Soissons - Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes by Martin
The Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes was founded by Hughes Le Blanc for a community of Augustinian Canons in 1076. The Romanesque structures of the early years got replaced by buildings erected in Gothic style from the 13th century on. During the Hundred Year´s War, the abbey got heavily fortified. The town was looted and burned down by the troops of Charles VI of France (aka “Charles the Mad”) in 1415. About a century later the town suffered severely, when it was under siege of the armees during the Wars of Religion. Prussian troops conquered Soisson in 1814. The Franco-Prussian War (1870/71) creating a lot of damage, shell fire in WWI destroyed again most of the Soissons. The towers of the Abbey were not hit at that time. The abbey was already ruined earlier. After the French Revolution the nave of the church was used as a quarry. Other buildings of the former convent got converted into barracks. An explosion inside the ammunition dump in 1815 left the facade in the state seen (from east) today. To the left are the ruins of the cloister - and the undamaged refectory.