Village of Villemade
Historic site and monument , Town, village, neighbourhood at Villemade
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A little history...
The current village of Villemade succeeded, in 1144, a major Roman city, located on both banks of the Tarn: it was 1,300 meters long and half a kilometer of average width. The name of this city, destroyed in 407 by the Vandals, remained unknown; Roman ruins and the name of Ville-Vieille by which it is still designated, attest only the existence of this ancient city, whose location for a long time belonged to the Abbey of Saint Théodard.
The nipple on which is built the village bore, before the foundation of Villemade, the name of Ile, because in all appearances, it was bathed in the east by a large lake, while, on the side of the Tarn and Aveyron, the base of the nipple rubbed the swamps of these two rivers.
The village was created in 1144 by Alphonse Jourdain, near the castle, shortly after he founded the city of Montauban.He named it Ville-Aimee or Isle-Amade (Villa-Amada, Isla-Amada) name which, before the end of the thirteenth century, had been transformed into Latin documents only in Ville-Moide (Villa-Madida), and which became finally Villemade.
The church, built in the 13th century, was dedicated to the martyred saints Fabien and Sébastien and became the capital of a priory whose revenues belonged to the cathedral chapter of Montauban.
During the wars of religion Villemade had much to suffer from the Reformers.
Louis XIII slept in the castle of this city on May 7, 1622, when he was going to besiege Negrepelisse.
Ruined by these wars, the church was rebuilt in the 15th century and restored in the 17th century in a rather mediocre way. It was finally completely rebuilt, except the bell tower, in 1864 in the Gothic Revival style.
The plan includes a five-sided choir and a nave with five short bays and two chapels.
The whole is covered with crosses of square warheads.
We can see in this church a painting on canvas that is a good copy of a San Sebastian of the Spanish school. This painting, representing a biblical scene, is an original work of Eugène Appert (1814-1867), student of Ingres. The work was commissioned to the artist in 1845, under the title "Christ descended from the cross".
Decorative paintings were executed in 1926 by Gaillard-Lala.
The front door is open on the west facade.
The bell tower, a little masked by the current construction, flanks the last bay on the left.
Above a fairly massive square base stands a beautiful two-storey octagonal tower, with a single bay on each side.
The spire was demolished in 1794; it has been replaced by a four-sided roof.
The bell tower is listed in the inventory of Historic Monuments.