Splashing about and saving medieval heritage

14 Aug 2021 au 3 Sep 2021

Place: Le Thor (Vaucluse)

Participants: Adults

Warning involves working at height

Workcamp description:

This workcamp takes you to the banks of the Sorgue River, in one of the calmest parts of Le Thor, where you’ll restore crumbling medieval ramparts and become an expert in herring-bone (opus piscatum) wall building techniques. This part of the rampart is covered in ivy on both sides and it needs some serious repointing.

Work programme:

  • Remove ivy
  • Rake out old mortar and remove crumbling wall renders
  • Repoint the walls and build a low wall

Building technique: Lime mortar stonework

Special bonus : The workcamp is on the banks of the Sorgue, you can take a dip cool off at regular intervals.

Accommodation: Tents, at the municipal sportsground, with access to toilets/showers and changing rooms. The sportsground is just 10 min walk from the workcamp. Bring your own tent if you like.

Workcamp life:

Help out, in turn, with daily tasks (cooking, cleaning). Building work in the mornings, Mon-Fri. Free time in afternoons and weekends, with a choice of group excursions and activities.

Some ideas for excursions: Avignon Theatre Festival, hiking in the Dentelles de Montmirail hills, Mont Ventoux, or the Monts de Vaucluse, swimming in the Toulourenc River, kayaking on the Sorgue River.

A little bit of history:

Le Thor is a farming town and ancient heartland of both Chasselas wine grapes and “garance” plant dye. It has managed to keep relics of its past, such as the ancient fortified monastery on the Colline de Thouzon hill and its impressive, listed Romanesque church on both sides of its 12th century opus piscatum, herring-bone ramparts.

Legend has it that the town’s name comes from a tale of a bull that knelt down several times to drink from a trough fed by the Sorgue where a small statue of the Virgin Mary was found.

In reality, the word "Tor" was an often-used geographical term in the 12 and 13th centuries, to describe boggy areas.

Le Thor’s ramparts are thought to date back to the 12, 13 and 14th centuries and had four gateways, although just one survives today; the recently restored belfry.