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Rouen Cathedral ( ) is a Roman Catholic Gothic cathedral in Rouenmarker, in northwestern Francemarker. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Rouen and Normandy.


(See Claude Monet Rouen Cathedral for his paintings of the Cathedral.)

Gothic except the romanesque crypt:
  • Early gothic: Saint Romain's tower (12th century), side porches of the front, a part of the nave.
  • High gothic: mainworks: nave, transept, choir, first floor of the lantern tower (13th century), side chapels, lady's chapel, side doorways (14th century)
  • Late gothic (flamboyant): last storey of Saint Romain's tower (15th century), butter tower, main porch of the front, two storeys of the lantern tower (16th century).

The Butter Tower was erected in the early 16th century. Butter was banned during Lent and those who did not wish to forgo this indulgence would donate monies of six deniers Tournois from each diocesan for this permission.

Rouen Cathedral was the tallest building (the lantern tower with the cast iron spire of the 19th century) in the world (151 m) from 1876 to 1880.



Some windows are still decorated with stained glass of the 13th century, famous because of a special cobalt blue colour, known as "the blue from Chartresmarker".

It contains a tomb of Richard the Lionheart which contains his heart. His bowels were buried within the church of the Chateau of Châlus-Chabrol in the Limousin. It was from the walls of the Chateau of Châlus-Chabrol that the crossbow bolt was fired, which led to his death once the wound became septic. His corporeal remains were buried next to his father at Fontevraud Abbeymarker near Chinonmarker and Saumurmarker, Francemarker. Richard's effigy is on top of the tomb, and his name is inscribed in Latin on the side.

The Cathedral also contains the tomb of Rollo (Hròlfr or Robert ), one of Richard's ancestors, the founder and first ruler of the Viking principality in what soon became known as Normandy.

The cathedral contained the black marble tomb of John Plantagenet or John Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, who is considered to be Joan of Arc's murderer. He became a canon priest of the cathedral after her death. His original tomb was destroyed by the calvinists in the 16th century but there remains a commemorative plaque .


Renaissance stained-glass, south transept
The Calvinists damaged much of the furniture, tombs, stained-glass windows and statuary during the wars of religion in the 16th century.

The French State nationalized the building in the 18th century and sold some of its furniture and statues to make money. The chapel fences were melted down to make guns.

In the second world war, the cathedral was bombed in April 1944, taking 7 bombs. The bombs narrowly missed destroying a key pillar of the lantern tower, but damaged much the south aisle and destroyed two rose windows. One of the bombs did not explode. A second bombing before the D-day landings in June 1944), burned the the oldest tower, north tower. During the fire the bells melted, leaving molten remains on the floor.

In 1999, during a violent wind storm, a copper-clad wooden turret, which weighed 26 tons, fell into the church and damaged the choir.

In Art

Entrance to Rouen Cathedral

  • Roy Lichtenstein also made his series of pictures representing the Cathedral's front.



See also

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