Bacqueville En Caux, St Leonard's stained glass windowBacqueville En Caux, St Leonard's stained glass window
©Stained glass window of Saint-Léonard, St Pierre Church Bacqueville-en-Caux|Aurore Pélerin

In the footsteps of the Sieurs de Bacqueville

Let me tell you the story of Guillaume IV de Martel, Sieur de Bacqueville… If his ancestor Geoffroy I had distinguished himself at the side of William the Conqueror during the battle of Hastings, which earned the name of Martel to the lineage and the possibility of enriching the fief of Bacqueville with a priory and a castle, it is indeed William the fourth of the name who remains the most famous, because of his incredible story…


The Legend of Saint Leonard

This is the story I am going to tell you. Captured in 1270 during the Crusades, Guillaume was to be imprisoned for seven long years, at the end of which one evening he decided to invoke Saint Leonard, the patron saint of the seigniorial chapel of his castle of Bacqueville. The next morning, he woke up in a wood, in the middle of an unknown place. A young woman who was passing by offered him some food, and told him that he was… in Bacqueville! And that the bells ringing at this moment celebrate the imminent re-marriage of the chatelaine! The Chatelaine of Bacqueville? Yes, you guessed it, she was William’s wife before he disappeared on his crusade! No sooner said than done, Guillaume rushes to the church where the chatelaine, about to remarry, recognizes him! And all’s well that ends well.

The Calvaries of Bacqueville-en-Caux

From legend to local heritage...

Legend tells us that following this event, Guillaume had two Calvaries erected: one dedicated to Saint Leonard, in thanks for his miraculous liberation, on the present road to Ablemont, where a Cross is still standing, reerected in 1765 and then in the 19th century and still visible, although the Saint Leonard invoked by those who place ribbons there nowadays is not the same. Indeed, over the centuries, the Saint Leonard who freed Sieur Martel was confused with the Saint Leonard, bishop of Avranches, who was invoked for paralysis and children who were slow to walk. This is how many ribbons and children’s shoes can still be found there today.

The second is the Cross Mangeà-là, located not far from the church, which Guillaume is said to have erected as a tribute to the young woman who had offered him something to eat when he woke up. The Cross Mangea-là already existed in 1540 under the name of Mangerat, then “Mangea-là” from 1733. Built by the Abbot Demeillers, the current Cross Mangea-là dates from 1937.

The stained glass window of Sieur Martel

As for the legend of William, you can discover it by admiring the stained glass window located in the Saint-Léonard chapel (south) of the Saint-Pierre church, which was also the seigneurial chapel of the Martels!

Follow me!

If you liked this story, I invite you to follow me on a future guided tour of Bacqueville-en-Caux, where this legend and many other stories will allow you to get to know the town and its rich heritage better!