List of Brick Romanesque buildings

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Aula Palatina in Trier, built about 310
Ratzeburg Cathedral (DE), since 1154/1160

Brick Romanesque (German: Backsteinromanik) is an architectural style and chronological phase of architectural history. The term described Romanesque buildings built of brick; like the subsequent Brick Gothic, it is geographically limited to Northern Germany and the Baltic region. Structures in other regions are not described as Brick Romanesque but as "Romanesque brick-built church" or similar terms.

In comparison to Brick Gothic, Brick Romanesque is a less established and less frequently used term. On the one hand, this is caused by the fact that the Baltic region was only beginning to develop its own stylistic identity during the Romanesque period, on the other by the relatively low number of surviving buildings. Many of the major Brick Gothic edifices had Brick Romanesque predecessors, remains of which are often still visible. Nearly all preserved buildings are churches. The buildings contrast with earlier stone-built churches (Fieldstone churches or Feldsteinkirchen), which were constructed of glacial erratics and rubble. Such rounded stones limit the potential size of a building; the material and technique do not permit the construction of structures larger than a village church for static reasons. Monumental constructions only became possible through the growing use and perfection of brick building.

Import of technique and style[edit]

Already in the antique Roman Empire huge brick buildings had been erected north of the Alps, but present day Denmark and present day northern Germany east of Elbe River never had been part of that empire, and west of the Elbe too short to build more than some military camps. And even in the northern Roman provinces the techniques of building in brick were forgotten with the decay of the empire.

But in Langobardia Major, northern Italy, there was a continuity of building in bricks from late Antiquity to early Middle Ages. In Early Lombard Romanesque style, technique and shapes, later on typical for the Baltic Sea were already completely developed. During the 12th century, Northern Germany and Denmark, at that time the major power of North Sea and Baltic Sea, imported the techniques and many elements of style from the Padan Region.[1]

St. John's Church (Sankt-Johannis-Kirche) in Oldenburg (Holstein) is considered to be the oldest brick church in Northern Europe. The first monumental churches were Ratzeburg cathedral and Lübeck Cathedral, both begun shortly after 1160 under Henry the Lion. Lübeck Cathedral was later converted into a Gothic hall church (1266 to 1335). Jerichow Abbey with its convent church of which construction started in 1148 played an influential role for the brick architecture in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For Scandinavia, the stylistically independent Roskilde Cathedral, started in the 1170s and used as the burial church for Danish monarchs, is of special importance. A last flourish and the transition to the Gothic style is marked by the Cistercian Lehnin Abbey in the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

Denmark[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Kalundborg Church of Our Lady Circa 1170-1200 Central structure on Greek cross plan. Central tower and 4 side towers of nearly the same height
Hærvigsgade-1 Kalundborg.jpg
Ledøje Residential church Circa 1225
Ledoeje kirke.jpg
Nyborg Nyborg Castle about 1170 Mid 13th century to 1416 main residence of the Kings of Denmark
NyborgSlot.JPG
Ringsted St. Benedict Built 1163-1170 One of the earliest brick churches in Northern Europe, basilica
Sct Bendt.jpg
Roskilde Cathedral Mainly 1170-1280 UNESCO World Heritage Site, burial church of Danish monarchs
Roskilde-domkirke-2003-nord.jpg
Sorø Abbey After 1161 Former Cistercian basilica
Soroe Klosterkirke.JPG

Germany[edit]

West of Weser River[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Bagband (Großefehn, East Frisia) Village church (DE)
Bagband kirche.jpg
Bassum Collegiate church (DE) begun in Romanesque,
completed in Gothic style,
hall church
Bassum 20090501 104.JPG
Bingum (incorporated to Leer, East Frisia) St. Matthew's (DE) 1. quarter of the 13th century
ChurchBingum.jpg
Blexen (Weser estuary) St. Hippolyte (DE) Choir in the 11./12th century begun in cubes of granite and completed in brick,
nave and tower (13th century) completely of brick
Blexen-Kirche.jpg
Bücken (Weser) Collegiate church (DE) Stone building of the 11th century enlarged in brick in the 13th century
Bücken 206.JPG
Bunde (East Frisia) Reformed church (DE) about 1200 begun in Romanesque style
Bunde Kirche Nordseite.JPG
Canum (Krummhörn) Village church (DE) 2. half of the 13th century
ChurchCanum.jpg
Ditzum (Rheiderland) Village church (DE) early or mid 13th century
ChurchDitzum.jpg
Dunum (Esens, East Frisia) Village church (DE) 1200–1220
Dunum Kirche Apsis.jpg
Emden Große Kirche (Large Church) (DE) about 1200 Romanesque, later enlarged in Gothic style,
1943 completely destroyed by bombs, new building in 1948/49
Emden Grosse Kirche von Suedosten 524s092a.jpg
Fedderwarden (Wilhelmshaven) St.-Stephanus-Kirche[2] about 1250 Romano-Gothic, tower added in 1875
St.Stephanus-Kirche-Fedderwarden.JPG
Freepsum (Krummhörn) Village church (DE) about 1260
ChurchFreepsum.jpg
Golzwarden (Stadland) St.-Bartholomäus-Kirche 1263 Northern wall mixed with fieldstone, choir newer
Bartholomäuskirche Brake Golzwarden.jpg
Hage (East Frisia) Village church (DE) 1220
Ansgarikirche Hage.JPG
Heiligenfelde (Syke) Michaeliskirche Early 13th century
Syke Heiligenfelde 031.JPG
Hinte (East Frisia) Bell house of the village Church (DE) 13th century Romanesque bell house,
late Gothic nave
HinteChurch.jpg
Holtgaste (Rheiderland) Village church (DE) 1st half of 13th century
Kirche Holtgaste.jpg
Holtrop (Großefehn, East Frisia) Village church (DE)
ChurchHoltrop.JPG
Kirchweyhe Village church (DE) tower about 1250 nave in 1906 replaced by a Gothic Revival one
Felicianus-Kirche in Kirchweyhe 2010 PD 02.JPG
Midlum (Rheiderland) Village church (DE) Early or middle 13th century nave about 1840 very much altered
Kirchturm Midlum.jpg
Norden (East Frisia) Ludgeri-Kirche (DE) 1200–1220 oder 1230–1250 Western part of the nave Romanesque,
Gothic enlargement (transept and choir)
Ludgerikirche Norden msu127.jpg
Pilsum (Krummhörn) Village church (DE) 13th century Krummhörn, Pilsum, Kirche, 2010-06 CN-04.jpg
Pilsum (7).JPG
Sengwarden (Wilhelmshaven) St.-Georgs-Kirche about 1250 gothified in the 15th century
Kirche Sengwarden.JPG
Strackholt (Großefehn, East Frisia) Village church (DE)
ChurchStrackholt.JPG
Suurhusen (Hinte, East Frisia) Village church (DE) nave mid 13th century, later a bit altered, (leaning) tower built about 1450, but in Romanesque style
Suurhusen Church, East Frisia, Germany. Pic 05.jpg
Victorbur (Südbrookmerland, East Frisia) Village church (DE) 1st half of 13. Jahrhundert Aisleless church
St victor victorbur83.jpg
Wiegboldsbur (Südbrookmerland, East Frisia) Village church (DE) about 1250
Wibadi-Church msu.jpg
Bad Zwischenahn St.-John's-CHurch (DE)
  • in the 12th century begun in filedstone, afterwards cubes of granite, then Romanesqueer brick building, then Brick Gothic
  • has an adjacent western tower and an isolated belfry
Bad Zwischenahn Johanneskirche.jpg

Between Weser and Elbe[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Anhalt Castle (near Harzgerode) 1123 and 1147 Ascan hill castle, only little relics
Burg Anhalt - Tor I.jpg
Arendsee Arendsee Abbey (DE) 1184–1240, consecrated already in 1208
Arendsee - Klosterkirche.jpg
Beuster Collegiate church (Stiftskirche) St. Nikolaus 12th c. (choir completed in 1172)
St Nikolaus Beuster outside.jpg
Bremish Blockland, Bremen Wasserhorst parish church (DE) Tower 13th century Romano-Gothic, nave remodeled in 1743 to very moderate Baroque
Bremen-Wasserhorst Kirche 01.jpg
Diesdorf Diesdorf Abbey (DE) 1161–1220 late Romanesque
Diesdorf Kirche Schiff.jpg
Giesenslage near Behrendorf Village church probably late 12th century
Giesenslage Kirche ev.jpg
Königsmark[3] Village church probably 12th century originally a basilica no photo in WM-Commons
Wolterslage village church Tower Romanesque, nave altered to Gothic
Wolterslage church.jpg
Mandelsloh (incorporated
to Neustadt am Rübenberge)
St. Osdag Church 1180 basilica of brick with a tower of boulers
St. Osdag-Kirche in Mandelsloh (Neustadt am Rübenberge) IMG 5363.jpg
Mildensee (DE) (incorporated
to Dessau-Roßlau)
Pötnitz church (DE) Consecrated 1198 Originally triple-aisled basilica. Side aisles demolished in the 17th century. Southernmost Brick Romanesque in Central Germany.
Dessau-Mildensee Pötnitzer Kirche 2008-05-01.JPG
Salzwedel St Laurence Church Lorenzkirche (DE) 13th. c. Basilica
Lorenzkirche Westseite.JPG
Verden St. John's (DE) Onset in the mid 12th century Tower Romanesque, nave Gothic
Verden St. Johanniskirche.JPG
Wittingen St. Steven's Church (DE) about 1250 nave romanesque, tower & choir Gothic
Wittingen - St. Stephanus.jpg

East of Elbe River[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Altenkirchen Parish Church Begun probably about 1185 Near previous Slavic cult place of the god Svantevit on Cape Arkona
Pfarrkirche Altenkirchen - 2001.jpg
Altenkrempe Basilica 1190 to 1240
Altenkrempe 4.jpg
Bad Segeberg St. Mary's
Marktplatz Bad Segeberg 2001.jpg
Bergen auf Rügen St. Mary's
Bergen auf Rügen - Sankt-Marien-Kirche (2) (11402631516).jpg
Eutin St. Michael's 1180s to early 13th century
St-Michaelis-Kirche Eutin2007.jpg
Gadebusch Town Church St. Jacob and St. Dionysius Late Romanesque, begun about 1220
Kirche in Gadebusch.JPG
Jerichow Jerichow Monastery 1148-1172 Former Premonstratensian collegiate church,
oldest brick structure East of the Elbe River
Kloster Jerichow 9 2015 10.JPG
Lehnin Lehnin Abbey Circa 1185-1235, altered up to 1260
PM08-13 img03 Kloster Lehnin.jpg
Lübeck Cathedral 1163-1230 Romanesque nave, Gothic choir
Lübeck Dom-von-Westen 070311.jpg
Lübow Village church 1st half 13th century Possibly residential church of nearby Mecklenburg Castle
Kirche in Lübow.jpg
Melkow Village church Circa 1200
Wust Melkow church.jpg
Mölln St. Nicholas Early 13th century Basilica
Mölln 15.jpg
Neubukow Parish church Double-naved hall church
Neubukow Kirche 2.jpg
Neukloster Abbey church before 1227
Neukloster Kloster 1.jpg
Oldenburg (Holstein) St. John's Mainly built 1156-1160 Oldest brick church in Northern Europe
Oldenburg-oh-kirche.jpg
Ratzeburg Cathedral Mainly 1160-1220 Oldest fully preserved brick church east of Elbe
Ratzeburg-Dom 2006.jpg
Rehna Abbey Late Romanesque Single-naved abbey church
Luftaufnahme kloster rehna.jpg
Rieseby Village church Circa 1220/1230
Rieseby Kirche.jpg
Sagard St. Michael's Church (DE) 1210 choir replaced at about 1400 and tower added at about 1500 in Gothic style
Sagard Church.jpg
Schaprode Village church 1st half 13th century
Schaprode Ruegen Kirche.jpg
Schlagsdorf Village church 1st half 13th century
Schlagsdorfkirche01.jpg
Schleswig Schleswig Cathedral 1134 – c. 1200 built of granite, tufa and brick; Gothic additions 1275-1300; tower 20th century
645px-Petri-portal-schleswig-cathedral.jpg
Schönhausen Village church Consecrated 1212
Schönhausen romanische Kirche.jpg
(Bad) Segeberg St. Mary's Church (DE)
Marktplatz Bad Segeberg 2001.jpg
Vietlübbe (near Dragun) Village church Early 13th century Latin cross plan
Kirche Vietluebbe.jpg
Wust Village church Circa 1200 Tower added in the 18th century
Wust church.jpg

Poland[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Inowrocław St. Mary's Church 12th and 13th century Brick towers
Inowroclaw kosciol NMP.jpg
Kamień Pomorski Cathedral St. John after 1175 to 1250
Kamien08.JPG
Kołbacz Abbey Begun shortly after 1200 Former Cistercian basilica
Kolbacz kosciol.jpg
Lublin Lublin Castle Donjon 12th century Upper parts in brick, lower in limestone
Lublin Donżon 2009.jpg
Oliwa Abbey After 1178 Former Cistercian Monastery
Kościół Oliwa2.jpg
Płock Płock Cathedral 1130-1144 Rebuilt several times
6 Plock 073.jpg
Poznań Church of St. John of Jerusalem Outside the Walls c. 1187 It was one of the first brick-built churches in Poland[4]
Kosciol Jana Jerozolimskiego za murami Poznan.jpg
Sandomierz Church of St. Jacob 13th century
Polska Sandomierz 007.jpg
Strzelno Church of the Holy Trinity 12th century-1216
Strzelno 3.JPG
Rotunda of St. Prokop Brick parts 15th or 16th century Romanesque and brick, but no Romanesque brick: The Romanesque original parts, erected since before 1133, are of red granite.
Church of St. Prokop in Strzelno.JPG
Święta Katarzyna St. Catherine's Church
POL SwKatarzynaKosciol.jpg
Wąchock Cisterian monastery After 1179 Brick and sandstone
Cisterian monastery in Wąchock Poland.PNG
Wrocław St. Giles’s (św. Idziego) Church about 1220–1230[5] probably before the Battle of Legnica
Wroclaw kosciol sw.Idziego od Katedry.jpg

Sweden[edit]

Place Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Vinslöv Gumlösa parish church consecrated 1192 Oldest brick building in present-day Sweden (then Danish)
Gumløse kirke.JPG
Linköping Cathedral 1230 onwards Took 250 years to build, so most visible parts Gothic
Lkpgdomkyrka-ne.jpg

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wolf Karge: Romanische Kirchen im Ostseeraum. Rostock, Hinstorff 1996. ISBN 3-356-00689-4

References[edit]