Salt_en_Donzy_1In between Forez, Lyonnais and Roannais, the Morning Mountains are nested in a framework of small valleys and hills, nearby of the Lyonnais Mounts and the river  Loire

Salt_en_Donzy_35Salt-in-Donzy, nested in these mountains, has an antic and rich past. Men left there marks of all the times: from Gallo-roman period, where an activity develop itself nearby the thermal baths to the medieval time  with the site of Donzy, the church of Roman style, priory…

Salt_en_Donzy_34But also far before, attested by the discovery  of the prehistoric site of the valley of Charpassonne. Salt, whom name means “which spouts out”, allusion to the source of hot water of the Gour-Heat, was an important city at the crossing of two Roman roadways.

Salt_en_Donzy_38The church was, with its foundation, the church of the benedictan priory whose building equipped with a tower remains, not far from the road. This building whose foundations are Gallo-Roman, was given in 1018 in a state of outdatedness to the abbey of Savigny to become priory at the same time as a church close under the term to  Saint Julien. The givers were two lords of Donzy, Girlin and Jarenton, whose castle still offers to us imposing ruins, about two km from here.

Salt_en_Donzy_33Recent excavations restored the foundations of this primitive church of 1018. It had three absidioles in the north visible on the northern side of the current church. Its basement comprised many burials of the Early middle ages with their funerary rites (ablation of the feet, reduction of skeleton). Fragments of engraved bones and a burgonde currency accompanied them, as well as potteries.

Salt_en_Donzy_13This pre-Roman church was demolished at the beginning of XIIth century, and its materials reinstated in the new construction industry, with the use of the monks and the parish which developed around the priory.

Salt_en_Donzy_24The current church, 1140, is roman, meridionnal influence, in an austere unit. 

Salt_en_Donzy_22The pilot wheels of the transept are decorated with blind arcades of which one, equipped with a barrel of column having probably supported a furnace bridge, ended in a painted absidiole. Cupola in blocking on rudimentary horns and  squared pillars supported the bell-tower.

Salt_en_Donzy_14The chorus presents openings in semicircular arch: the small window of left gives primitive dimension, the other openings having been widened later.
With transept crossing, the bell-tower rests on four enormous granite pillars. Each pillar comprises 3 steps in order to give more lightness to the unit. Two of these pillars are crowned with very simple capitals: they are the only sculptures of the building.

Salt_en_Donzy_29On the meridionnal side , in the right arm of the transept, the blank wall is supported by two arcades in semicircular arch. Between the two, a fragment of column, vestige of the Roman temple on the ruins of which the priory of Salt was high.

Salt_en_Donzy_11The church suffered during the wars of religion. In 1570, a fire destroyed the nave. The church was then reduced to its only transept. Work of restoration was undertaken after 1614. The restoration of 1977 made it possible to restore the church in its primitive provision and made fall the coatings. One rediscovered the blind arcades of the southern brace then, the door of the bell-tower, the door of the brace northern, known as “door of the monks”.

Salt_en_Donzy_16In the apse, a cavity forming “depositorium” was released and formed the current gate vault. The depositorium was in the beginning an inviolable place, firmly closed, where one placed the holy species during the disturbed periods.

Salt_en_Donzy_4The stoup, at the entry, also testifies to the church of 1018. In the right arm of the transept, on the ground, an enigmatic star is traced…