Bebelsheim St Margaretha
Click onto the photo to open the lightbox, navigate with the arrows
St Margaretha-Kirche is located in Bebelsheim, a village in the Saarland.
* denotes external links that open in a new window
Visiting Bebelsheim St Margaretha
Bebelsheim, located in the southern Saarland on the main road 423, probably dates back to Frankish times, as indicated by the ending “-heim”. The Catholic church of St Margaretha with its round tower was built on an eastern slope above the old centre of the village. It lies on the pilgrims’ path to Gräfinthal Monastery, which is signposted as part of the Jakobsweg.
Its history can be traced back to the 13th century: In 1267, a joint parish seat was mentioned for Bebelsheim and the neighbouring village of Wittersheim. The first written mention of a chapel in Bebelsheim, which was attached to the round tower, dates from the same year.
In 1737, the existing Romanesque nave was demolished and replaced in a three-year construction phase by a south-north oriented nave on the west side of the tower. You can find a floor plan in the slide show above.
Increased population led to an extension of the sacred building to the north in 1831, giving the four-axis hall church with a three-sided chancel its present dimensions. In the course of this extension, the ossuary attached to the east of the tower was also demolished. The round tower, built of limestone, is integrated into the eastern nave side of the church. It is crowned by a pointed octagonal slate helmet, which replaces the former stone end.
Its largest outer diameter of 5.25 m at plinth level decreases only insignificantly up to the base of the roof at a height of approx. 11.50 m, while its width widens only slightly. On the other hand, its inner diameter of 2.65 m at the bottom widens due to four wall recesses at different heights. On the ground floor, two doorways face each other. The western one leads into the nave, the eastern one to the cemetery. That this opening originally led to a building attached to the east – namely the ossuary demolished in 1831 – is confirmed by the flattening of the exterior tower masonry and the plinth in the area of the door. You can also see a cross-section of the tower in the slide show above.
You enter the church through the south porch. Inside, the church has many features worth seeing: immediately to the left of the entrance is the Lourdes Grotto, built by three Bebelsheim families after the First World War.
Particularly impressive, however, is the late Baroque choir decoration with high and side altar, pulpit and the parapet-high wooden wall panelling. The main altar is designed with a shell niche with a figure of the Virgin Mary and double columns on both sides with adjoining pilasters, a motif that is repeated in the entablature on a smaller scale. The smaller side altar is closely based on the high altar.
Unfortunately, the photos of the interior are not of particularly good quality, so we will have to visit this church again.