The inscription on the foundation stone of the labyrinth inside the nave of the cathedral, indicates that when the work started in 1220, "the bishop who blessed this diocese was Evrard". However, even though Evrard de Fouilloy laid the first stone of this new monument, it was in 1222, under the leadership of his successor Geoffroy d'Eu, that the building work became more extensive.
Both bronze effigies are superb masterpieces of 13th century bronze art, especially since they are rare witnesses remaining in France for this period. They may have been created on different dates but still within the first half of the 13th century and they were melted into one single piece and chiselled, at a similar size.
Initially placed in the middle of the nave (Geoffroy in the 1st span, Evrard in the 2nd), they were moved for the first time in 1762 to facilitate the processions and continued to be regularly shifted inside the cathedral. In 1867, they were placed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc under the large arcades of the third span of the nave, where they remain to date.
Spared during the revolutionary period, they had green patina applied to them in 1867, were sent to a temporary storehouse in 1918 and were protected in situ during the Second World War - the bishops’ effigies have had quite an eventful history! DRAC Hauts-de-France initiated a study on these two monuments, documenting their creation as well as their historical and health conditions, and undertook a cleaning and restoration campaign. These works will be carried out in 2020 and will include cultural mediation activities for the general public to increase awareness about these two monuments as well as about the restoration professions.
Épargnés durant la période révolutionnaire, remontés et recouverts d'une patine verte en 1867, envoyés en dépôt provisoire à Eu en 1918 et enfin protégés in situ durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les gisants des évêques ont vécu une histoire parfois mouvementée. C'est pourquoi la DRAC Hauts-de-France a lancé une étude de ces deux monuments, afin d'en documenter la réalisation et les états historiques et sanitaires, avant de lancer une campagne de nettoyage et de restauration. Cette dernière, réalisée in situ dans le courant de l'année 2020, bénéficiera d'actions de médiation auprès du grand public pour valoriser à la fois ces deux monuments et les métiers de la restauration.