Prisces Église Saint-Médard

What you need to know about this church

Église Saint-Médard Prisces

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Saint-Médard is located in Prisces, a small village with 97 inhabitants in the Département Aisne about 10 km south-west of the town of Vervins in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

The church is locked

This church was listed as a historical monument in 1994

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Prisces Église Saint-Médard
Keep from the south

Visiting Église Saint-Médard

The keep of Saint-Médard in Prisces is the tallest in the Thiérache. With a height of 25 metres, it beats even the second-highest tower of the neighbouring church in Houry – whose twin it appears to be – by a full 9 metres. The big difference to Houry, however, is that that one was purely for defensive purposes, whereas the keep in Prisces was built for offensive defence.

The oldest parts of the church date back to the 12th century, namely the nave and choir. These can still be recognised by the white ashlar stone, the Romanesque windows surmounted by man’s head modillions and, on the south side, by the traces of medieval arches set into the stone. With its three windows, the head section itself is a fine example of Romanesque architecture.

These parts have no defence elements. These only followed with the construction of the keep, which was erected in front of the nave between 1620 and 1630. It consists of thick walls made of red and glazed bricks on the outside, white filling stones in the centre and half bricks and half carefully crafted white ashlars on the inside.

At seven by seven metres, it is very wide and its three upper levels were designed to accommodate as many refugees as possible for as long as possible. The remains of chimneys bear witness to this.

Two mighty watchtowers stand at the south-east and north-west corners of the keep. As in Plomion, the arrangement of the firing openings allows an overview of the terrain at an angle of almost 360 degrees. In the left-hand tower, the command posts extended over four levels. In the right-hand tower, a staircase led to the top of the keep, which in turn opened up to the attic of the nave.

Unfortunately, the church is locked and there is no information about where a key can be obtained. We learnt that this is mainly due to the fact that the tower is considered unstable, but the renovation work is still underway and the church is therefore not open to the public until further notice.

Front of the keep