Eglise Saint-Lunaire de Saint-Lormel, dite “du vieux bourg”

Historical sites and monuments - Saint-Lormel


Parish close and ancient yew trees.

Parish close or enclosure, i.e. a walled area, entirely dedicated to a saint (cemetery, place of worship), and where a thousand-year-old yew tree still grows today (the yew being a mythical tree or 'Idad' for the Celts).
On the facade, you can make out two motifs frequently found on Roman villas, depicting household deities thought to protect the home. Here, the family is represented by a coat of arms, and there are diverse symbols of fertility and fecundity.

The 12th century baptismal font (listed) has four handles, each symbolising one of the four cardinal points and formed in the shape of heads. The grooves on the inside date from the year 1000.
There is a well underneath the pulpit.
On the ground, you can make out the coat of arms of the Knights Templar (palm leaf, Christian symbol).
The church has kept the convivial atmosphere of churches from days gone by and can hold up to 200 people.
Why is it called Saint Lunaire in Saint Lormel?
The two names have in fact the same origin: that of a Welsh missionary monk (born in 509) called Léonor whose grandfather was the chief of Dumnonia.
'Lor' was a combination of Léonor and 'Mel' (crowned saint). The monk arrived in France and founded a monastery near what would later become Dinard (with Samson, Tugdual, etc). On this spot, he founded the first Christian community in the area.
Thus, he was one of the many sons of exiles who returned home (his brother Hoël also returned to reclaim his father's homeland) to spread the Catholic religion. Catholicism, having started in Rome, spread across Europe following natural communication routes: the Rhone, the Saône and then the Rhine before arriving in England. The barbarian Angle and Saxon invasions during the 6th century pushed communities that had converted to Catholicism to the Irish, Scottish and Breton borders. Catholicism developed in the north before boomeranging back to the south and spreading throughout the rest of France.
The first church appeared in the 7th century, built on the remains of a Celtic temple from the 2nd century BC. It was demolished and then rebuilt in the year 1000, and then again in the 15th and 16th centuries in its current form, excepting the original thatched roof (now a stone roof).
During the 17th century, the Pope, in recognition of the significance of the cult of worship dedicated to Saint Lunaire, conceded plenary indulgence for a period of 300 years, most specifically on the date of the Pardon ceremony on the 1st Sunday in July.
With the construction of a new, bigger church, the centre of the village was displaced in 1863. The name 'vieux bourg' or 'old town' gradually came into use, followed by 'chapel'; but the name of the church nevertheless remained.
However, the history of this place did not start with Léonor, its namesake, but long before. Numerous Roman artefacts have been found, notably some stones from the wall of a family villa once situated there. We know for certain that the 'Grand Trait' and the 'Louverie' housed detachments of Roman soldiers who were there to protect the Coriosolite temple of Fanum Martis. For avid fans of all things Roman or anyone with a thirst for knowledge, Corseul (5km away), is home to some real Roman treasures that keen volunteers will be only too delighted to show you.
During the 2nd century, a large Celtic population settled near the river's source. Their religion was Animist - Druidic. Bone fragments were found in the well and under the stele during renovations to the church interior carried out in 1984-1985, as well as in the town hall square in Plancoët.



  • Free and permanent tour
  • Free tour on request
  • Permanent guided tour
  • Guided tour on request


  • Free tour on request
  • Permanent guided tour
  • Guided tour on request