Tiel (G): St. Maarten
the peak of its glory Tiel had two big churches, one for the
noblety and one for the citizens. The first one, the St. Walburg,
was demolished in 1680. This St. Maartenskerk (church of St.
Martin) was the church of the people, the centre of everyday
religious and social life. It has a long history of changes and
rebuilts. Excavations showed that its oldest parts date from
the 9th century and that the church was built in no less than
eleven stages, spread out over seven centuries. The oldest visible
parts however date from the 15th century, when a mostly new church
was built in Lower Rhine Gothic
In ca. 1420 a three-aisled pseudo-basilican nave was built, of
which the situation at the northern side is preserved the best,
although central aisle and side-aisle originally weren't under
the same roof . A few decades later the southern side-aisle was
widened. Each trave of this side-aisle was given a roof of its
own. The tower was built after ca. 1440 and is regarded a highlight
of Lower Rhine Gothicism. In ca. 1558 work began on a new transept
and choir, which were never completed because of the Reformation.
In November 1578 the protestants took over the building. All
altars and sculptures were removed from the church and burned
outside. The unfinished new choir was left to fall to ruins until
it was demolished in 1731, except for the sacristy that was saved
and now stands seperately from the church. In the 18th century
the central aisle and the northern side-aisle were covered by
one single roof. In that same period a portal was built at that
side of the church.
In the closing months of World War Two the church was severely
damaged, and has been restored several times since. The foundations
of various parts of the church have been made visible in the
ground behind the church during the restoration of 1958-1964.