The legend of saint Noyale

The Sainte Noyale story was painted on the panellings of the nave chapel and as well on those of the oratory.

Noyale and her father

Noyale was the daughter of a cambrian king (North west of England ) and would have lived in the 6 th century. She wanted to devote her life to God but her father wanted to marry her. As she could not change her father mind, she decided to leave her country and to become an hermit.


Here she is showned discussing with her father, the last one wearing on a crown on his head and seated on a throne.

At about 20 years old, she left England to come across to Brittany with her faithful maid.They went across the Channel on a very odd boat: a tree branch. When they arrived at the entrance of the " Blavet " river, they went up along to look for a retreat.

On this pannelling , we can notice the Saint and her maid on a beautiful branch with green leaves ,surfing on the waves of "Mor Breizh" (meaning The Channel in breton. ).

Across the Channel

Noyale is beheaded

Not far from Bignan, near the village named Bezo, a tyrannic local chief, named Nizan, fell in love with her and decided to marry her. But as she was more than ever decided to devote her life to God, she gave him a straight refusal. Nizan out of his wit with anger made her beheaded at once.

Sainte Noyale, dressed in a white dress to show her purity, is kneeling down. Behind her a soldier put up his sword to behead her. At his back, Nizan wearing his breastplate and his plumed helmet point out the victim with a commander stick or a kind of sceptre. A women, at the back of the picture is looking at the execution, maybe Sainte Noyale's maid.

It is at this moment that the miracle happened. Noyale took her head in her hand and went on searching a place to rest. With her maid at her side, she get to Hemborth where she heard a woman blasphemed. So she decided to go on seaking a quieter place.

On this panelling , we can see Noyale always dressed in white, her head between her hands, who follows her maid opening the road to her with a big stick.

The wandering of Noyale

The three fountains

At the Noyal village,they witnessed a quarrel and decided to pass on. Few kilometers farther, they rested for a while . Three drops of blood fell off the cutted head and then three springs sputed out at the spotted place. Sainte Noyale planted her stick in the earth and it became an hawthorn bush while her maid distaff was change into a beech tree.

On the panelling, we can see in the middle of this pastoral scenery the maid laying down .Noyale is kneeling seeming to look at her beheaded neck. Behind her, the springs, three little blue ponds can be seen disposed like three spots.

After having praid and slept the two women started again and stopped finally few kilometers farther. Sainte Noyale decided that it was there ,in this quiet valley, that she was going to rest. She lay down and die peacefully.

On the panelling, the Sainte is lying among the grass, her head put on the earth. Her eyes are closed.She looks like an antique statue. Her maid is kneeling in front of her, hands joined, as praying .

The death of Noyale

It is at this very place where the Saint died that the chapel dedicaded to this young girl come from England would have been built up.

Sainte Noyale


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