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The main building was originally used to accommodate visitors at our Lady of Cercamp Cistercian Abbey, founded in 1137 by Hugues 3rd de Champdavaine, nicknamed “ the Canterain  Beast “ . It later hosted the graves of the mighty Counts of St Pol.

In 1415, during the Azincourt battle it was badly damaged and ransacked. Yet it was refurbished and hosted François 1st after the siege of St Pol.

Twenty years later the Duke of Alva, the High Constable of Montmorency, Mary Tudor’s and Anthony de Bourbon’s representatives, met at Cercamp for the preliminary negotiations towards a stable truce, which led to the treaty of Cateau Cambresis.

The 1638-1640 campaign during the 30 year war saw the Abbey converted into stables and sick bays. The monks were compelled to move out.

The reconstruction of the Abbey, initiated in 1677, came to a halt in 1710 when the French troops, followed by the Imperials of Prince Eugene settled at Cercamp, then used as military quarters for Field Marshal d’Harcourt’s troops.

Louis 15th finally brought peace and chose to sustain ground rents, which encouraged its owners to rebuild Cercamp. The Abbey proper was set up anew in 1741, then the visitors’ quarters and finally the minster which enclosed the Abbey on its southern side.

   
 
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