First things first though. Who was Pey Berland? Pey (Pierre, or Peter, in Gascon) was born in 1375 to a father who was a labourer from Avensan and a mother who was a peasant from Moulis. In spite of these humble roots, he was educated by a local notary before being sent to a clerical school in Bordeaux after the death of his father, then to university in Toulouse. Returning to Bordeaux, he became a priest in Bouliac to the south-east of the city around 1412. He went on to become secretary to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, travelling around France, Italy and England in this capacity, before Pope Martin V appointed him Archbishop of Bordeaux on August 13th 1430.
University of Bordeaux (in 1441), Saint-André hospital and a number of secondary schools.
Pey Berland’s reputation is that of an intelligent and wise man, who enjoyed immense powers but also remained modest and took great care of those in need, right up until his death in 1458. In the following years, this chapel was built at the exact spot where he was born in Saint-Raphaël:
The recently-restored chapel, included in the French national heritage inventory of sites and monuments, remains part of the parish of Saint-Pierre church in Avensan. The priest of Saint-Pierre continues to officiate at Saint-Raphaël for occasional christenings, weddings and funerals, and a ceremonial pilgrimage in memory of Pey Berland is held there every year in July.
|The chapel is rarely open to the public, but by peeking through a broken window this is the inside view.|
The chapel is immediately surrounded by thirty acres of peaceful woodland, as well as serving as a starting point for a number of gentle countryside walks, all of which offer an environment that feels light-years away from the square which bears Pey Berland's name in central Bordeaux…