Local Heart, Global Soul

November 25, 2013

Beaume And Aubenton Are All We Can Cover…

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Time is running out for our tour of the fortified churches of the Thiérache or more specifically the Aisne department in Picardy in northeastern France.

I know that my Singaporean friend “Velveteen” and I could think of nothing better than a holiday here together in the region, documenting all of the fortified churches, old barns, dove-cotes and quirky buildings we could find, but I also know that would be stretching my children’s and husbands patience rather too far, since this is all more in the category of ” ho hum, another one? (…when can we leave?)” as far as they are concerned. Little Mr. did find the idea of being able to fire arrows out of the slit windows of some of the towers interesting, but it said a lot that his biggest whoops of excitement for the day were reserved for the sighting of a combine harvester, parked close to the road …  so it’s clear that big machinery trumps massive buildings any day in his book.

I may lament my families lack of cultural appreciation for history and fine architecture, but to give them their due they have been very patient whilst Velveteen and I indulged ourselves with visiting as many churches as we could squeeze in today.

This is my last post concerning the fortified churches, and we depart with first a visit to the village of Beaume, (one of the smaller fortified churches) and then on to the larger town of Aubenton, where we discovered the church tower under wraps since it was being renovated. I found a picture of the tower in it’s unveiled state on the following website and it’s a seriously solid  and impressive tower with the spire plonked on the top of it.   http://france.knoji.com/the-strange-fortified-churches-of-thierache/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I get temporarily distracted by other things in the village…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before getting to the Church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since there isn’t much of the Church to photograph, I have a last look around before we leave…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and the kids have been patient enough… maybe Velveteen didn’t quite manage “forty-five” churches, but the more than sixty “fortified” candidates we have managed at least a few. We leave the churches behind, new adventures are just around the corner…

November 24, 2013

Plomion’s Twin Towers Tower Over Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this next page about our last year’s travels with Singaporean friend “Velveteen” we are visiting the fortified Churches of  the  Thiérache region of  France.

This one at  Plomion has a massive square keep in front of the façade flanked by two towers and shares a similarity with many of the other fortified churches we have seen so far: it also sports a dove-cote high up in the roof.

I’m half wondering if this has less to do with the locals being fanatic bird watchers and more to do with the fact that maybe birds have been traditionally kept in and around these buildings so that possibly during times of attack there would be a ready supply of pigeon pie for the villagers besieged inside?

Whatever the real reason, I find it a nice addition to the buildings, it rather literally brings them to life and gives them character. In the village of Plomion there are also many half timbered buildings that are clearly also centuries old,  sitting alongside buildings that would be instantly recognisable as traditionally French in style.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

http://france.knoji.com/the-strange-fortified-churches-of-thierache/

November 23, 2013

Bancigny’s Saint-Nicolas Is A Fraction Decapitated…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This fortified church in the Thiérache region of northeastern France is certainly one that has character.

As we drove into the village of Bancigny we only saw the rear of the Church and it didn’t really look fortified at all.

This is mostly because one of the imposing towers has been partially decapitated and it’s amended roofline now slopes downwards at a steep angle to blend in with the rest of the church roof.

Once you reach the front of the church however, the fortifications are immediately evident.

I’ve given this church it’s own post because there are so many quirky features, not just on the church but also in the surrounding buildings and I felt it needed a full set of  photographs to do it justice. I found a small snippet of information in Wikipedia (link below) and as with some of the other fortified churches in the region, there are often a few photos to be found on websites like Flickr but again, no additional information as to their history.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bancigny is located some 50 km north-east of Laon and 12 km east by south-east of Vervins. It can be accessed by the D747 road from Plomion in the north-west which then continues east to Jeantes. There is also country road access from west, south, and north. Apart from the village the commune is entirely farmland with no other villages or hamlets.

Church of Saint-Nicolas. The defence towers in front (the upper part of each was leveled in the period 1900-1905 as evidenced by postcards of the period) have been listed as historical monuments since 1932. 

The Church of Saint Nicolas grabs your attention, the variation of building materials is striking and the decapitated tower with it’s sloping roof gets your imagination going…the windows are surprisingly modern in style, and from what I can make out, have brilliant colour too. There’s a little (and fairly modern I think) statue in an interesting and ancient little cubby hole on the outside of one of the towers, another nesting site for birds at the top of the spire.

The amalgamation of colours, styles and materials are quirky but pleasing to the eye. The surrounding buildings continue the quirky theme, notably  a farm gateway  close by that has a dovecote incorporated into this design, similar  in style to the one we saw in Dagmy Lambercy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bancigny

November 22, 2013

A Mystery And A Church That Towers Above Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this post about the fortified churches I have tried to solve a mystery and failed.

I often try and use my camera to take “notes” as I travel to help me remember the finer details later when I do further research on a place or area, and when I sort out the photographs to make a blog post or for my private family album.

Therefore it was now my habit to photograph the sign board that denoted the name of the village as we arrived so that later I would remember which fortified church was which.

I know where we had come from and where we were headed, but somehow, despite our best efforts, we still managed to take a few wrong turns and our route wasn’t particularly ergonomic.

It didn’t worry me at the time because I assumed I had town “labels”for all of the churches, but it now appears I missed one. I know from the road signs in the photos I took of it roughly where it “should” be, but a search using Google Earth has not turned up the matches I thought it would, and the route map of the fortified churches didn’t either.  It’s possible this one isn’t really a true fortified church… but I photographed it anyway.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Therefore whilst this  first church has a “mystery” identity, I do at least know where we were following this one: the village of Jeantes.

The Jeantes church was definitely fortified, and a special bonus, the front door was open. I couldn’t find anyone around to ask permission to take photos inside, so only tried a few shots of the interior from the doorway. Without the flash the photos were hopeless, to say it was dimly lit inside was an understatement, so this was a rare occasion when I resorted to using the flash.

The surrounding buildings in the village also boasted some very unique looking architecture:  towers and distinctive roofs as well as the grand looking archways. The Jeantes church was yet another popular with the birds… who lined up on the highest part of the roof line and flew in sorties to and from it. It’s massive square towers are not well depicted in scale in my photographs here either, you really need to stand next to it and be dwarfed by it to really feel how solid the walls are, and how far it towers above you.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

November 21, 2013

Dagmy Lambercy and Coingt … Where The Feathered Friends Worship Too…

In continuation of the previous days posts,  our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” and Family Kiwidutch are touring some of  the fortified churches in the department of Aisne in the Picardy region of northern France.  We have just come from  the villages of  Nampcelles-la-Cour and Harcigny,  and have now arrived in the village of Dagmy Lambercy to see the fortified church there. Once again I came up with no results when trying to find additional information about these churches, therefore this will be a photographic post….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The big bird on the weather vane isn’t real, but the little ones resting and admiring the view below him are…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just under the spire is a dove-cote… or general bird housing association…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The combination of weather in the background, I capture a halo of light in the clouds… or maybe off the lens? I’m not sure…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Old buildings in the village…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

unusual gateway, again with dove-cote bird accommodation…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The church from the back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From Dagmy Lambercy we then make our way to the next fortified church, located in the nearby village of Coingt…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another dove-cote in the roof…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The amalgamation of styles is clearly evident… if only the stones could talk!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 20, 2013

Nampcelles-la-Cour and Harcigny Tower Above Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my last summer’s travel diary takes me to another stop on our tour of some of the amazing fortified churches in the Aisne and Picardy region of France.

Situated just below the Belgium border, centuries of conflict led to the local populous converting their otherwise unassuming churches into refuge strongholds, transforming them with towers and keeps into beautifully impressive fortified buildings.

We have just visited Bruelles and Hary and seen the fortified churches there, and now we are headed to the nearby village of Nampcelles-la-Cour, and after that to Harcigny a short distance away.

Our visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen” is a fellow history, photography and church visiting fanatic, so she and I are having fun checking out these amazing buildings. I was a little disappointed to not find more information available about these churches; clearly so much more could be done to put these beautiful buildings more into the public view, both for historical learning and to promote the region more.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And then on to Harcigny…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcomed by a flock of birds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 19, 2013

From Burelles to Hary, The Search For Fortifications Continues…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my last summer’s diary as I document our  European adventures with visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen”.

We have just discovered the route of Fortified Churches, particular to this area of the L’Aisne, France, and are taking time out to visit just a few of them.

The next Fortified Church  we find is the parish church called Saint-Martin,  in the village of Burelles. My research (links below) tells me:

The Church has a Latin cross reverse, leading directly onto the transept porch plan. The fortified portion is brick. The tower-porch, served by a staircase half off work, is on 3 levels. The first two are vaulted with warheads.    

The external elevations are decorated with motifs in glazed brick: six hearts, two cross-bearers, three diamonds, two knot, one cross and probably one cup.Probably built on the foundations of the first medieval church of which there remains no trace, the choir of the Church of Burelles was built in the middle of the 16th century.

The other part of the Church (nave, transept and porch) corresponds to the fortified part.  The sacristy was rebuilt in 1874 by Benard architect in neo-Renaissance style. The Dungeon vaults are included after the first world war and part of the Bell Tower was rebuilt in 1926. The Church is listed as historical monuments in 1927 and in 1931. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From Burelles we make our way to the Fortified parish Church called “Saint-Corneille And Saint-Cyprien” in the small village of Hary.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The village labelled as “A” is supposed to be marked as Gronard, but I didn’t know how to add words to the screenshot…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As with the Burelles text from the same source, I strongly suspect that the English version of the information I found is probably a rather dodgy machine translation of a French text that  we were unable to locate. This a  big pity because had we had access to the original we could have had a good go at making  a rather better translation, since not only have both Himself and I studied French but we also have plenty of native speaker French friends.

The choir, the transept and the nave are built in the Middle ages. The choir and the transept are vaulted a vault of warheads and covered with a roof in two pans and pinion covered ending hipped polygonal above the apse. The nave, which is lower than the choir, is covered with a roof long sided with the sacristy. It is vaulted to a false Vault. The North wall shows four arches arches once contacting the aisle.

The fortified western section is brick. The porch is covered with a canopy of warheads.  Glazed brick motifs come decorate the elevations of the tower-porch and turret: four diamonds, one cross, four cores. The choir, the transept and the nave of the Church by Handa  date from the late 12th or early 13th century. However only the apse has retained its original appearance.

The nave was greatly remodelled probably in the 17th century (deletion of the bays of the southern wall, north aisle). The fortified Western  portal was built in 1619 as it is demonstrated by the date shown on the key of the porch and the coat of arms engraved on the Western Portal.

 Following the collapse of the ceiling of the transept crossing in 1989, the whole of the building was restored in 1993

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now it’s back into the van and through the village as we look to discover the next one…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Source: Ministry of Culture, France
http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/aisne/burelles/eglise-paroissiale-fortifiee-saint-martin-7.php
http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/aisne/hary/eglise-paroissiale-fortifiee-saint-corneille-et-saint-cyprien-9.php

November 17, 2013

Vervins and Gronard Fortify Themselves For Our Visit…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my last summer’s diary, and our European travels with our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” (I use her internet screen name to protect her privacy). We have just finished lunch in the small northern French town of Vervins, and now we are going to show her something that is off the tourist trail that is specific to this are of France: Fortified Churches.

What is  fortified church?  I found a website (link below) that summed it up perfectly :  “The 14th century saw the end of the tranquillity in the region of Thierache. The Hundred Years War ravaged the plain and Flanders made some lethal incursions into Picardy.  After the soldiers, came bands of robbers, deserters and rebels who took advantage of the disorder to seize castles and hold travellers to ransom. So the villages turned their churches into strongholds.

These are strange churches with  high façades like castle keeps rising out of peaceful meadows. You might mistake them for some fortified manor house, or military building; but they are the modest parish churches of Thiérache in northeastern France.”

We had a funny moment because I was telling Velveteen about the churches, Himself was busy sorting out some thing at the van and when he returned she excitedly said to him “today we are going to visit fortified churches!”.

I suddenly saw Himself’s face change from a smile to a look of horror… Velveteen was perplexed by the change but knowing my husband well I started to laugh…. and laugh and laugh.

Velveteen has an accent, and on occasion we have had some interesting interpretations of what she was saying and this was certainly one of those occasions.

I immediately worked out from Himself’s face what he thought he had heard, so once I could control my tears of mirth, I explained to him… “Today we are going to visit Fort-i-fied Churches“and not what he heard which was “Today we are going to visit Forty-five Churches!”. Once Himself understood what was really said, his total look of relief was equally funny to behold, and Velveteen joined in the joke.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Vervins, where we are now is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy, northern France.

I couldn’t find much information on this particular church, but for the next fortified church,  just down the road in the village of  Gronard, I found some  information after some research.

“The marquee of the Gronard church bears the date 1537, the Choir and transept date from the 16th century, and are vaulted.

 The nave and tower  date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Located in the centre of the village, the Church has two distinct parts. The choir and transepts were built in white stone, well paired. The nave and the tower are brick. Two towers frame the entrance.   The choir is a rare architectural quality in the region.  This church with its fortress style and its Dungeon are characteristic of the evolution of the fortified churches of  Thiérache.”

These are amazingly imposing buildings… you can imagine the inhabitants of the towns and villages finding comfort in having such a place to take refuge in. My first photographs are all of the fortified church in Vervins,  followed by the church in Gronard.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Leaving Vervins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, a small distraction as I indulge in my fascination with cobbles and street stones… Himself doesn’t get it at all but I’m not alone, Velveteen does and she approves…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This time really leaving Vervins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heading towards Gronard…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Half fairy tale castle and half church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… a small resident…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

and leaving the village, and old style barn…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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