L'abbaye de Bevaix. Photo/Foto: TES.

Abbey of Bevaix

The Abbey of Cluny is never far away in Switzerland: behind the walls of a large farm in Bevaix (canton of Neuchâtel), for example, lies a thousand-year-old history of an abbey.

At an altitude of almost 500 metres and surrounded by vineyards lies a large agricultural complex, which was an abbey until the Reformation in 1531.

In 998, Rodolphe III (966-70-1032), the last king of the kingdom of Burgundy, gave Cluny a small church and ten farms and forty serfs with their families. 

Around 1120, the priory of Saint-Pierre was subordinated to the priory of Romainmôtier, also an abbey of Cluny. The Romanesque church was built at the end of the 12th century.

In the 15th century, however, monastic life in Bevaix no longer met expectations. In 1427, for example, visitors of the Order of Cluny were surprised when they met the prior, Jacques de Giez, surrounded by his wife and four children.

The priory complex at Bevaix was dismantled in the 17th century. The church was replaced by the current farm. 

Some parts of the walls of the original buildings have been preserved. 

The village built a Protestant church (Le Temple) in the centre in 1604. They used materials of the old church. 

A Protestant temple contains many catholic symbols: the roman frieze, the key with a lamb of God, the choir and the tabernacle. (Source: Chr. Voros, Sites clunisiens en Europe, Cluny, 2013).