I lay at the White Cross, in Rouen, which is a very large city, on the Seine, having two smaller rivers besides, called the Aubette and Robec. There stand yet the ruins of a magnificent bridge of stone1, now supplied by one of boats only, to which come up vessels of considerable burden. The other side of the water consists of meadows, and there have the Reformed a church.
The Cathedral Nôtre Dame was built, as they acknowledge, by the English; some English words graven in Gothic characters upon the front seem to confirm it. The towers and whole church are full of carving. It has three steeples, with a pyramid; in one of these, I saw the famous bell2 so much talked of, thirteen feet in height, thirty-two round, the diameter eleven, weighing 40,000 pounds.
In the Chapel d’Amboise, built by a Cardinal of that name3, lies his body, with several fair monuments. The choir has behind it a great dragon painted on the wall, which they say had done much harm to the inhabitants, till vanquished by St. Romain, their Archbishop; for which there is an annual procession. It was now near Easter, and many images were exposed with scenes and stories representing the Passion; made up of little puppets, to which there was great resort and devotion, with offerings. Before the church is a fair palace. St. Ouen is another goodly church and an abbey with fine gardens. Here the King hath lodgings, when he makes his progress through these parts. The structure, where the Court of Parliament4 is kept, is very magnificent, containing very fair halls and chambers, especially La Chambre Dorée. The town-house is also well built, and so are some gentlemen’s houses; but most part of the rest are of timber, like our merchants’ in London, in the wooden part of the city.
In the south-west tower (Tour de Beurre). It was called George d’Amboise after the Cardinal of that name (Archbishop of Rouen, and the popular Minister of Louis XII.), and was melted at the Revolution, all but a fragment in the Museum. –AD ↩