QUESTION What Happened To The Bell Towers?

Posted by on 30. Juli 2016

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A typical bellfry in Uzes ...

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… the one in Gordes ...

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… this I saw in Carcassonne ...

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… and a bellfry in Perpignan

WHEN TRAVELLING BETWEEN AVIGNON AND PERPIGNAN, you encounter churches with silly looking wrought iron construction for bellfries. On some enormous towers sit delicate metal tops, much too small in appearance, compared to the towers underneath, holding a bell (or two) and almost invisible from a distance. Why didn’t they finish the church towers properly, why were they crowned with these architectural compromises, looking like medieval table bells to call the servants? I tried to find it out, but in vain. No art historian seems to have found my observation interesting enough for a study. A pointed roof or a square end in the sky aren’t a problem anywhere else – why in Southern France? No, there can’t have been a problem, they must have done it intentionally, otherwise 90 % of the churches in this region, most of them from the 12th or the 13th century, wouldn’t have got these open-air-bells, swinging from rusting hand-bent metallic carriers. These construction look like a temporary arrangement, like a forgotten „ersatz“, just have a look at my four photos, but I could have shown you dozens of almost identical towers. To come to an end: If somebody knows the answer, please let me know (axelthorer@yahoo.de).

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