In the early 13th century a small chapel was built in a chateau in Baye, a hamlet in the commune of Marne in the Champagne-Ardennes region of France. This is an area that was settled in Roman times when the near-by town of Chalon-en-Champagne, formerly known as Chalon-sur-Marne, was named Durocatalaunum by the Romans. In the 451 CE, a Bishop of Baye named Alpin lead his town's troops in the Battle of Catalaunian Plains to force Atilla the Hun from the area. When Alpin died, he became a popular saint in the area. The area of Baye was ruled by Bishops from the 9th century and the foundations of the chateau may date from that time.
According to the French Ministry of Culture, the earliest part of the chateau now standing includes the Chapelle Saint-Alpin built from 1205-1220 for Simon de Broye
Chapelle de Saint-Alpin in the Chateau de Baye
Layout of the Chapel of St. Alpin drawn in 1923
Jesse Tree in its bay.
Jesse Tree window in the Chapel of St. Alpin.
Top panel of Jesse Tree with two angels and seven doves. It was extensively restored in the 19th century.
Jesus Christ in Majesty holding a book in his left hand and his right hand held in blessing. The two prophets with halos are not identified
The crowned and seated Virgin Mary is pointing to Balaam. She is holding a book. The right panel is Isaiah.
King Solomon playing a waisted vielle, with Moses on his right and Aaron on his left.
King David is playing a Celtic style harp
The Jesse in this window was apparently broken out and lost during the French Revolution. The panel is filled with colored glass as seen in the above photograph of the window in its bay. The prophets on each side of David are also missing and the spaces were filled with abstract leaves. Each of the four surviving figures is surrounded by a white Jesse vine that is hung with clusters of grapes. Grapes symbolize the Eucharistic wine, and certainly quite appropriate for the Champagne area of France. The figures are surrounded with red mandorlas that make the figures visually stand out from the predominately blue glass.
For me, this window is one of many gems that I plan to show. It is much smaller than many Jesse windows that have been and will be mentioned. Except for the missing Jesse, it has all the elements of the prototypical Gothic single lancet Jesse window. Some of these windows that have exceptional beauty and are very comprehensible are not the great cathedral windows but rather smaller windows found in out of the way chapels and churches.