The church of Saint Jacques d’Abbeville in more danger than ever

Victor Delefortie
Church Saint Jacques
The 7/5/10
Photo : Didier Rykner

12/10/10 – Heritage – Abbeville, church Saint Jacques – Except for the local press, we were the first to talk about the church of Saint Jacques in Abbeville and the very serious threats to its existence (see article). At the time, early last summer, the hope was that the situation would improve. Indeed, according to the Collectif Saint-Jacques, an association for the protection of the church, the mayor had announced “that the property would be protected this winter” to allow for thought on its future without rushing to destroy it [1]. This was in fact not true. Nothing has been done to protect it from the elements, particularly the hole in the roof. In fact, it seems that city hall prefers to let it deteriorate and then present its destruction as a fait accompli. Rumors were flying that a demolition was planned for 6 October, although it never took place. When we called city hall they said that a decision has not yet been made. We have our doubts.

Le Figaro wrote an article last 5 October expressing the concern of many of the inhabitants of Abbeville. In it, Yves Lescroart, secretary general of cultural heritage at the Ministry of Culture and heritage curator, stated : “Saint Jacques has beautiful lines […] and presents a certain architectural interest. Still, it does not deserve to accede to the status of historical monument.” However, he told us that he was not quoted correctly as he really meant to say that “the church of St Jacques in Abbeville has a certain architectural interest but this does not allow it to accede automatically to the status of historical monument.” He added that : “it may only receive this status one day after consultation of one or more specialized commissions, at the regional, even national, level” and that “even if the church is not listed, the building should not be destroyed”. Finally, he says that : “heritage holdings are not limited to those listed only as historical monuments … And the Ministry of Culture provided a budget allowance for almost twenty-five years devoted to Patrimoine Rural Non Protégé (PRNP-Non protected rural heritage), which has contributed major funding for the restoration of several thousand churches. This budget allowance was then transferred to local Départements in 2005 if I remember correctly.”

The church’s architectural importance can easily be seen from the photographs, one of the rare monuments left standing in the city after surviving both world wars. There is no doubt that the building deserves to be listed as a historical monument and not be victimized by municipal vandalism. If the church does end up being destroyed, we hope everyone will remember the mayor’s name : Nicolas Dumont.

Didier Rykner, mardi 12 octobre 2010


[1] See the wabsite Patrimoine en blog.

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