Founded by Saint Bernard in 1132, the Vaucelles Abbey was built on the Domaine de Ligescourt which belonged to the Seigneur Hugues d'Oisy, a Cambrai lord. To atone for his sins he gave Saint Bernard part of that estate. It was not made of the rich lands we know today but of woods and marshland. Thanks to the ceaseless work of the monks and to their examplary life of piety and monastic rigour, the newly-built abbey quickly became prosperous and influent. The first abbot of Vaucelles, Dom Rodulphe, managed the Abbey for 19 years, during which time he decided to build a permanent structure. He supervised the building of the Monks'Quarters, the only remaining building of this huge foundation, which is made of 4 rooms : the scriptorium, the auditorium, the chapterhouse and the sacred passage – the chapel was part of the church. After the fire which occurred in November 1917 during WWI, the building was made watertight thanks to a concrete slab. Unfortunately as time went by infiltrations became more and more numerous, so much so that at least 2 vaults needed total reconstruction in the scriptorium. Thankfully the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Lille took the appropriate measures and in 1973 a new roof was put in with the help of the war damages to protect the prestigious building. Thanks to the Vieilles Maisons Françaises, one of the 2 damaged vaults was completly rebuilt.

The library of the Abbey could be found in the Palace of the Abbot which is perpendicular to the Monks'Quarters and was built by Dom Ruffin, the one abbot before last in 1760. With judgment and perseverance that distinguished booklover, who had been appointed by Louis XV on July 22nd 1759 had managed to assemble more than 40,000 books and manuscripts sought after throughout Europe.


restoration of abbey