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A wider view of the church of Saint Etienne at Baignes.

The church is all that remains of the Abbey of Saint Etienne, which was founded in the 11th century. Founded as a Benedictine establishment, it is first mentioned in historical records in a charter dated 14 February 1083. At first thriving, thanks to donations from the lords and Barbezieux Montausier, it suffered from the British invasions during the One Hundred Years War. It suffered further during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century after which it had only non-resident abbots. The Revolution in 1789 saw the dismantling of all the abbey buildings except the church, which became the parish church for Baignes.

The small town of Baignes in Charente forms part of the the commune of Baignes-Sainte-Radegonde. The commune was formed in 1865 from the merger of Baignes with the now much smaller village of Sainte-Radegonde. At the time of the merger the existing commune of Sainte-Radegonde was much bigger than that of Baignes.

The area has a long history dating back until at least Roman times when there was a settlement known as Cathmeriacum. It lay on the Roman road that linked Saintes to Bordeaux.

Quite an extensive article about the geography and history of Baignes-Sainte-Radegonde can be found on the French wikipedea site here:. It is written, of course, in French.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5904 W: 61 N: 17001] (76436)
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