Royaumont Abbey

Royaumont Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey, located near Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d'Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris.

 

From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women's Hospitals(SWH) and run by Dr Frances Ivens, under the direction of the French Red Cross. It was especially noted for its performance treating soldiers involved in the Battle of the Somme.

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Picture courtesy of Trip Advisor

History

A reflecting canal and a tree-lined avenue mark the entrance to Royaumont Abbey, a monument of timeless beauty nestled in a tranquil setting. Royaumont has led several lives, first as a Cistercian monastery, then successively as a royal abbey, a cotton mill, a novitiate, a military hospital, and a country home. It has never been left unoccupied.

Founded in 1228 by the young Louis IX (later Saint Louis) and his mother Blanche de Castille, the royal abbey was governed by the Cistercian order.

The abbey was declared “national property” in 1790 during the French revolution and only 10 monks remained.  It was sold in 1791 and converted into a modern textile mill. The church was destroyed and its stones used to build worker’s quarters. Around 1830, in addition to its industrial activity, Royaumont became a popular excursion destination for the Paris aristocracy and upper bourgeoisie. Following several conversions, the mill was closed in 1860.

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Photo courtesy of wikipedia

The abbey then reverted to its initial purpose, serving as a novitiate for the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux religious order, which undertook to restore it in neogothic style. In 1905, the Combes laws (separation of church and state) forced the novitiate to leave and Jules Goüin, Chairman of the Société de Construction des Batignolles, bought the former convent to use as a country home.

Then in 1915 the abbey became Auxiliary Hospital 301.

First World War - The Scottish Women's Hospital