St. Bartholomew´s Chapel in the national park Altmuehl valley

St. Bartholomew´s Chapel

in Essing / Randeck in the national park Altmuehl valley

St. Bartholomew´s is small, unassuming, secretive, much-beloved. Amidst the wide fields and forests on the Jurassic plateau, there is St.Bartholomew´s, a lonely place of worship and apparently nobody´s property.
There are a number of solitary farms on the plateau, far away from any villages or neighbour, as if purposefully hidden in the forests. St. Bartholomew´s is where the people from these farms worship.
Until 1446, when it was destroyed, there was a St. George´s Chapel in the castle of Randeck Flagge, and we may well assume that the peasants went there to attend services and that St. Bartholomew´s was not built before 1446. But St. Bartholomew´s has some characteristics which hint at Romanesque style, and that means construction in the 11th or 12th century.
Near the chapel there is a small pond which is also called the "spring". Such a pond on the Jurassic plateau is a rare phenomenon, it never silts up and never dries out. Even in 1911, when there was a catastrophic drought, the water level sank considerably, but enough was left to water the cattle.
The story goes that once, when there was a terrible drought, water of the pond was conducted to Randeck in a wooden aqueduct. And the knight was overseeing the fair distribution of water with the sword in his hand.
In the fields around the chapel, ploughmen have often found big hewn stones.
The story goes that once there was a Benedictine nunnery. The nuns deserted their faith and wanted to sneak off. But then in a heavy thunderstorm the convent fell to pieces, the bell was hurled to the bottom of the pond, and the nuns were doomed to wander around as white ghosts.
Documents of the 17th century have been preserved, and they show that repair work had to be done repeatedly. The problem was always a lack of money, and it was not clear whose due it was to pay for the building expenses. Once a wise judge sentenced an adulterer to pay thirty ducats for mending the roof.
In 1830, the district magistrate suggested pulling down the chapel. But now the peasants opposed. And they promised that whenever there will be some necessary repair work people would be ready to help or to give money.
Today the land register office settles the parish of Esslng as owner of St. Bartholoinew´s. The keys are kept in the nearest farm house, Denfihof. Every year on St. Bartholomew´s commemoration, August 24th, Mass is celebrated in the chapel.
The interior of the chapel is of beautiful simplicity. There are two side altars and a high altar with two twisted pillars. The Statue of St. Bartholomew carries skin and knife. The two small figurines are Nikolaus and Egidius.

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Zuletzt aktualisiert am 10.02.2017