History of the chapel Saint-Noyale

History of the chapel Saint-Noyale

The Sainte-Noyale chapel is part of the Noyal-Pontivy district in the North of Morbihan (click to see the map), district of 3185 inhabitants included in Pontivy area.

The chapel

The chapel Saint-Noyale, the oratory and the calvary

As far back as the 5th century the village named "Noala" appears. This name would come from a gallic word, meaning the "Newly cleared Land". This parish was the largest of fifty parishes of the Vannes diocese as earlier as the 11th century and was included in the lord "de Rohan" domain. The village, you discobver to-day, dates of the 15th century. Before that, it was standing very near the Sainte-Noyale chapel few kilometers further. But it seems that the small valley dampness would have pushed away the inhabitants to settle on a hill.

The parish wealth would come of the three fairs created by the landlord de Rohan family. The well-named fair "Noyale" started on July the 6th, Saint day of the Saint herself, and could last three weeks. It was a very big market for clothes, threads and skins.

The Sainte-Noyale Chapel was rebuilt in its bigger part in the 15th century when the village move few kilometers further on.


It was rebuilt in a latine cross shape, with a long nave crossed by a narrow transept ending to a short square chevet. They started th erebuilding by the steeple basis. We do know that the south porche was built in 1423, because of the date written on its inside.

It is about this time that the oratory and the wayside cross /calvary were built too (1420).


They had to wait about the 18th century toi straight up the odd steeple surrounded with its small pinacles. The other important doing of this century was the building of the sacristy against the chevet. A very large inscription along the south wall tells us the date (1719) as well as the names of its priest and its builders.

The inside chapel is adrorned with three reredos and panellings painted in between th e17th and the 18th centuries.

The last restauration works, dating from 1975, gave back a little more lightness to it.

A "pardon" which is a typical breton forgiving procession, takes place in June each last sunday in Sainte-Noyale. until 1909, this "pardon" took place fot the Saint John Baptist Saint day on June the 24th. On this day, a small statue of an angel holding a candle went down from the steeple to light up a bonfire.

Ange pyrophore

The angel with the candle of Sainte-Noyale

After the cermeony the priest used to bless the horses. In 1955, some cars were mix up to the procession to receive the priest blessing.

Today the chapel is beautifully lighted up to allow th evisitors to appreciate its richness.


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All pictures © Pierre Laurent Constantin
English translation : Françoise Sarot-Constantin