One of the biggest and oldest abbeys in the region
Three monks founded the first benedictine abbey along the Aa River in the 7th century. These three monks, Momelin, Ebertram and Bertin were sent by St. Omer to evangelize the territories north of Thérouanne. The most ancient remains of this abbey date back to the 12th century. The abbey’s church was reconstructed multiple times until the 14th century and was not fully completed until the 16th century in a gothic style.
Saint-Bertin was one of the most powerful abbeys in Northern Europe during the entire medieval period and left a lasting influence of its high standing and riches in the city.
During the revolution, the abbey was closed and began to delapidate. But it was entirely intact until 1830 when the city began to use the abbey’s stone to build municipal buildings and roads. By the 1930s, only the old tower still existed. It was 48 meters high, but collapsed during the 1945 bombings.
The ruins of the gothic church were classified in 1840 as a historic monument. The remains of the mid-11th century romanesque church are conserved in the Hotel Sandelin Museum, including beautiful columns and fragments of mosaics.
A landscaped garden built in 2007 gives back life to the ruins, which remain one of St-Omer’s major monuments and a true testament to the city’s rich past.