Dohis Église de la Nativité-de-la-Sainte-Vierge

What you need to know about this church

Église de la Nativité-de-la-Sainte-Vierge Dohis

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église de la Nativité-de-la-Sainte-Vierge is located in Dohis, a small village with 93 inhabitants about 14 km north-east of Montcornet in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

A key is available at the Mairie (see description below)

This church was partially listed as a historical monument in 1932 and 1989

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Tower from south-east
Vue into the nave

Visiting Église de la Nativité-de-la-Sainte-Vierge

The entire layout of the Nativité de la Sainte Vierge church in Dohis is very unusual. This is already evident when one wants to enter the church grounds: one does not enter directly, but through a beautiful brick porch that forms a unit with the former rectory, which is inhabited today. This first shelter is part of the square enclosure that surrounds the church and the cemetery.

The conservation authorities cite no less than four different periods in which the church was built, repaired or restored: the 13th, 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. This development has produced a building that not only looks beautiful, but is also very complex.

The choir and transept were rebuilt several times from the 15th to the beginning of the 18th century (date: 1706 on one arm of the transept).

Modern side aisles (date: 1866) conceal a nave whose parts date back to the 12th century, in particular a beautiful portal in tercet form that opens into the narthex.

Above the narthex is a magnificent stone and brick keep resting on four pillars separated by wide ogival openings. The two lateral openings have been closed off.
The vestibule, whose height is considerable under the cross vaults, curiously serves as a shelter for the corpses and the hearse.

A spiral staircase opening outwards leads to the upper storey of the keep. It is a 6 x 6 m escape room whose thick walls are pierced by deep embrasures.

Another curiosity can be seen on the tower: the lower part of the slate spire that tops the bell tower is a torso, i.e. twisted from left to right. There are only a good 100 of these towers in the whole of Europe.

The main portal is open, but the door into the nave is closed by a grille. So you can at least have a look inside the church. During our visit, however, we noticed that the door into the southern aisle was only closed by a wire. Of course, we didn’t need a second invitation…

But you can officially get a key from the mayor during the opening hours of the mairie (Tuesday 2 to 5 pm). And the inside of the church is not particularly spectacular, in contrast to the outside appearance.

Nave from south-west