The beautiful Romanesque parish church in Roussillon, built in the middle of the eleventh century and rebuilt in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, has been through a lot. For example, she was set ablaze in 1285. The people seeking refuge inside the church fell victim to enemy soldiers.
Nevertheless, it was rebuilt and enlarged during the later Middle Ages.This is demonstrated by the Romanesque tower.Famous is the well-preserved cloister from the High Middle Ages.
During my visit, I was fascinated by something next to this cloister that, at first glance, appeared to be banal.
The desire of late medieval builders to use Gothic forms is undisputed, but apart from towers with different heights or missing towers, one rarely sees an attempt that failed as vividly as in Elne. It is an image that is touching in a way: the foundations of a Gothic chapel from the beginning of the fourteenth century, which was to replace the Romanesque choir.
As in most cases, the problem was financial in origin.The early thirteenth-century Bishop Ramon V did not raise enough money. The Gothic fragments painfully testify to this failed project.
Translation: Erik Eising
During my visit there, I had looked at the size of the bricks used and I thought of the statement of professor Arnold Wolff, the second master builder of Cologne cathedral, that, with their departure, the Romans had taken with them the art of brick burning. Only the famous Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (950/60-1022) had for the first time again ordered the production of bricks or roof tiles. This has now been confirmed by archaeological research. For this reason, I spoke of the reuse of Roman stones.
In 2010, a friendly reader pointed out that my statement about the building material was not correct.The Hessian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments (Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) has found bricks of poor quality, obviously from local production. In the meantime, I had learned of a letter from Einhard to a certain Egmunelus, who was entrusted with the brick production for the basilica.
Thus, I corrected my statement.
Some time ago, I read more specific information in Matthias Untermann’s book on medieval architecture: Egmunelus received an order of 260 stones in two different sizes. In total, however, about 7000 stones were used.
I corrected the article a second time.
Let's finish the topic with my wife's question, "Don’t you have anything more important to do?"
Untermann, Matthias,Handbuch der mittelalterlichen Architektur, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt, 2009
Translation: Erik Eising
Psychologists define loneliness as one of our biggest nightmares. However, in many cultures and at all times, there have been people seeking solitude, on mountains, in deserts or in swamps, for prayer, meditation, and asceticism. It may therefore seem strange that there have been some "dropouts" who, after some time, and for whatever reason, wanted to remain hermits but still live in a community. The squaring of the circle.
For this predicament, fourth-century hermitism as the earliest form of Christian monasticism in the West found answers, the traces of which we - rarely - can find in architecture. In Asturias, in a pre-Romanesque structure, I came across this phenomenon in the form of the cámera oculta.
That would be a counterpart to Irish-Scottish hermit monasteries of the fifth and sixth centuries and the walled-in cells of medieval churches in England. The "movement" would culminate in the charterhouses of Bruno of Cologne in the eleventh century.
Large buildings that are built entirely out of fieldstones are rare. In the thirteenth century, the Late Romanesque monastery church of St. Crucis was built entirely of fieldstone. The later brick apse is Gothic.
Those who are more into colorfulness can spoil their eyes with a visit to the late-Gothic castle chapel with its rich architectural decoration. In this brick building, fieldstones were used for the foundation.