|History of the Reformed Parish Loenen aan de Vecht||
|The village Loenen aan de Vecht, originally called 'Lona' or 'Luna' is very old. It is known that Emperor Otto the Great donated the village to Bishop Balderik of Utrecht in the year 953. To the bishops Loenen was an important outpost which explains the size of the church and the fact that the builders of the tower were inspired by the form of the tower of the cathedral of Utrecht.
The church is late gothic, build in the form of a cross. The oldest part is the choir, build of tuff. The exact date of foundation is unknown, but should be before 1300 A.D. In the next ages until 1518 the nave, cross- and aisles and the vestry have been added; these are build of 'kloostermoppen', a large sort of bricks.
Originally the church was dedicated to St. Liudger or Ludgerus, a bishop of noble descent, who lived from 742-809 and brought Christianity to this part of the country. In 1578 the Paman Catholic masses were stopped and the church was transformed to suit protestant services. Altars and statues were removed, though tour of the church shows that it still contains a lot of interesting objects.
The church revived the second world war without much damage. However in 1945 the building caught fire during plumbing repairs on the roof. Tower and choir survived, but the rest was severely damaged. Some pictures of the damage
The tower stands about 80cm out of plumb and is never at rest. Several times in history people have tried to straighten it, but after short term the work turned out to have been done in vain. Since the time of Napoleon when the tower was requisitioned by the municipality. During the second world war the bells were requisitioned by the Germans. One has been recovered after the war. The new second bell was installed in 1949.
Originally designed as a small church or chapel, this oldest part of the present church served as choir of the enlarged building. Until the Reformation it container the main alter. At one site two niches can been seen, they served for the jugs of wine and water during mass. Under the choir remains of a still older chapel have been found. One coping-stone at the top of the ribs shows an image of St. Liudger, the other probably images of Christ an St. Mary. At the foot of the ribs one sees sculptures, two of those show angels with musical instruments.
The large tombstone is the oldest in the church and dates from 1394. The grave contains the remains of the Lord of Cronenburch and Lone (=Loenen), his wife and son. The painting at the wall shows the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This painter is still unknown as is the origin of the painting.
In this room, from were the priests formerly could enter the choir, one sees two small sculptures, presenting a jester ad a acrobat. They came form the church in Kesteren, which was demolished during World War II, On the ceiling an angel, on the wall a stone in memory of the big fire of 1945.
The nave and aisle
Pulpit and organ
After the reformation the pulpit became the center of the church instead of the altar, because the Bible - the word of God - was considered the center of worship. In 1787 the organ and pulpit were presented to the church. During the fire of 1945 both were severely damaged; the pulpit could be restored but the old Baetz-organ had to be replaced by the present Flentrop organ.
After the Reformation sculptures and altars were removed from the church. Very likely the gothic font went the same way. In the early 1900's it was recovered form the river vecht. In the 1970's it was restored an brought back to its original place.
In this chest, positioned beneath the pulpit and dated 1657, deacons kept their papers and money for the poor. It had two different locks, so that always two persons were required to open it.
To commemorate the dead memorial boards with the family code of arms were hung in the church. The largest are those of the members of the family of the Earl of Moens, Lord of the castle Cronenburgh that stood just outside Loenen. These boards were often decorated with symbols of death: an hourglass, a skull, withered flowers, etc.
The medieval custom of burying the dead in the church lasted until the nineteenth century. The less prominent or rich people were usually buried in the graveyard round the church. The tombstones from this cemetery are placed at random in the church after the restoration of 1945, as burying near the houses is now forbidden by law. many tombstones are dated 1643, which suggest an epidemic. During the French revolution many stones lost their coat of arms under the banner 'liberte, egalite, fraternite'
The boards at the back of the church show the names of all vicars of Loenen since the reformation. An important vicar was Balthasar Bekker who strongly apposed the witch-hunt of his time. He was known al over Europe. All names of vicars can be red here.
Formerly pews could be rented at various prices. The 'gentleman's pews' were located in the best places and decorated with stylish awnings. After the fire the pews were restored as well as possible
View of the area round 1700
Last update : October 7, 2008, 10:45 am