St. Martin’s Chapel stands above an old mountain pass that may have even existed in the La Tène period (5th–1st centuries B.C.). If that was the case, the chapel represents a link between Celtic and early Christian culture in this region. Archaeological excavations in 1958 showed that, on the site of the present chapel, there was a religious building as early as the time around 800 A.D. perhaps a heathen spring shrine. The same investigations uncovered a basin that, if this was in fact a religious building, could have been a font.
From the exposed foundations, the appearance of this first building was able to be reconstructed. It consisted of a sacred space, 4.20 by 4.20 metres in area, and an attached baptismal room with two windows. According to the report of the 1958 restoration, this layout is similar to that of St. Wendelin’s Chapel (600 A.D.) in Cazis in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
In historical documents, the elevation of a forest chapel to the status of a church by the abbey of St. Margaret is recorded in 915, but it is not clear if that refers to this earliest building. It could also refer to a chapel, recorded in a papal bull of 1178 by Pope Alexander III, that was erected on a high mountain by the municipality of Furtwangen.
In the Middle Ages a new chapel was built using the old foundations and possibly parts of the outer walls. This probably dates to the Late Gothic period. After the chapel had been partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, a new roof and a new ceiling were built. The centre part of this has survived and bears the date 1672.
In the chapel there are other dates, some of which, thanks to the restoration work (Haas 1997) have been able to be correctly attributed: the retable dates to the year 1705, and the date of 1905 above the door lintel indicates the restoration measures of that time. The date of 1460 that was painted on the retable until the 1995-97 restoration was classified as incorrect.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, the chapel has been owned by the Kolmen farm. However, in 1848 it was converted into a utility building: extensions and alterations were made so that it had a stable, hayloft, shed, toilet and celler. Even the tower was replaced by a chimney.
The appearance of the present chapel dates back to an account that, in 1900, the Kolmenhof farmer made a vow that he would honour God and reinstate the former chapel as a place of worship if God would free him and his family from economic hardship. He appears to have been heard because, in 1905-06, the chapel was largely returned to its original state, a turret being replaced in its original position. In 1906 the chapel was rededicated.References:
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.