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Wessem (L): H. Medardus

At first sight this may look like a perfectly preserved medieval church, showing traces of both Romanesque and Gothic periods. Unfortunately, this is not really the case.
In november 1944 the old Gothic church of Wessem was so badly damaged that after the war little was left of it, with little more than the walls of the side-aisles, some pillars and the choir left standing. Architect F.P.J. Peutz persuaded the church counsil to preserve the remains. In 1946 the architect was commissioned to design a new church. Peutz however started his work with archeological research and found the remains of an 11th-century Romanesque church under the surface. Further research revealed an even older westwork and a cloverleaf-choir. Instead of simply rebuilding the old church or replacing it by a new one, it was decided to use the results of archaelogical research for a reconstruction. Peutz used the results of this research where he could. However, the nave was lengthened with two traves, which necessitated the demolition of the remains of the old tower. In 1948 the reconstruction began. The tower was rebuilt taller and more sturdy than its predecessor, a few metres to the west of where the old one had been. The lower two segments are made out of river stones taken from the old tower, while for the upper part marl was used.
Inside the nave are the 15th-century Gothic pillars of the old church. The new nave is wider than the old one, to optimize the view at the altar. The side-aisles became narrower. The clerestory and side-aisles themselves are mostly new, and represent both Romanesque and Gothic styles.
The 13th-century choir is the most authentic part of the church, although it was newly vaulted.
The reconstruction of the church was finished in 1950, the tower was completed in 1951.









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