Described by Gregory of Tours as a bishop sent to Gaul by Pope Clement and martyred at Mediolanum [Saintes], Eutrope [Eutropis/Eutropius] was widely believed to have been the city’s founding bishop. A church was built in his honour in the late 6th century by Bishop Palladius, which enshrined his tomb at a spot outside the city and above the Roman road to Bordeaux. This church was made over to Cluny in 1081 and was reconstructed with an exceptionally spacious crypt and raised presbytery – enjoying a dual consecration on the octave of Easter, 1096, celebrated by Pope Urban II and Bishop Ranulf of Saintes.

The eastern parts of the late 11th-century church survive, as does the plain stone sarcophagus of Saint Eutrope, though the destruction of the nave in 1803 complicates efforts to reconstruct the original access arrangements to the transepts and east end. This paper discusses the background to the late-11th-century rebuilding and assesses the relative merits of the type of double-decker design adopted at Saintes.