The Holy Mary Chapel, BoussayNaturally we were intrigued, and as soon as we had a free morning, we drove out there to investigate. A wide grassy track (known locally as "the Roman lane") through the woodland leads you up the hill and then opens up to a clearing overlooked by the ruins of a chapel and a 19th century statue of Mary. We were delighted to see that the clearing was full of Fragrant Orchids and there were a few Fly Orchids, Lizard Orchids, Common Twayblades and Bee Orchids too. Moving off along the path which runs along the escarpment, we were even more delighted to discover abundant Red Helleborines in flower and White Helleborines in bud but not yet out.
Red HelleborineWe walked until the path ran out, and identified a shallow depression that may be the site of the theatre, although we can't be certain. M. Clermont-Tonnerre has sent us a couple of maps with the position marked, but even with a map reference and a GPS, once you are on the ground and peering through the vegetation trying to read the landscape, it is difficult to know what is natural and what is archaeology. There are certainly a lot of lumps and bumps in the ground, which suggests a lot of archaeology, but impossible for us to decipher.
A Roman Theatre?In all we saw 10 species of orchid and had a very pleasant walk on a hot day. M. Clermont-Tonnerre tells us the wood is called le bois aux prêtres because during the Revolution the locals hid refactory priests who refused to change their allegiance from Rome to the French State.
A quick note: my Uncle Geoffrey asked me last night about the ceiling that fell down, and whether I had done anything to cause this to happen. I was able to reassure him that the collapse was not totally unprovoked and he was in no danger of having ceilings fall on him unannounced when he visits, as one end of the ceiling had become detached when I took down the staircase, and my foot slipped occasionally when I was doing the bathroom floor, putting pressure on the other end.