This image is courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University and may be freely used for non-commercial purposes. Please give attribution to L. Tom Perry Special Collections, MSS P 72, Brigham Young University.
RUINS OF LONGPONT VILLAGE AND ABBEY
The graceful, ivy-clad ruin of Longpont Abbey Church was an object of pilgrimage to admirers of mediaeval architecture for many decades before the World War. We see it here more severely damaged by shell fire than by the ravages of time, but still erect, towering above the debris of Longpont village and with the trees of the Villers-Cotterets (ve´lar´-ko´te-re) Forest in the background.
The Abbey Church of Longpont was founded by a Count of Crespy in 1131. For centuries until the time of the French revolution, it was the center of a powerful religious house of the Cistercian Order. After the Revolution it fell into disuse and decay, remaining, however, a lovely relic of the past. But, like so many of the beautiful old churches and castles of northern France, it suffered terribly during the German invasion. Longpoint was captured on May 28, 1918, by the 28th Reserve Division of General Von Boehn’s army. But the French fought fiercely and recaptured it two days later. On June 3, the Germans made a determined effort to gain the Villers-Cotterets Forest and succeeded in retaking Longpont and other villages at its edge, but gained no foothold in the forest. They were finally driven from Longpont on July 13th. Five days afterward, before the great counter-offensive they fell back rapidly from this whole region, the dashing attack of the second American Division being delivered only about a mile north of Longpont. A storm center in such terrible backward and forward fighting, the almost total destruction of the once charming village may be readily understood.
Image and Text Copyright by The Keystone View Company