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Medieval Itineraries: Jehan de Tournay

Map of places mentioned in Jean de Tournay

Jehan (or Jean) de Tournay (or Tournai) was a rich merchant from Valenciennes. The name probably means he was born in Tournai, though his tomb is in the abbey church of St Jean in Tournai. In 1488-9 he made a lengthy pilgrimage to Rome, Loreto, the Holy Land, and Compostela, and wrote a detailed account of his journey.

He died in 1499, and 50 years later a copy of this account was made which survives as Ms 493 in the municipal library in Valenciennes, the full title of which is “Très-ample et habondante description du voiaige de la Terre Saincte, en laquelle sont memorez et declarez touttes les villes, citez et choses dignes de memoires, quy se treuvent entre cy et là, tant en Allemaigne, aux Italles, France, comme au pays de Grece et Turquye, commençant ledict voiaige depuis la ville de Vallentiennes jusques à la saincte cité de Hiérusalem, faict et rédigé premièrement par escript par Jehan de Tournay, bourgois de ladicte ville de Vallentiennes, ce qu’il fit au singulier prouffit et delectation de touttes personnes benivoles. - Appertient ce libvre à Loys de La Fontaine, dit Wicart, filz de Loys, bourgois de la ville de Vallenchennes, anno 1549.” As this title makes clear, his account is much more than a simple list of places, and he describes many of the places and people he encountered in some detail.

Also included in the Ms is a poem written for the banquet given in his honour on his return.

No full transcription of the text was published until 2012, and a copy of the first part of this has kindly been made available online, with the rest promised later. This first part is what is detailed/mapped here. [Barret and Gurgand, in their 1982 Priez pour nous à Compostelle, cite a forthcoming study by René de la Coste-Messelière with transcription by Jeanne Vielliard in the Annuaire-Bulletin of the Société de l’histoire de France, but this does not appear in the online list of the Society and does not appear to have been published.]

More details

spreadsheet | detailed map (120 placemarks)

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