Secret history of buildings - August 2018

A church in a Bourgogne village houses an intriguing clutch of empty stone coffins. Jane Hanks discovers their origins

The village of Quarré-les-Tombes in the Yonne in Bourgogne owes its name to the extraordinary number of Merovingian tombs, dating from the 7th or 8th century, which surround the Church of Saint-Georges.

It is thought that at one time there were over 1,000 of these ancient, plain, rectangular tombs, but now there are 117 elements, 66 lids and 46 bases. Over the years there have been several explanations for this phenomenon.

Catherine Robbé has lived all her life in the small village, ...

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