Local History

Montcherand, St. Etienne. Photo/Foto: TES

The Mural of Montcherand

The first centuries of the church of Montcherand are poorly documented. The church of Montcherand was probably founded in the eleventh century on the initiative of a local dignitary and then donated to the monastery of Baulmes. The Romanesque church still consists of a single nave and a choir in the semi-circular apse, although many renovations have taken place since then.

The written history, therefore, begins at the monastery of Baulmes, 8 kilometres from Montcherand. The monastery has disappeared, but written documents confirm its foundation in the 7th century and subordination to the abbey of Cluny before 1123. From 1356, the clergymen of Payerne and Baulmes were led by the same prior, who was also Lord of Montcherand.

The wall paintings in this church were repainted after the introduction of the Reformation in 1536. A photograph taken shortly after their discovery in 1902 shows the original fragments. The upper part shows Christ on his throne. The feet, the clothing, a throne and a mandorla are still visible, as is the winged ox holding a book, a symbol of the evangelist Luke.

The other three symbols of the other three evangelists have disappeared. The twelve apostles occupy the lower register with Christ in their midst. A frieze separates the two parts of the decoration with decorations.

The current state is the result of several restorations and faithfully reproduces the original from probably the second half of the eleventh century or the first half of the twelfth century. In 1902 the church reached a turning point in its history with the discovery of the Romanesque murals. The church became a national monument. (Source and further information: K. Queijo, L’église Saint-Etienne de Montcherand, Montcherand, 2018).