A magnificent testimony of Norman Romanesque art, the present church was previously part of a more imposing building, built in the 12th century.
By its dimensions ( nearly 60m long) the chapel bears witness to the prestige of the Priory of Brécy, founded in the 11th century. The building today, still of imposing dimensions,
Is the choir of the original church, because the nave, the bell-tower of the transept crossing, and the two towers of the facade, were razed in 1749, the actual facade of the chapel being the wall built at
this date to close off the choir.
The interior decoration of the chapel is very refined. It is the expression of all the art of the sculptors of Bayeux which is remarkably revealed: Greek fret-work, crenellation, zig-zags, surprising beaked heads, monstruous heads with curved beaks that are typical of Romanesque art in Normandy. The choir is covered with what is called a false sexpartite vault; visually it is divided into six parts, but the weight of the vault is only carried by four ribs. The median arc is a visual illusion. The apse is lighted by a vast gothic bay built in the 14th century. It was probably in the 14th century that the Annunciation was painted on the vaults.
This masterpiece of Norman Romanesque art has been admired for a long time. The chapel was on the first list of Historical Monuments in 1840, following the advice of the great historian Arcisse de Caumont who described it in this manner – “ The priory of St. Gabriel, on the banks of the river Seulles, at some distance from the parish church, is one of the most beautiful ruins in the department, to which I drew the attention of archaeologists and tourists in 1819.”
The chapel belongs to the department of Calvados since 2008.