The friends of Ste Croix de Caderle’s chapel » was born in january 1985; and since then, with the help of the council, they’ve been trying to keep the building and the inside in good state :
· consolidation of the apse,
· Repairing of the roof,
· Fitting up the inside—fixing up the benches,
French text : Pierre VALETTE
Translation in english : Violette AURIOL.