Rouen (Seine-Maritime)

A large Protestant community lived in Normandy in the 16th century. Lutheran theses were posted at the University in Caen. The Reformation spread to Rouen.

The Petit-Quevilly Temple, an original regional architecture

  • Plan of the temple, Petit-Quevilly (Rouen, Seine-Maritime) © Reymond

Severe repression was inflicted as early as 1562, more than 600 victims were killed in Rouen before the Saint-Barthélémy massacre. The Edict of Nantes (1598) restored peace and enabled the construction of a new temple outside the city in Petit-Quevilly.

Outside the city, as stipulated by the Edict of Nantes, the Petit-Quevilly temple was built on a centred plan. It was a dodecahedron about 30m long and maximum 22m high, lighted by 60 double windows, with a skylight on each side. It was built from 1600 on and completed in 1601.

The walls of the edifice were built on firm foundation in brick and timber, like the one built by the Protestants in Dieppe in the same period.

A work of art in acoustics

  • Half-section of the temple of Petit-Quevilly (Rouen, Seine-Maritime)

No pillar inside, the whole woodwork rested on a central keystone.

A three-tiered tribune featured on all twelve sides ; the pews in the centre and along the twelve sides enabled worshippers to focus on the pastor’s pulpit and the building to hold large congregations.

In 1685, at the Revocation, the Petit-Quevilly temple was destroyed.

Rouen (Seine-Maritime)


  • Books
    • DUBIEF Henri et POUJOL Jacques, La France protestante, Histoire et Lieux de mémoire, Max Chaleil éditeur, Montpellier, 1992, rééd. 2006, p. 450
    • FARIN François, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, Louis du Souillet, Rouen, 1731, Volume 6
    • LAURENT René, Promenade à travers les temples de France, Les Presses du Languedoc, Millau, 1996, p. 520
    • REYMOND Bernard, L’architecture religieuse des protestants, Labor et Fides, Genève, 1996
  • Articles
    • GUICHARNAUD Hélène, "Approche de l’architecture des Temples protestants construits en France avant la Révocation", Études théologiques et Religieuses, Institut Protestant de Théologie, Montpellier, 2000, Tome 75

Associated notes

  • St. Bartholomew's Day (24th August 1572)

    Charles IX had tried to reconcile the two religious parties, but when this failed, he was driven by the Guise family to authorize the Catholics to assassinate the Protestant leaders; the situation...
  • The Edict of Nantes (1598)

    This was Henri IV’s major achievement : the terms of this edict ensured the peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Protestants and brought a stop to all hostilities in France after 36 years...
  • Mémoire et patrimoine en Normandie

    Cette région comprend les départements de la Seine-Maritime (76), de l’Eure (27), du Calvados (14), de l’Orne (61) et de la Manche (50). Tant en Basse-Normandie qu’en Haute-Normandie, les vestiges...