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Mesch (L): St. Pancratius

The church of Mesch is probably the oldest of Limburg, perhaps even the oldest of The Netherlands. It was possibly founded in the 9th century by emperor Charlemagne as a collegiate church, and was at that time inhabited by canons from Aachen. When people settled near the church, Mesch became a village and the church was used as a parish church as well.
The lower part of the north wall of the nave is all that remains of the original church, at least above the ground. This part of the church is built of bricks, laid in a so-called 'opus spicatum' pattern, which is originally a Roman tradition. Most of the current nave dates from the 10th century and is often classified pre-Romanesque. It was built of pieces of natural stone in various colours and sizes.  The original choir was replaced in the 14th century. The current choir is in late-Gothic style and is built of marl.
The original tower collapsed in 1875. When architect J. Kayser restored the church in  1888-1889., he heightened the walls of the nave, lengthened it with one trave and built a new tower, a copy of the old one. Interestingly, he also lengthened the opus spicatum to run along the new trave as well as the tower, thus creating the illlusion of a far greater age.







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