19 January 2015

Môlay in Burgundy

The village where we stayed in northern Burgundy back in October was called Môlay.
On the third day we were in Burgundy, I went for a morning walk with Callie the collie
and took a few more photos.

Like nearly every little town in France, Môlay has its monument to the soldiers from the village who died in the Great War between 1914 and 1918.

The famous wine village of Chablis is only half an hour's drive to the northwest.

Next to the war memorial is this old cannon. I didn't find out which war it was used in. Three major wars were fought wars on French territory between 1870 (Franco-Prussian) and 1945 (World War II), including the most deadly, World War I, in which millions died.

The village also has its church. In fact, it is the fact of having a church that makes a place officially a village in France. Little settlements in the country that don't have a church are called hamlets (hameaux), like the one where I live in the Cher river valley.

The church in Môlay is the Église Saint-Laurent (dedicated to Saint Lawrence). It was locked up tight the day I tried to go inside. The village has only about 120 inhabitants, but in the 19th century it was home to three times as many people.

 The closest neighboring village is called Annay-sur-Serein — the Serein is the river, a tributary of the Yonne river, which in turn flows into the Seine. Paris is about 125 miles north. Annay has a stone bridge like the ones you see in many French towns and villages.


  1. Ken,
    that is a horse-drawn light cannon minus the breach mechanism...
    the back pair of wheels and breach box would have mounted up where the two little metal loops are on the legs...
    they were phased out during the 1st WW in favour of the howitzer...
    where the whole barrel moved on a slide when it recoiled...
    rather than this where the whole gun recoiled....
    it made for a more consistent bombardment.
    So Franco-Prussian or WW1... or both!
    It may even have belonged to a gun troop supplied by the village...

    I only know all this because my Dad started his war in the HAC [Honourable Artillery Co.]...
    and when I was growing up we used to go to the "family reunion Christmas meal" at the regimental HQ in London...
    where there was a wonderful museum of the history of HAC artillery through the years...
    and being small boys, my brother and I were encouraged to "go and be quiet" in the museum...
    so that we didn't disturb the adults!!
    There was also the greater marvel of an indoor, live-steam railway that gave rides to us youngsters.

    My Dad ended his war as a Jap POW...
    in an open-cast copper mine...
    just outside Nagasaki!
    He was there when the second bomb fell...

  2. Thanks for all that information, Tim. Your father's story is amazing. My father was in the Pacific during WWII but he was Navy. I don't know if he was over there when the A-bombs fell, because he would never talk about the war.

    1. Nor did my Dad...
      We only discovered the Nagasaki bit when either my brother or I commented on a nuclear mushroom on the TV...
      and Dad quietly said "Not quite as spectacular as when you see it actually happening."...
      and then told us!!
      I think a lot of people couldn't talk about their experiences after the Wars... both of them.

      What I do know is that he was a Second Lieutenant at the start and was promoted upward one step quite rapidly...
      there is some archive newsreel footage in the Imperial War Museum in London of him in an Austin gun-carriage pointing across the causeway at Singapore...
      shot for HAC promotional/propaganda purposes...
      along with another of his troop returning the same afternoon in all haste as the Japs advanced along the causeway.

      He ended the war as an acting-Major, but still on a Lieutenant's pay...
      and as a Major, had to visit the parents of all those who died to tell them how and deliver the regimental condolences and any personal possessions...
      so it does not surprise me he felt unable to talk about it!!

  3. my father was army in italy during WWII. he never talked about it either. he won a purple heart.

    1. I've known quite a few people who've said their fathers never wanted to talk about what they did or saw during World War II.

  4. I love the ornamental door furniture on the front door of the church. I said it was Art Deco, Tim reckons it's older. Did you find anythinig about it? Pauline

    1. Pauline, no, I didn't find out anything about the doors. The church was locked up and the village felt pretty much deserted.

  5. The stone work of that nice bridge is not as neat as the one of many structures in Môlay.

    1. I read that the bridge was built in the 17th century.

  6. I always think of my Dad when I see the WWI monuments in France. He landed in Brest, via Liverpool in 1918 after the war was over. Many died of the flu on his ship and were given a burial at sea. 1918 was a tough year to live through, especially for a 20 year old raised on a farm in KY.

    1. That 1918 epidemic was a real catastrophe. Your father was lucky to survive it.

  7. Wow, the entrance to that village church is amazing. I love those fabulous hinges (do you think that decorative part that continues so beautifully over the door, is still called a hinge?).

  8. Yes, Ken and my dad lived to be 98. I'm sure he realized he was one lucky fellow- especially since he was too old when WWII came around.


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