« After the new beginning in the eleventh century, St. Yrieix was confronted by a
perilous conflict with the neighboring monastery of Solignac in the mid-twelfth century.64
In 1147 the archbishop of Bourges issued an order to St. Yrieix to make amends to the
abbot of Solignac for the violent robbery of the church at Ayen (which belonged to
After more exchanges between Solignac, St. Yrieix, and the archbishop, the
bishop of Limoges ordered St. Yrieix to return the church at Ayen to Solignac under pain
of ex-communication. St. Yrieix apparently failed to comply, for the bishop informed the
Limousin clergy by letter of the excommunication of the dean of St. Yrieix.66
was reinforced by the archbishop of Bourges at the request of the abbot of Solignac, who
alleged that fresh attacks on Ayen by St. Yrieix had the secret approval of the bishop of
Limoges. The acrimony between St. Yrieix and Solignac was resolved by the end of
1147 when the prior of St. Yrieix apologized, returned Ayen, and the excommunication
order was rescinded.
Twenty-seven years later, in 1174, the viscount of Limoges moved to install
Bernard of Limoges, an influential member of his family, as dean of the chapter of
canons of St. Yrieix. Previously, Bernard had acted as co-regent of Limoges and tutor to
Viscount Aymar V in his minority.68
When Henry II of England (also Duke of
Normandy, Aquitaine, and Anjou) laid siege to Limoges in 1177, Bernard, Dean of St.
Yrieix, advised Henry in the successful prosecution of the siege, gaining prestige for
64 A. Leroux, “Chronologie de l’histoire de Saint-Yrieix-La-Perche,” Bulletin de la société
archéologique et historique du Limousin 40 no.2 (1892-93) : 629-643. Note that all the participants in
this conflict were directly under the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Bourges.
Leroux, ibid.: 629-630.
Leroux, ibid. These events were recorded in the instrumenta of the Archbishop of Bourges;
documentation from the St. Yrieix side in the confrontation has not been preserved.
From the papers of Bosvieux reviewed by Leroux in BSAHL; Auguste Bosvieux, “Origines du
Monasteres de Saint-Yrieix “ BSAHL 40 no.2 (1892-93) : 610-21 .
himself and St. Yrieix.69 Afterward, Henry visited St. Yrieix in 1180 and subscribed to
the immunities offered St. Yrieix in the foundation charter. In succeeding years Richard I
(Lion Heart) assumed the Duchy of Aquitaine and also visited St. Yrieix during his
campaigns. Meanwhile, Dean Bernard of St. Yrieix fell from grace when he backed a
candidate for abbot of St. Martial of Limoges against Henry II. Bernard was
subsequently sent to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage from which he did not return.70
The completed church of St. Yrieix (Figure 2-3) featured the new gothic style of
the twelfth century. In the thirteenth century the chapter also acquired a jeweled reliquary
head of St. Aredius (Figure 2-4) and a large ceremonial Bible (Figure 2-5). Subsequent
deans of the chapter occupied positions of increasing prestige in the diocese, including
the responsibility to carry the staff of the bishop in certain ceremonies.
With the vicecomital family of Aymar V installed at St. Yrieix, a castellany was
formed by the viscount with St. Yrieix as the administrative center.71
authorized a vicecomital jurisdictional court in the region around St. Yrieix. It
functioned within the equivalence of secular and church administrative power that was
customary in the Limousin, and it was administered by a Church establishment within his
family that the viscount could trust. The castellany included six parishes: Moutier-SaintYrieix,
Glandon, La Nouaille, La Rochette, Sanlande, and La Meyze, all in the environs
of St. Yrieix.72 »