Cilly Église Saint-Martin

What you need to know about this church

Église Saint-Martin Cilly

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Saint-Martin is located in Cilly, a small village with 179 inhabitants about 6 km east of Marle in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

The church is locked, but a key is available locally

Cilly Église Saint-Martin
Church from the road

Visiting Église Saint-Martin

The church of Saint-Martin in Cilly is initially surprising because of its sheer size in this very small village. And it has a pretty peculiarity that does not exist in any other fortified church in the Thiérache: namely, it is surrounded on the side of the rue du Moulin and the rue du Presbytère by a brick wall adorned with seven brick towers about 70 cm in diameter, decorated with false machicolations and surmounted by a hexagonal slate roof.

Unfortunately, not much is left of the original church, as the choir, transept and nave of this church were rebuilt at the end of the 19th century. An inscription on a white stone of the nave shows the year “1112”; this may have been the year when the first church was built on the site.

Above the entrance door is the date “1645”, probably the year Saint-Martin was fortified.

The only remaining signs of fortification are the slender, tall tower climbing up the tall and elegant belfry donjon leading to a refuge room, which unfortunately cannot be entered, and the keep with its walls of glazed brick, pierced at its top by embrasures.

The church is probably normally locked, but a lady who was just in the cemetery asked us if we wanted to go in too. Of course we wanted to, and she fetched a key from the neighbour in the house directly opposite the church, so that we could also take pictures inside.
Directly in the entrance portal on the right is the only sight of interest, namely a tombstone made of Belgian bluestone of the knight Ferri de la Bove, Lord of Cilly and Governor of Guise, who died in 1573.

Otherwise, the church is very bright and friendly inside, but not very spectacular. And so there is not much more to say about this pretty, but historically not very exciting church.

Church from the graveyard
View into the nave