Tuesday 7 January 2003

Canapville Manor is a gem of Norman architecture stretching from the 13th to the 17th centuries

In the 11th century there was a vavasoury here (a feudal tenant of the Barony of Touques). Rogers, bishop of Lisieux, held the tenancy from Richard II, duke of Normandy. In the 13th century, a fortified castle was built here and this was the summer residence of the Bishops of Lisieux. So they were the lords of Canapville Manor during several centuries.
All that remains of this castle is the central part of the manor with the tower with it’s spiral staircase and three monumental fire places.

The manor was built around this central part, in the 15th century to become as it is today. The half timbered structure is typical of this region, the "Pays d’Auge". The manor hasn’t had any structural alterations during the last five centuries.
We know the names of the builders of the successive buildings but name of Jean du Fossey is worth mentioning. He bought the manor in 1450 for 300 pounds.

To the right is the cider press and above it, the apple loft.
Behind the grey door under the porch, is the cider cellar.
Above that is a bedroom with a monumental fire place.
To the left of the tower is the living room with a second monumental fireplace. This was the main room of the manor where the residents ate and passed most of their time and where the food was cooked.
Above this room is another bedroom with another fireplace.
The small manor, to the left, was built in the 15th century. It was the lodgings for the domestics. However, according to a letter of the times, the Du Fossey made it in to a living room of "good taste"...
Notice the bishops head carved between the two doors. We think it was a homage made to their predecessors the bishops of Lisieux , by the Fosseys.
The present owners are M.& Mme Saint-Loubert-Bie. They have owned the manor for nearly 20 years. And opened it up to visitors 15 years ago.
The Manor has been a listed as an Historical monument, protecting it’s walls and roof, since 1949.

Between the dormer windows and the roof are the "noues rondes". These are the internal rounded angle between the dormer window and the roof. This is a remarkable feat of craftsmanship carried out by the roofers just 15 years ago in the style of the period.

There is a traditional "Pays d’auge’ cider press. This one dates from the 17 century.
The beams that support the upper floor are enormous. They have to resist the weight of tons of apples stored up in the loft.

The apples were stored in the loft above in the autumn. In November at the latest the cider was made: The apples fell through these two trap doors in the middle of the crushing tower. They were spread round the trough by a farm worker.
The apples were then crushed by this stone mill pulled round by a horse.
At this stage we don’t have juice but just crushed apples.
The juice was extracted by the long jawed press on your left.
A layer of crushed apples was piled on the tray. A layer of straw (sometimes replaced by jute sacking) was placed on top then another layer of apple. This was continued up to the level of the beam.
This pin was was taken out then the screw was turned to bring down the beam which pressed the crushed apples like a giant nut cracker.
The juice ran down this spout and directly into the cellar where it was fed into barrels for the month long fermentation before turning into cider.

In the main room to the left of the tower is where the food was cooked, and where, in the middle ages, the meals were taken together.
The size of the fireplace is remarkable as is it’s form. The fireplace wasn’t added on to the wall as we do nowadays but built in as an integral part of the tower.
The beams are decorated with "fleurs de lys". These were originally red but have faded with time. We think that after the hundred years war the owner wanted to show his allegiance to France.

On display is a collection of Buddhist inspired statues. M. & Mme Saint -Loubert-Bie lived for some time in the far east and have placed their favourite objects in the manor.
A Khmer torso which is older than the oldest part of the manor. It dates from the 11th century where as the oldest part of the manor is 13th century.

The regency chest of draws and the Aubusson tapistry are middle 18th century, and the console is Louis XVI from the late 18th century.

JPEG - 37.8 kb
The small manor doors with Bishops head

On the separation between the two doors of the small manor is the bishops head. It was carved in the 16th C by the Du Fossey. It confirms the name of Bishops Manor.
Open the doors of the Little Manor :
The little manor connects with the Great manor by a door to the right. A classic dining room has been laid out with Louis XVI and Directory furniture. On the walls and furniture there is a collection of fine china, "Blue and White" much of which dates from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1643). They were collected by the actual owners.
To the left, a small living room with Louis XV furniture and porcelain by Imaris from Japan.

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