The chapel, the bell and the clapper

Walking across the park-like museum grounds, you will soon see the chapel. “Saint Isidore” is written in ornate wrought iron letters above the entrance. Isidoris is the patron saint of farmers (and the internet).

Originally, the intention was to demolish the Heierhoeve Chapel and rebuild it on the museum grounds. During the demolition, it soon became apparent that the masonry of the bricks was too hard and the roof tiles had frost damage. Not an option. However, there was a need for a space to display the collection of statues of saints. A chapel of your own would be very suitable for this. The only thing that was missing was the necessary budget.

Finally, a subsidy from the province made it possible to build a new chapel. The wish was to build a replica of an eleventh-century Romanesque hall church, following the example of a church from the former Maasland. The area that 800 years later was called Limburg. A real Limburg church! For centuries, the church was the focal point of the village. The Catholic faith was an important part of life in the countryside in North Limburg.

To realize this new building, it turned out that working with only volunteers was not feasible. The construction would be an ideal place to learn for students of the construction training centre. The lower wage costs for apprentices reduced costs and thus made it possible to build within budget. Under the supervision of a contractor, they made the structural work. But our own volunteers have also done a lot of work, such as the stucco. The floor, laid by a craftsman, looks old but a baked tile has been used with the appearance of old natural stone. Construction had to be completed in March 2015, a condition for granting the subsidy.

Many of the materials used have a history. The beautiful stained glass windows were once part of the St. Peter’s Church. Lutgerus church from Waltrop (Germany), which has been demolished. They were there in a storage room of the diocese. We got them on perpetual loan. They were restored by atelier Flos from Tegelen and then rebated. That required some effort because the dimensions of the windows turned out not to be quite the same.

The altar, a number of statues and the pews have been taken from the Heierhoeve Chapel. Some pews were already divided among themselves and had to be gathered together and gathered here and there. To place the heavy altar, manpower alone was not enough and a motor hoist had to be hired. The hinges of the doors at the entrance come from the old church in Swolgen. The wrought iron chandeliers and the lettering outside are made by our own blacksmiths.

We received the clock from the clock museum in Asten, also on perpetual loan. The clapper was bought from the well-known bell foundry Eysbouts in Asten. That clapper had to be sharpened in such a way that a nice sound was created during the ringing. As it turned out, the visitors did so very enthusiastically. The clock began to tumble violently. Spreading too far was limited and the bell rope was then attached to the wall.

Because the chapel has not been consecrated, no liturgical services may be held. You can’t get married “in front of the church” there. However, the chapel is recognized by the municipality as a wedding location. Very intimate, of course, being married in this chapel. Then we ring the bell. In the winter months, chapel concerts took place monthly on Sunday afternoons. Musicians from all walks of life give musical performances for a small audience. Very atmospheric enjoyment of singing and music.

Walk into the chapel and take a seat on one of the benches. Enjoy the beautiful light and dream away for a while. A moment of silence and reflection!

With thanks to Gérard Achten, Piet Lenssen and Chris Thijssen.
Marlé de Laat

notes from Piet Lenssen:
1. During the demolition of the Heierhoeve Chapel, the windows were removed with great difficulty. However, these angular windows did not fit in a Romanesque chapel and were returned to the residents of Heierhoeve after years of storage in the museum, as well as the heavy tabernacle.
2. There was always a plan to build a chapel at the museum. The collection of sculptures gave extra colour to the chapel.
3. At the time, there was stagnation in construction. Too few young people went to work in construction. By granting subsidies to contractors and builders, it was thought that young people would be encouraged to become construction workers.