The Fortified
of the Thiérache

The fortified churches of the Thiérache

Franqueville Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Welcome to this website, dedicated to the Fortified Churches of the Thiérache Region

And welcome to my new project; I already run another website about medieval churches, namely the “Round Tower Churches of Europe”, which you can find here:
My interest in medieval churches was awakend in 1999 when I “stumbled” over my first Round Tower Church by chance while boating on the Norfolk Broads in England. I had never seen a church like that before, and was absolutely stunned by the unusual looks; to me, it appeared a bit like a castle.  
While searching the internet for new churches for that website, I stumbled over the region of the Thiérache in northern France, where plenty of churches with at least one round tower can be found, and the look of a castle was even more striking. 

Voulpaix Église Saint-Quentin

The fortified churches of the Thiérache

Englancourt Église Saint-Nicolas

Why a website about fortified Churches?

The decision to build a website about the fortified churches of the Thiérache is simply that other people interested in these buildings can enjoy their beauty as well.
I have no architectual training whatsoever, and also no religious connotation at all. But these – mostly – medieval buildings have a special athmosphere when you enter them.
I try to bring over this atmosphere as much as possible with this website: in many cases, we have taken plenty of photographs of the interior, and the aim of the slideshows is to give you the opportunity to have a “tour” of this churches yourself without being there.

Marly-Gomont Église Saint-Rémy

The fortified churches of the Thiérache

Bossus-lès-Rumigny Église Saint-Martin

Why fortified churches?

The concept of fortifying churches is not as unusual as one might think: for many villages, the church was the only building which was able to accomodate all the inhabitants. Therefore, in case of attack, it seemed to be obvious to strengthen this building to be a safe refuge, and to defend the village by this means against any attackers.
What is special about the Thiérache region is the sheer number and concentration of fortified churches. The reason for this is simply the geographic location of the region in an area where plenty of battles and wars were fought. 
You can read more about this in the “History” section of this side, something I strongly recommend to get a better understanding for these special and fascinating churches.

The fortified churches of the Thiérache églises fortifiées de la Thiérache
Esquéhéries Église Saint-Martin

The fortified churches of the Thiérache

Where to find the fortified churches of the Thiérache

The map shows the churches I am aware of in the Thiérache Region. As there is no strict definition about its borders, there may well be others. However, the literature covering these churches mentions those on the map, and these are the ones I have included. 

The area covered on this site belongs to the départements Aisne (02), Ardennes (08) and Nord (59).

The fortified churches of the Thiérache

But now enough about this website - time to visit the churches!

The fortified churches of the Thiérache