The Church of the Holy Grail lies on the edge of the forest of Brocéliande in Brittany, in an area reputed for witchcraft, next to Morgaine-Le-Fey’s Valley of No Return.
The Church of the Holy Grail
This small church at Tréhorenteuc was built in the 17th century and was originally dedicated to St. Onenne. It was subsequently restored, dedicated to the Holy Grail, and redecorated accordingly. It depicts many scenes from the Arthurian romances, including King Arthur and his Knights with the Holy Grail appearing to them. The churchyard is a focus for Wickery and there are even rumors of black magic still being practiced – not surprising perhaps in an area steeped in magic and mystery, the haunt of the Lady of the Lake and King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine-Le-Fey.
The Church of the Holy Grail redecorated with Arthurian scenes
Gillard, the local Abbot, was responsible for the church’s redecoration early in the 20th century. He died in 1979 and is buried in the church. The church’s original patron saint, Saint Onenne, the sister of 7th century Breton King Judicael, is shown as a child in one tableau but otherwise, the decoration of the church depicts scenes relating to the Arthurian romances.
The Fountain of Barenton mural
The large fresco on the west side of the nave depicts the Fountain of Barenton, where legend has it that Merlin first met Viviane, the Lady of the Lake. A white deer, symbolizing the Forest of Brocéliande, is shown with a halo and wearing a cross. It stands above a crescent-shaped pool with a red slab, “Merlin’s Rock”, the step to the fountain. It is said that water from the fountain sprinkled on this slab causes supernatural phenomena or a heavy rainstorm to occur.
Having located his church firmly in Brocéliande, the abbot then decorated his church windows with scenes from the Grail legend.
Grail images in the stained glass windows
The stained glass window at the rear of the chancel shows Joseph of Arimathea kneeling in front of Christ to receive the Grail, which is shown beside Christ’s head, with a banner stating “the chalice of my blood”. The right-hand window shows King Arthur and his Knights seated at the “Round Table” being shown the Holy Grail. The left-hand window shows the Last Supper with the Grail on the table in front of Christ.
The churchyard, a Wicca center
The churchyard between the Church of the Holy Grail and the local tourist center is planted with trees and has become a focus for Wicca, white witchcraft. The trees are decorated with pieces of paper bearing prayers and messages. Legends of the darker side of witchcraft can be found just down the road in the Valley of No Return of Morgaine-le-Fey, King Arthur’s sister and there are still rumors of black magic being practiced in the surrounding area.
How to get to the Church of the Holy Grail in Tréhorenteuc
Tréhorenteuc lies on the D141 between Concoret (the site of Comper Castle, legendary, home of the Lady of the Lake) and the large town of Ploërmel. The Church of the Holy Grail (also still known under its original name the Church of Saint Onenne ) is adjacent to the local Tourist Office.