Amiens, Bibl. mun., MS 563, 226 ro-229ro

On the 14th day of the month of March, 1497, on the orders of my lords, the dean and chapter of the church of Notre-Dame of Amiens, a visitation was made to the said church by master Colart de Haudrechies, master Pierre Tarissel and master Pierre Blanregnier, in the presence of my lord the dean of the said church, my lord Vualequin, Master Pierre Dumas and several others of the said chapter. Through this visitation the following things were found. First, the four principal pillars of the crossing of the said church on one side and the other are bent and bowed through the thrust of the first [ie. aisle] vaults, and even the bays of walls contiguous with the said pillars are broken and gaping because of the said thrust, and similarly the said bays of the walls are broken on the side towards the great portals of the nave, and in the said transept of the church at a similar height. For this reason it seems to the people named above that it is necessary for the welfare and security of the said church, so that the masonry cannot open up or deteriorate further than it is at present, that the said pillars should be tied [lit, anchored] at the height of the pavement of the passageway of the covered passages [ie. the triforium] of the said church, and that the said ties should be of Spanish iron of a good thickness, and stretched, in such a way that they can resist and hold together without allowing the said masonry to stretch, and for this it is necessary to pierce the said pillars with holes to place the said ties everywhere appropriate.

Item, because the ties will be extremely expensive to make entirely of iron, the said artisans are of the opinion that the said ties could be made of separate pieces of cut oak, [provided] that the pieces of wood are soaked for a period of three months so that the pieces will be protected against worms, vermin and cracking, and that the said pieces can be taken and raised and placed and set inside the covered passages on top of the pavement. And to connect each piece of the said wood, iron plates will be well screwed down on each side, which plates would be pegged with ties and pierced clamps as the work demands.

Item, to reinforce the said ties and to hold them straight, it will be necessary to peg the said ties with square iron pegs driven into the pavement of the said passages six or eight paux deep, and the said pegs should be set in lead.

De Hauctrechies

The 25 day of March in the said year 1497, my lord the dean, master Matheu Vualequin, cellarer, Master Pierre Dumas, master of the fabric of the said church, and Master Robert de Cocquerel, canon of the said church, Richard de Saint Fuscien, royal provost in the city of Amiens, Jehan le Caron, alderman from Abbeville and receiver of taxes for our lord the king in the said town of Amiens, Jehan de Sesseval, lord of Pissy, Robert de Barly, Pierre de Barly, Jehan le Riche, Nicolas de Sesseval, all aldermen of the said town, Pierre Tarissel, mason, Pierre Blancregnier, Jehan le Messier and Jehan le Carton, carpenter, Colart Georges, smith, Goffrin Foursel, locksmith, all assembled in the choir of the said church, each of them questioned twice by my lord the dean, having seen and considered the cracks in the four principal pillars and in the walls contiguous to the pillars that support the crossing of the said church, were of the opinion for the benefit and maintenance of the entire church, that the said four pillars should be tied with good Spanish iron (no other iron, nor wood) that is to say [the ties should extend] from each of the said pillars to the outside of the church on all sides of the said four pillars. For this reason my said lord the dean, required to write to the royal auditors, and afterwards to sign in order to validate the reason why the letters have been granted in ...... [sic]
Signed by De Coquerel, M. Ducloy

Chapter deliberations, 16 March, 1497
Item, in the same chapter was heard the account of the visitation made by master Colardus de Hautrechies of the church of Amiens concerning the ties to be placed in the four principal pillars of the same chuch. My lords ordered and concluded that everything should be done according to the advice of Master Colardus together with my lord Matheus Vuallequin cellarer of the church of Amiens, to execute or to have executed the said work by the artisans and carpenters with the timber and other necessary things from the forests of my lords.

Chapter deliberations, 28 April, 1503
Item, in the same [record of the deliberations of the] chapter, on the back side of the page, a description of a hearing of the record of a visitation of the church of Amiens, the contents of which follow:

Visitation made on April 26, 1503 to the church of Notre-Dame of Amiens on the orders of my lords the dean and chapter of the said church by the master artisans of the said church, that is, master Pierre Tarissel, master mason of the said church, Jehan le Pruvost, master mason of the church of Corbie, Nicolas LesveilliŽ, master mason of the work of Saint Riquier, Pierre Blancqregnier, Jehan le Messier and Jehan Carton, carpenters, present for this and deputised by my said lords and masters Jehan Dumas, Jehan Fabus and Robert de Coquerel, canons.

And firstly, the said masters and artisans say that it is appropriate and necessary to repair the two pillars in the choir on the left side of the said church next to the pillar that has been repaired beside these two pillars. That is, the transverse arches and ribs inside the said choir for the support of the vaults, and outside it is necessary to make against each of these two pillars a flying buttress of the same fashion and form as as been done for the said pillar that has been repaired, and for this it is necessary to raise up and install the great crane in order to repair the said pillars, and for the support of the said vaults.

Item, it is necessary to repair the capitals in several places for the window tracery around these same pillars. Item, the artisans say that it is necessary to demolish certain tops of the pinnacles or spines of the pillars of the openwork [of the flyers], together with certain columns placed on the exterior of the towers of the said church and in several other places above the said church in order to avoid the problems that could occur if the said columns or spines buckle or collapse.

Item, it is necessary to repair a corner of a pillar of the flying buttress over the chapel of Saint James, and also to repair and tie together two cracks in the transept of the said church close to the great rose window above the cloister of Saint Nicolas.

My lords of the chapter, in the absence of the dean, concluded and ordained all and each of the repair jobs specified above should be done as quickly as possible, and in the meanwhile the lords have ordered for this reason a stop and abstinence from the ringing of the great bells. 12 April 1503.

To visit the church of Amiens and the ruin existing in two of the pillars of the choir on the left side, my lords commissioned the master of the fabric of the same church, lord Matheus Vualequin, Robertus de Cocquerel, Petrus Dumas, canon, in the presence of my lord the dean, also summoned and present [were] master Petrus Tarisel, Petrus Blancregnier, Philippa, Johannus le Messier, carpenters, because of the ruin that had happened or might happen in several parts of the church because of too much pealing of the bells of the said church, thereupon the afore-mentioned lords wishing in this way to preserve the church in its structure or edifice as far as possible, ordered that henceforth the bell will not be struck at each hour nor at each quarter hour or less.
September 1994