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Sprang (NB): Reformed church

The impressive church of Sprang is a late-Gothic church that started its existence as a chapel in ca. 1325. Eventually this chapel, after extensive modifications and enlargements, became the building that we can see today. Essentially it was finished around 1475, but there have been a few alterations since. The three western traves of the nave taller and wider than the eastern part; this was to be the beginning of a taller church, but that plan never was completed.

The church was handed over to the protestants in 1610 and never returned to the catholics again. In this part of Noord-Brabant, the Langstraat, which for centuries belonged to Holland, people are predominantly protestant and the medieval churches in most cases remained in protestant hands. Ironically, that's also the reason why these old examples of catholic architecture have survived, albeit often in a mutilated form. But while Catholics in most cases were more than eager to replace their mediaeval church with new ones, or to rebuild them until most of the building was replaced, protestant churches, at least in those areas where there were enough protestants to maintain the church, would suffer especially at the inside. The Calvinists, once they had taken a church in their possession, usually first violated it's interior. Statues would be destroyed and wall paintings painted over. This church too has had its share of such vandalism, but during a restoration in 1956 wall paintings were rediscovered under a layer of plaster, and these have been left in sight again since. During this same restoration all windows were given new traceries as well.

The tower and the facade are decorated with layers of natural stone between the bricks. Although Sprang was still in the County of Holland during its construction, the tower can be considered an example of the last phase of Campine Gothicism (see: Gothicism), albeit an unfinished one, as work ceased before the tower had reached its full height. The original tall spire was removed in 1811 by order of Napoleon who needed church-towers for his optical telegraph network. In 1816 a new, smaller spire was installed.

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