The church of Herrstein

The church of Herrstein is not an old parish church. The town originally probably belonged to the mother church in (Nieder-)Wörresbach. The church being in an easily defendable location is because the building had been a castle chapel before.

The necessary expansions clearly show Gothic (choir) and baroque (nave) elements. Other elements were later added, for example the baptismal font in the 16th century, in the 17th and 18th century the baroque and renaissance graveslabs, the organ in 1772 and the pulpit during the 18th century.

The use of older architectural elements explains the lack of symmetry, which is uncommon for sacred buildings.

When exactly the castle chapel had become parish church is unknown, but it was probably before the reformation that was established here in 1557 through authoritarian visitation. By the way, the church had been a St. Mary's Church. Tithes, which were known to be a mere church tax, have been mentioned in the area as early as 1386.

The organ was built by the famous organ-building family Stumm from Rhaunen-Sulzbach. This family has built over 370 church organs whereof many are considered showpieces of music and art history.

Because it is mostly historical instruments being concerned, some modern organ compositions can't or can only hardly be realized. Instead, the organists have the possibility to play pieces from the 16th and 17th century (especially those written by French composers) in their original sound. The organ in Herrstein was renovated in the 1990s and today resonates with a new and fresh sonority.

An old report about the village's church can be found here.

During the renovation in 1959 the completely unknown paintings of an unknown artist appeared. The difficult renovation took several years, because the paintings were hidden underneath 5 layers of paint. Today they can be admired again in their full splendour.

Data to the history of the castle chapel

  • 1250 the castle was built by the knights of Stein, fort type, square ground plan with towers at the four corners. Remaining: 3 towers.Schinderhannes tower, most parts still in original condition.
  • 13th century chapel in the northern part of the castle located from west to east (Willigisturm). Remaining: foundations of the south side, ogive arcade and abat-son, now covered by the roof
  • 1428 residence of Sponheim, city rights, expansion to a late Gothic three-aisled parish church. Remaining: choir and tracery, former entry, bricks from the outer pillars
  • 1557 former St. Mary's Church becomes Protestant Lutheran through violation of Sponheim
  • 1674 blunt tower demolished to demonstrate defenselessness to the French (belfry)
  • 1737 collapse of the palas
  • 1742 guildhall built on former palas
  • 1766 baroque reconstruction, oculus, ascent to the gallery, round pillars removed
  • 1771 big bell, note E (by belleter family Klein), largest preserved bell of the family (1100 kilograms)
  • 1776 order of the organ from the brothers Stumm from Rhaunen-Sulzbach
  • 1884 first reconstruction of the organ by Gustav Stumm
  • 1917 transfer of the outer pipes and the small bell as a metal donation
  • 1958 first elaborate restoration of the church, replacement of the bells into the new belfry
  • 1959 reconstruction of the organ by Oberlinger, relocated at the gallery, new installation
  • 1961 second bell by the company Mabillon from Saarburg, 740 kilograms, note G, inscription: "Ich bin gegossen in wirrer Zeit. Oh, Herr, erhalte den Frieden! Jesus Christus gestern und heute und derselbe in Ewigkeit." („I am molded in chaotic times. Lord, preserve the peace! Jesus Christ yesterday, today and for eternity“)
  • 1973 defensive corridor rebuilt
  • 1992 interior renovations finished, sandstone floor, drainage
  • 1998 renovation of the organ and the exterior of the church
  • 2000 completion of the organ