Abbé Fouré (1839-1910),  pictured carving with  Rothéneuf and his family in the background.


  Abbé Fouré (1839-1910),

On scanning my mother's (Joan Hudleston Hyde) B&W 6x7cm negatives I was intrigued by some taken of Abbé Fouré's rock carvings at Saint-Malo. There are not many but I decided to incorporate them in a web page.

The reason being that the old post cards, taken when he was alive, are somewhat dilapidated and the erosion by sand borne in the wind and waves over the last 120 years results in present day photos lacking much of the original details.

Resulting from the divorce of my mothers parents, she used to spend a lot of time with the Pease family - Gerald Pease's wife Winifred was a sister of her father Frank Hudleston.

The Pease family would sometimes holiday in France and about 1925 they stayed in Saint-Malo.

Joseph Gerald Pease, C.B.E., a barrister, was "The Umpire, under the Unemployment Insurance Acts and Reader in Common Law to the Council of Legal Education."

Joseph Pease wrote many legal text for students including one on "The law of torts" in 2012 with co-authors Sir Arthur Underhill and W J. Tremeear.

On looking at references to Sir Arthur Underhill I find that he had a daughter named Evelyn Underhill - an English Mystic - I now understand why some of Evelyn's books were in the bookcase at our home in Kerikeri, N.Z.

Mother would have probably met Evelyn Underhill at the Pease household and/or at her aunt's household. Her aunt Purefoy was married to Arthur Machen, a writer of the supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction.

Given the family background it is easy to understand their interest in Les Rochers Sculptés.

The Pease Family
The Tomb of Saint Budoc - Rotheneuf
Rock scuptures at Rotheneuf

The carved rocks - "rochers sculptés", at Rothéneuf, are located about 5km East of St-Malo on the Côte d'Emeraude.

They were created by Adolphe-Julien Fouré (1839-1910), who was a priest and is generally known as Abbé Fouré, using a chisel and hammer. He was also called “the hermit of Rothéneuf.”

In October 1893, in his fifties, he settled in the small community of Rothéneuf, on the north coast of Brittany, not far from St Malo, where he rented a simple cabin.

The legend says that he, after a stroke which made him deaf-mute, no longer could fulfill his clerical duties and so decided to retire as a priest.

Recent research by the Association of friends however demonstrates that Fouré was relieved from his duties by his superiors and had to leave after they did not appreciate a firm position the priest had taken in a local conflict.

In 1894 Fouré began making sculptures, both creations from stone, displayed on the exterior facade of the cabin and wooden creations, displayed in its courtyard and interior.

Abbé Fouré carved the legend of the Rotheneuf who were a local family of fisherman in the 16th/17th centuries. They became pirates of the Emerald coast. About 300 carved rocks cover a 550 m2 area.

As boat builders they were skilled and innovative and built a fleet called Les Flèches des Eaux (Water Arrows). It was said that no privateer boat in St-Malo could match their speed.

The Rotheneuf maintained their domination until the French Revolution when old feuds and jealousies began to surface. Others saw an opportunity to get rich.

Rotheneuf and some of his men joined the royalists. In the final stage his enemies and revolutionaries butchered all those associated with Rotheneuf as they tried to escape.

According to legend a huge storm broke out during the fight and the waves carried the dead on to the beach of La Haie, just below the rocks. Hideous sea monsters with sharp teeth came out of the sea and and devoured the corpses.

Thus disappeared the last of the Rotheneuf along with the coat of arms of his family.

Reference: Rotheneuf carved rocks - Emerald Coast Brittany

Reference: Outsider Environments Europe

“In the last ten years, I have become hard of hearing in order to isolate myself from the world. One day I became totally deaf; I was told that times had changed. I have retired here. I help out on Sundays at the parish, an old curator of a young priest. But this is not enough activity, and I have to keep myself busy."

"So I thought of going to the edge of the cliffs to talk to the ocean, my old friend. I cannot hear others anymore but I can hear the waves. And I begun to sculpt the stone on a daily basis.”

(Louis De la Noé, “L’Ermite de Haute-Folie”, L’Eclair, Paris, August 28th, 1905.)

Toileteers at La Havre?
Rotheneuf - Cafe, Restaurant
Rotheneuf family
Monica Pease and Joan Hudleston - circa 1925

Joseph Gerald Pease
Abbe Foure at his house in Rotheneuf
Purefoy Pease and Sculptures
Viva La Joie
Tidal Port and Great Gates Saint_Malo
Purefoy and a sea calf
Lucifer looking defiantly at the waves
Sea monster devouring the last of the Rotheneufs
Le Moulin du Lupin
Val de Saint-Malo beach, 1925
Rotheneuf - Tram at  Le Val - circa 1900
Moonlight at St-Malo Basin