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Halsteren (NB): reformed church or St. Martinuskerk

Halsterens reformed church, a simple late-Gothic cruciform basilican church dating from the second half of the 15th century, is probably the best preserved medieval church in the western part of the province of Noord-Brabant. As a catholic church it was dedicated to St. Martinus.
The oldest part of the church is the tower, which is from the 14th century, except for the upper segment which is in a completely different style and was added in the 15th century, like most of the rest of the church. The way the side-aisles continue along the tower indicates that a new tower was originally intended to be build several more metres to the west, and that this tower was to be demolished. The pillars and arches in this part of the southern side-aisle confirm this theory. When this plan was abandoned the old tower was simply heightened instead.
The choir dates from 1457 and is remarkably lower than the rest of the church. It was built on the remains of an earlier choir; the different periods are recognizable by the two different types of brick that were used. The nave and the side-aisles were built in the third quarter of the 15th century and, as already said, were intended to be bigger. Between 1495 and 1502 the transept was added. This seems to have been a bit of an afterthought, judging from a window in the clerestory that had to be filled in. It's also much lower than the nave.
The St. Martinus came in the hands of the protestants in the 17th century and was returned to the catholics in 1799, who took it in use again in 1802 after a major restoration. In 1910 however they had themselves built a new church, the St. Quirinus. The goverment thankfully bought the building in 1914, and thus prevented the plans to demolish the old church. After having been used for other purposes it returned in the hands of the protestants in 1962, more than fifty years after the catholics had decided they no longer wanted it. A strange twist of history.





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