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Copyright: Jon Bayliss
Cy gist noble home Ambroys de Villers en son vivant seigneur de Valengouiart conseiller de monsr le duc de Bourbonnois et dAuvergne son escuyer descurie et maistre des eaues et forest de la conté de Clermont qui trespassa le xxe jor du moys de decembre lan mil ve et trois. Priez dieu pour son ame.
Guillaume Bourcier's contract for Ambroise's slab was made with another of Ambroise's brothers, Louis, Bishop of Beauvais, who was later commemorated by a brass at Beauvais signed by another Paris tombier (tomb maker), Mathieu le Moine. The slab was to be of 'lyais', the usual limestone or calcaire used in that area for incised monuments. It was to be a large one, ten feet long by five feet wide and five inches thick. It was to show an armed man in an heraldic tabard with his hands joined (in prayer). They were to be of alabaster, as were his face and tabard. Either side of the figure were to be shafts with apostles set side by side under canopies and above a large pinnacle with many agels and the figure of Abraham holding a soul. In the corners were to be the symbols of the Evangelists. The whole was to be as good or better than the picture Bourcier had shown Louis de Villiers, which was signed by two notaries. The tomb was to be delivered by Bourcier to the abbey by St John the Baptist's day. The prices was to be seventy golds crowns, with Bourcier receiving an advance of three crowns and the contract was agreed on 20 March 1503/4. Accompanying the contract was the final receipt dated 3 August 1504.
Fig 1. Ambroise de Villiers de l'Isle-
In 1890, the text of a contract for an incised slab was published in France by Albert des Méloizes in Bulletin monumental. Contracts for monuments are much less rare in France than in Britain, as they were officially recorded as legal documents and some of those records survive. In this case it is the original contract rather than the official record of it that survived. While very large numbers of incised slabs survived both the wars of religion and the French revolution, not to mention church renovations and rebuildings, many others did not. Amongst their number was the slab commemorating Ambroise de Villiers de l'Isle-
Ambroise de Villiers de l'Isle-
The inscription around three sides of the slab to Ambroise de Villiers records some of the positions he held, including councillor of the Duke of Bourbonnois and Auvergne and master of the waters and woods of the county of Clermont.
Fig 2. Abbaye Notre-
Bulletin Monumental, vol 56 (1890), pages 416-
F. Guilhermy, Inscriptions de la France du Ve siècle au XVIIIe, vol 2 (1875), accessed as http://www.archive.org/stream/inscriptionsdel03lastgoog