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Visiting Quai Henri-IV, Dieppe, France, and the former Oratorian College: sedate building, overlooking the port
Site with historic associations
Some history and features
Among the most historic and striking buildings in Quai-Henri IV is the former College of the Oratoriens , referring to a prominent, religious order, which, in time, sponsored many educational establishments in pre-Revolutionary France. It is useful to bear in mind, in the light of later, post-Revolutionary secularist controversies on the subject of religious teaching establishments, just how prevalent were such institutions in France, and how high a profile their clerical leaders exercised over many generations.
The College at Dieppe was one of the first in France for which the Oratrian Order was responsible. Its first structure dated from 1614. The College incorporates a chapel.
The existing Classical frontage of the building dates from after 1694, when rebuilding occurred after a serious fire. Another fire caused damage in 1941.
In 1525, on the site of the College of the Oratoriens , shipping magnate Jehan Ango built a wooden house, noted by contemporaries for its pleasing style, of which only the cellars remain. Ango also built a mansion at nearby Varengeville (see below).
Records show that the College's foundation occurred when Etienne Brice administered a grant comprising the sum of 600 livres . Teaching classes began in the year 1616.
Noted, former students of the Oratorian College at Dieppe included Richard Simon (1638-1712), religious scholar and controversialist.
A recent plan of refurbishment for the building involves turning the property into a retail complex.
The building often proved to be somewhat of a landmark for British visitors at a time when the Newhaven ferry formerly berthed alongside the Quai Henri-IV , opposite the former College building. Adjacent to the former College building is an edifice known as the former hôtel de la Vicomté , or la Coutume (1), itself with a striking frontage, which was formerly the seat of local, aristocratic rule. (It is worth noting also that in the Middle Ages the Archbishops of Rouen were locally also the temporal lords.)
(1) This name refers to the idea of sitting at the receipt of custom.
Also worth seeing
Varengeville (distance: 12 kilometres) has an historic house built by shipping magnate Jehan Ango (see above, in reference to the site of the Oratorien College).
How to get there: Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), from where car rental is available (distance from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to Dieppe : 214 kilometres). The French railroad company SNCF maintains a service between Paris (Gare Saint-Lazare ) and Dieppe. You are advised check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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