Judith De Bretange, wife of Richard the II.
A Benedictine Abbey was founded at Bernay in the beginning of the 11th century By Judith De Bretange, wife of Richard the II. Bernay was founded in 1025 on the lands which Richard II gave to his wife Judith of Brittany when they married. On her death the Duke recalled that she had dedicated her dower for the construction of the Abbey and he wished to continue her work, entrusting the new community directly to William of Dijon abbot of Fecamp, and his successors.
Constructed in stone, the abbey church included a nave, seven bays with aisles, a transept, a choir of two bays that culminated in a cul-de-sac four(vaulting formed by a semi cupola). Fragments from Gallo-Roman construction were used in the foundation. Despite modifications and attempts at deconstruction and reconstruction, this Abbey Church is one of the most interesting monuments of Romanesque architecture in Normandy.
The abbey-church, the nave of which is remarkable for its severe simplicity and unadorned elegance, is now used as a corn and linen market. In the abbey-building3 the sub prefect and the mayor reside, and the courts of justice are held. The other important buildings are the churches of Sainte-Croix and De-laCouture, the college and the hospital.