Click here to go to the main page
Middelbeers (NB): old St. Willibrord

The former St. Willibrord of Middelbeers  is one of the best preserved medieval village churches in the Noord-Brabant province. The church, a three-aisled cruciform pseudo-basilica, is a typical example of a village church in Campine Gothic style. Its choir was built in ca. 1400 on a foundation of tuff, probably of a Romanesque predecessor. Traces indicate that this choir was either added to a very low nave or was temporarily a free-standing chapel. The rest of the church must however been built in the 15th century. Probably the tower was built in the same period as the choir.
While the transept is of equal height as the choir, the nave has a taller roof. The entire church is covered by wooden vaults. At the front of the church is a tower of a type typical for the 'poorer' variant of Campine Gothic: a short and robust, massive looking tower without ornaments, supported by heavy, diagonally positioned buttresses. At the north side is a square stair-turret.
In 1648, the year of protestant victory, the catholic faith was outlawed and all churches became protestant property. However, there were hardly any protestants in the village. By the end of the 18th century none remained in Middelbeers, and the church was returned to the catholics without further problems in 1796. The church was repaired and in the next century it underwent several changes in neo-Classical and neo-Gothic styles; the originally square pillars were made into round ones and the windows were enlarged.
By 1900 the old church had become too small. Thankfully, it was not enlarged or demolished, unlike almost all other medieval churches in the province that had been returned to the catholics. Instead, it was just closed in 1927, when a new church elsewhere in the village was completed. A plan to transform the old church into a town hall was made in 1938. This would have meant a serious loss of the authentic value of the church, but the Second World War prevented it from happening. It took until 1958 before the, by that time very neglected church was finally restored. However, when the restoration was completed in 1962, a new use was not found for the church, a situation which lasted until 1977, when it was given a cultural function.








Back to Churches in the province of Noord-Brabant

Back to Oirschot municipality