Of the three Romanesque churches in Melle, the Saint-Savinien church (listed as a Historic Monument in 1914) was the only one within the walls of the medieval town. Its chevet, in particular, rests in the ancient fortifications of the city. It also has the oldest ramparts. Its single nave is covered with a frame in the shape of an inverted boat hull.
Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, this sanctuary replaces an ancient priory, cited in a 1039 charter, and of which there are no remains.
In 1801, the church was transformed into a prison, and was this way until 1926 thus losing any religious vocation. Inside, no religious furniture remains, but the church has kept the memory of the prisoners, who marked their passage by graffiti engraved on the doors and walls.