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 Location: D795, Nr Dol, Normandy/Brittany, France.
 Grid Reference: 48° 32' 10.17" N, 1° 44' 59.7" W

 

      Dol de Breton: (Menhir de Champ-Dolent, Menhir of the 'Field of Woe').

Currently the largest standing stone in France.

 

The Dol-de-Breton stands on the borders of Normandy and Brittany.

The nearby 'Mont Dol' is the place where St. Michael is said to have fought Lucifer.

The syllable 'Dol' is also used in the Breton word 'Dolmen', which means 'stone-table'.

It has been dressed (from pink granite) so that it is almost square at the bottom.

The menhir stands 9.5m high with an estimated weight of 150 tons. (4)

 

 

   Menhir de Champ Dolent:
 

The menhir of Champ Dolent is the largest menhir erected in Brittany. Located on the city of Dol-de Breton, it measures nearly 10 m high. It is registered as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1889. (2)

The menhir was for along time surmounted by a large crucifix.

 

Mont Dol:

This small granite outcrop has been occupied since prehistoric times – flint implements have been unearthed alongside the bones of mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and even rhinoceroses. Later on, it appears to have been used for worship by the druids, before becoming, like Mont St-Michel, an island monastery, all traces of which have long vanished. A plaque proclaims that visiting the small chapel on top earns a papal indulgence. (1)

Dol cathedral was built directly between the Dolmen and Mont-Dol in the middle ages, at around the same time as the 'Abbey' on Mont. St. Michel. (building began in the 11th century, and has been altered on several occasions)

 

 

 

The small shiny stone at the bottom of the menhir is not the same stone as that of the menhir (Photo left).

It has been there for a long time as attested by the photos below.

 

 

 

 

Chronology:

Although Mont Dol would have been an island in prehistoric times, both the menhir and the nearby 'Mont-Dol' have roots that trace back to Neolithic times.

 

 

Archaeoastronomy:

The Dol de Breton is a part of a solar alignment running between Mont St. Michel, (which is clearly visible from the top of Mont Dol), and D' Avranches. The three sites align so that the rising sun on the 8th of May (the spring festival of St. Michael), rises over D' Avranches, follows the axis of the Abbey on Mont St. Michel, then passes over Mont Dol and finally the Dol de Breton.

The Mont St. Michel Alignment is crossed over by the St Michael's leyline which runs across Europe.

(More about Archaeoastronomy)

 

Legends: Several legends relate to Champ Dolent and the menhir.

The name "Champ Dolent" was appointed to more than one place, and it reminds us that this place was held after fighting and confrontation, and where the victims' bodies were buried. The debris of weapons often found in these places confirm this theory.

One legend tells us also that the menhir Champ Dolent fell from the sky or that the sky was so horrified, it dropped it to separate the armies of two brothers engaged in a bloody battle on this ground. The battle was so terrible that it gave the name "field of pain" to this place after witnessing this bloody massacre. It is said by the way, that so much blood was paid for in the outpouring during this fight that the mill valley ran non-stop. The legend ends by saying that each century, the menhir sinks into the ground a few millimetres. When the menhir has been completely buried in the soil, this will be the end of the world.

Another version of the legend specifies that whenever a person dies, the menhir sinks into the ground. Its full submergence signifies the end of the world. it .

Another legend includes Mount Dol. It is said that one day, Satan saw Saint-Samson building a cathedral on Mount "Dol" from the surrounding marshes. The rise of a religious building on an ancient site made the fallen angel indignant, he took a rock of Dol and threw it to the Cathedral in order to destroy it. The rock destroyed the upper part of the north tower (still today, this tower is missing) and fell in a field.

 

Lewis Spence said of it:

'A strange legend is connected with this menhir. On a day in the dark, uncharted past of Brittany a fierce battle was fought in the Champ Dolent. Blood ran in streams, sufficient, says the tale, to turn a millwheel in the neighbourhood of the battle-field. When the combat was at its height two brothers met and grappled in fratricidal strife. But ere they could harm one another the great granite shaft which now looms above the field rose up between them and separated them'. (3)

 

Old Photographs of the Menhir de Champ Dolent.

 

 

(French Menhirs)

(Other Prehistoric French Sites)

 

References:

1). http://www.france-for-visitors.com/brittany/dol-de-bretagne.html
2). Ministère de la culture, Inventaire Général du patrimoine culturel, notice on "Menhir de Champ Dolent", 2003
3). Lewis Spence. Legends and Romances of Brittany (1917) p24.
4). Felix R. Paturi. Prehistoric Heritage. 1979. Purnell & Sons.

 

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