Deols - Encyclopedia

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DEOLS, a suburb of the French town of Chateauroux, in the department of Indre. Pop. (1906) 2337. Deols lies to the north of Chateauroux, from which it is separated by the Indre. It preserves a fine Romanesque tower and other remains of the church of a famous Benedictine abbey, the most important in Berry, founded in 917 by Ebbes the Noble, lord of Deols. A gateway flanked by towers survives from the old ramparts of the town. The parish church of St Stephen (15th and 16th centuries) has a Romanesque façade and a crypt containing the ancient Christian tomb of St Ludre and his father St Leocade, who according to tradition were lords of the town in the 4th century. There are also interesting old paintings of the 16th century representing the ancient abbey. The pilgrimage to the tomb of St Ludre gave importance to Deols, which under the name of Vicus Dolensis was in existence in the Roman period. In 468 the Visigoths defeated the Gauls there, the victory carrying with it the supremacy over the district of Berry. In the middle ages the head of the family of Deols enjoyed the title of prince and held sway over nearly all Lower Berry, of which the town itself was the capital. In the 10th century Raoul of Deols gave his castle to the monks of the abbey and transferred his residence to Chateauroux. For centuries this change did not affect the prosperity of the place, which was maintained by the prestige of its abbey. But the burning of the abbey church by the Protestants during the religious wars and in 1622 the suppression of the abbey by the agency of Henry II., prince of Conde and of Deols, owing to the corruption of the monks, led to its decadence.

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