Bourges Cathedral

0010-11-12 08:30:26

Roman Catholic diocese of Bourges is established

0058 BC-01-01 00:00:00

Julius Caesar commentaries

“The town of Avaricum was the largest and best fortified in the region of the Bituriges; it was situated in the most fertile part of the fields.” These words from Julius Caesar’s commentaries characterized the city of Bourges for the entire Middle Ages: it was secure, and it was in a fertile region. Bourges had been the capital of a Gallic tribe, of a Roman province, and of a medieval county, but in the twelfth century, it was a center more by virtue of tradition and of its unique position between the Cher and Loire rivers than because of its military strength, commercial importance, or ecclesiastical dominion.

0475-07-11 11:42:30

Visigoths in power

0539-10-23 18:15:21

Gregory of Tours writes about the first metropolitan church in Bourges

The circumstances in which the first metropolitan church was established were described by Gregory of Tours (History of the Franks I.31).

0590-10-23 18:15:21

At the end of the 6th century, an idea emerges that the Episcopal see of Bourges had been founded by Saint Ursin

1031-01-01 13:19:02

Reign of Henry I

1060-01-01 21:25:05

Reign of Philip I

1100-01-01 00:00:00

Philip I acquires Bourges

Philip I acquired Bourges from the viscount, Eudes Arpin, about 1100. By his purchase, the king extended the Royal Domain well to the south of its traditional limits, and he added to the territory already within his jurisdiction a region that was to be a faithful ally and the least restive of his vassals. Philip became lord of both county and city.

1108-01-01 13:18:52

Reign of Louis VI the Fat

1137-08-01 19:29:47

Reign of Louis VII the Young

1144-01-01 00:00:00

Pierre de la Châtres as Archbishop

Pierre de la Châtre (in office 1144-1171) spent his years as archbishop founding churches, acquiring property for the diocese, and reorganizing the administration of the See. He erected a new archiepiscopal palace within the cloister and is reported to have excelled the construction of oppida, templa, domus. The testimony of his interest in construction is probably recorded in the Cathedral itself—the additionals made to the eleventh-century chevet, ca. 1145-1160, may well have been stimulated by his interest in building.

1144-01-25 01:33:37

Suger brokers Pierre de la Châtre’s reconciliation with Louis VII

1159-01-01 08:44:55

Louis VII notes pleasure in the building campaign of Pierre de la Châtre

Louis VII had been impressed by Pierre de la Châtre’s building program and recorded this in a charter.

1159-01-01 08:44:55

Pierre de la Châtre establishes an extensive program of reorganization of the diocese

1172-01-01 00:00:00

Last Pre-Gothic building campaign

The last pre-Gothic campaign, an enlargement of the western end of the Cathedral, was under consideration around 1172, according to the archeological work of Robert Branner.

1172-01-01 08:44:55

King Henry II makes a military demonstration toward Bourges

Historically and ecclesiastically, Bourges was part of Aquitaine. The archbishopric of Bourges extended to the south and west over much of the ancient duchy; and the archbishops referred to themselves as primates of Aquitaine. Lakeside, the Angevin King Henry II of England, considered that his wife Eleanor, in her capacity as Duchess of Aquitaine, had a title to suzerainty.

1174-01-01 00:28:53

Cloister fortified

The cloister was fortified in 1174, and that portion of the city wall enclosing it must have remained defensible even after 1181 when Philip Augustus accorded the people of Bourges the privilege of building outside the Gallo-Roman wall.

1178-01-01 08:44:55

The number of canons was first permanently established at thirty

The Charters first establishing the number at thirty are in the First Cartulary, ff. 16v and 47r; the increase to forty is mentioned in a charter of Henri de Sully dated 1189.

1180-09-18 22:16:59

Reign of Philip II Augustus

1181-01-01 23:37:45

Philip Augustus accorded the people of Bourges the privilege of building outside the Gallo-Roman wall

In 1181, Philip Augustus accorded the people of Bourges the privilege of building outside the Gallo-Roman wall. This was a huge privilege.

1181-12-16 05:34:34

Philip Augustus issues an edict permitting building “juxta murum vel supra murmur” of the city

1183-01-01 02:45:14

Henri de Sully is elected archbishop

In 1183, Henri de Sully, a son of the feudal lord of Sully-sur-Loire, was elected archbishop. He served until 1199. Sully was wealthy and well-versed in the use of authority and the manners of diplomacy.

1188-08-14 08:28:50

The number of canons is increased to forty

1188-09-06 00:41:04

Philip Augustus builds defensive system for Bourges

1191-08-14 08:28:50

Old Cathedral is damaged by fire

Between 1191-1193 and 1195, the old Cathedral was damaged by fire. The decision to reconstruct the monument rather than repair it was made not long after.

1195-01-01 12:53:34

Donation of Henri de Sully

In 1195, Henri de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, gave 500 pounds to his chapter for the purchase of lands and rents. At the end of the charter recording this donation, he appended a second gift of smaller value: the funds he was to receive for certain unspecified ecclesiastical jurisdictions were to be turned over to the opus fabrice for the purpose of repairing the cathedral.

1195-01-01 20:28:39

First Gothic campaign, according to Robert Branner

When the Bourges Master began to reconstruct the Cathedral in 1195, the site of the chevet, for the most part, was occupied by a conglomeration of edifices.

1195-04-01 03:40:51

Crypt construction

This is the first building campaign according to Robert Branner. The decades 1190-1220 is indicated by two features in the Gothic crypt: the flatness of the earliest group of the bases and the open shallow cavets. Similar capitals in the Bourges crypt to ones from the same period in Laon and Soissons cathedrals. There is also a likely link between the nave capitals of the Collegial of Champeaux, which was completed in 1205. The Gothic crypt was mounted virutally as a unit.

1199-01-01 00:00:00

Saint Guillaume as archbishop

Henri de Sully was succeeded by Saint Guillaume (1199-1210), a man of noble blood, pious by nature and given to study and meditation. He has been reared by his uncle Pierre, archdeacon of Soissons Cathedral, and was oriented toward the Orders from childhood.

1200-01-01 13:08:22

Outer battery of flying buttresses

According to Robert Branner.

1204-11-24 19:19:39

Saint Guillaume prevents the monks of Déols from sending out a delegation to collect money for a building project at their abbey

It has been assumed by Hubert that the archbishop did not wish the monks to interfere with a possible quest of his own which would have been related to the Cathedral.

1209-01-01 07:40:04

Gérard de Cros as Archbishop

Little is known about Gérard de Cros.

1210-01-01 00:00:00

Construction of main clearstory, triforium, and vaults

Clearstory: Executed in the standardized style of the later work on the chevet. Triforium: Mounted as a single unit. Unlike the lower triforium, the passage is continuous across the line dividing the first two phases of construction. This follows the timeline provided by Robert Branner.

1210-11-24 19:19:39

Burial of Saint Guillaume in the Gothic crypt

Miracula of Siant Guillaume—a closer reading suggests that he was at first interred hurriedly in a part of the Cathedral that was in use.

1214-01-01 07:40:04

Preparation for second campaign

According to Robert Branner, this period of time was used to prepare for the second building campaign. Preparation for the second phase of construction must have consumed considerable time, since the chevet of the old Cathedral lying inside the Gallo-Roman wall had to be razed, even to the removal of the pier foundations, and great trenches dug for the subterranean Gothic foundation.

1214-01-01 21:06:31

Main altar is permanently moved to the newly completed chevet

In 1214, or immediately before, the main altar was permanently removed to the newly completed chevet, which now had to be accessible to the clergy and people.

1214-11-24 19:19:39

Brothers Manassès and Guillaume de Seignelay, bishops of Orléans and Auxerre, are sent to Bourges to settle a dispute

In 1214, probably during the abscence of the archbishop of Bourges, the brothers were instructed by papal bull to go to Bourges to settle a dispute that had arisen there between the dean and the chapter. In their decree, they mention that they reformed the evil ways of the canons. This included the regulation of dress and tonsure as well as conduct.

1217-08-11 11:09:12

Gérard de Cros as archbishop

Little is known about Gérard de Cros.

1218-01-01 04:22:58

Saint Guillaume is canonized

1218-01-01 08:44:55

Simon de Sully as archbishop

1223-02-01 02:23:15

Reign of Louis VIII the Lion

1223-06-07 04:12:34

Berry comes under control of the French monarchy

1225-01-01 08:33:54

Second campaign, according to Robert Branner

1225-01-02 00:00:00

Construction of south wall of the easternmost bays

The foundations on this side are shallower than those of the north. This timeline follows the work of Robert Branner.

1225-01-02 04:22:58

Construction of facade wall

The original bases of the facade responds are approximately at the level of those on the south wall, and their profiles indicate that they were cut shortly after the campaign opened. This timeline follows the work of Robert Branner.

1225-11-13 10:10:32

Main vessel is constructed

A more important but less precise criterion for the date of the nave of Bourges is furnished by the design of certain parts of the lower triforium, which has a design generally attributed to the years 1225-1235.This timeline follows the work of Robert Branner.

1226-11-08 20:37:48

Reign of Louis IX the Saint

1230-05-26 10:17:51

West portal first phase, according to Tania Bayard

Carving of the Genesis reliefs in the dado, the baldachins of the Ursin portal, and the tympana of the Ursin.

1230-11-01 21:21:49

Frons ecclesie is mentioned in a charter

The basic features of the present ground story of the façade must have been visible from 1230, when the frons ecclesie is mentioned in a charter.

1231-06-17 17:48:04

Bayard sees the Bourges facade as related to the sculpture of the so-called Joseph Master at Reims (around 1231)

The Bourges facade is in the sphere of Reims. Much of the sculpture of the second campaign is closely related to the scupture of the so-called Joseph Master at Reims. Reims infleunced the architecture as well.

Bourges Cathedral

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