At the corner of the monolithic church’s picturesque square, the Market Hall houses today visitors from rain or sun, but hides a much older history.
Its semicircular and Gothic arcades prolonged, during the Middle Ages, the market stood on the current square of the monolithic church, since they housed the grain trade. To protect the goods against harmful and weather, wooden pallets were fit into the holes still visible in large openings. It also contained bushels, crain measures carved in stone, including a copy still kept in the Trinity chapel* or in the cloister of the Collegiate Church.
In 1199, John Lackland, then King of England and Duke of Aquitaine, signed the charter Cliff, offering independence and privileges to that territory. The Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion was well defined and managed by a municipal council: the Jurade. It sat for several centuries in the King’s Keep, but in the 18th, it was decided to invest the hall. Holding public meetings in the heart of the city, councilors enjoyed a perfect view of the marketplace, and potential criminals. It is also said that the very old small wooden door at the foot of the stairs, served as a dungeon ...
* Available during the tour "Underground Saint-Emilion" information and ticket-office here.