St. Walfridus Church

Bedum, Netherlands

St. Walfridus kerk was founded ca. 1050. Bedum became a place of pilgrimage because of the graves of martyrs Walfridus and Radfridus. Two churches were built, originally in wood. Nothing remains of the chapel of Radfridus, and the St. Walfridus church did not survive in good state either due to a downturn in pilgrimages after the 16th century.

In ca. 1050 work started on a three-aisled cruciform basilica in Romanesque style, which was completed in the 12th century. Of this church only the tower remains. Traces of arches indicate that this tower originally was part of a reduced westwork, with spaces flanking the tower on both sides. These were demolished soon after. The tower leans forward, more than any other tower in the country. It is argued that the tower leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, due to restoration at the latter site.

Of the original nave only a few pillars and a small piece of wall have survived. In ca. 1484 the church was enlarged into a two-aisled hall-church. The southern side-aisle was replaced by a new one in Gothic style which was of the same height and width as the nave. The southern transept-arm was renewed in the same style and completely integrated in the side-aisle. On the northern side either a lower side-aisle or a series of chapels was added. An incomplete transept-arm is still recognizable. In the first decades of the 16th century a new Gothic choir with an ambulatory was built, fit for the church's use by a chapter, which was demolished by the Protestants in ca. 1600. In about the same period the walls of the northern transept-arm were lowered and partly rebuilt. Later the complete northern wall was renewed.

The sagging of the tower has been a problem for a long time. In the 17th century buttresses were added, which already needed replacing in ca. 1800 and were again demolished in the 1850s. During a restoration in 1953-1958 a more perment solution was found by adding an underground counter-weight. The same restoration resulted in the lozenge roof of the tower, which replaced a flat roof that had covered the tower ever since a fire destroyed the spire in 1911.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Kerklaan 2-4, Bedum, Netherlands
See all sites in Bedum

Details

Founded: c. 1050
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Davis Linkaits (3 months ago)
A very crooked church in a very beautiful town. So underrated.
Bea De Graaf (13 months ago)
Welcoming church. Nice starting or finishing point for walking events.
Koen (20 months ago)
Not just a leaning tower! In the 10th or 11th century in the Bedum the missionary Walfridus (or Wolfryt) is murdered by the Normans. His tomb becomes such a popular pilgrimage site that a wooden chapel is built first and soon a church for the visiting pilgrims. The oldest parts of the Sint Walfriduskerk date back to the 11th century, making it one of the oldest churches in Groningen. In the 15th century, the church was expanded into a two-aisled Gothic hall church, and in the early 16th century, after the church was heavily damaged during fighting, the church was even expanded with a Gothic ambulatory. After the Reformation, when the pilgrimage ceased to exist, this ambulatory was demolished again. Although the church is still in use by the Reformed Church, it is best known outside Bedum for its leaning tower. For centuries the tower sagged, a problem that was not finally resolved until the 1950's. As a result, Bedum has the second leaning tower in the Netherlands: with an angle of inclination of 4.18 °, this tower is even more leaning than the famous Tower of Pisa (which is 3.97 ° out of balance).
Ioannis Touloupas (3 years ago)
Unexpected bit of if histoire
gertjan de nijs (4 years ago)
De kerk met de mooiste scheve toren van Nederland. De toren is schever dan de toren van Pisa. De kerk is vernoemd naar Walfridus (of Wolfryt). Hij  was een inwoner van Bedum leefde in de 10 of 11 eeuw. Hij is vermoord door de Noormannen. Door Jacob de Haan is een muziekstuk geschreven (Pilgrims of Wolfryt) dat op 3 november 2018 door muziekvereniging Wilhelmina uit Bedum voor het eerst uitgevoerd is.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.