Archon Église Saint-Martin

What you need to know about this church

Église Saint-Martin Archon

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Saint-Martin is located in Archon, a small village with 82 inhabitants about 10 km north-east of Montcornet in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

The church is locked

This church was partly listed as a historical monument in 1932

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Defense towers
East side with buttresses

Visiting Église Saint-Martin

Saint-Martin in Archon is a fine example of a fortified country church built entirely of brick. It has a peculiarity: there is no keep here, but two defence towers on the west façade, connected by a gallery. This solid walkway, protected by a canopy, is an original element in the fortified churches of the Thiérache. The towers protect the only access to the church with their embrasures.

A first church was built in the 12th century, four centuries before the construction of the church we know today. The church subsequently underwent several phases of restoration, the first of which took place at the end of the 17th century – glazed tiles at the top of the side façade show the year 1699 inscribed between a heart and a cross.

Two of the original four corner towers were destroyed in 1793 due to their dilapidation. One of them is said to have contained a well to provide water for the refugees. Two further restorations took place in 1824 and 1828, when thick buttresses were erected at the corners and on the side façade using material from the destroyed towers.

On both side walls, above the windows of the choir, there are fortified machicolations, other typical fortification elements of churches in the region.

Unfortunately, the church was closed during our visit, so we could not visit the interior. A key is available from the mairie, see Tourism page (link above).

The interior was probably completely renovated in the 19th century, and the upper interior walls and the vaulted ceilings are covered with plaster that imitates a stone pattern. Worth seeing are a beautiful high altar made of polychrome wood from the 17th century and a statue of the Virgin Mary with Child, which was allegedly saved by villagers from destruction during the Revolution.

Gallery between the towers