The theory proposed by Friedrich Behn in the 1930s, of freestanding towers with a central block, has been confirmed by our research. There was probably a previous building or buildings in the area of the Church Fragment. This is still being investigated today. At this point, we are therefore only able to discuss the phases of construction that can be verified by the existing rising walls.
Figures 1a and 1b show a reconstruction of the 1st Construction Phase of the eastern façade (now inner west wall) and a section towards the north. Findings suggest that there was a large opening passage in the central building.
In a 2nd Construction Phase (Figures 1c and 1d), the towers were connected to the older, eastern church building by means of a 4-bay sacred space with a basilica-like cross section, the so-called ante-church. The three western bays in the central nave of this ante-church make up the remaining Church Fragment.
The fourth narrower bay was dismantled in the 18th century, together with the eastern church. Based on construction reports, this building phase can be dated back to the 1140s.
Our reconstruction differs from Behn’s findings in one significant area. The large arch over the Gothic west portal (Figure 2) does not belong to the first construction phase, as Behn assumed, but should instead belong to the same construction phase as the ante-church, based on the evidence of its structural characteristics. This arch opened up the upper floor of the tower’s central section to the central nave, as a type of gallery.
All artefacts can be connected to a date in the early 11th century – both the sculptural elements and the structural engineering of the arcades and stonework. Characteristic features include the toothed stonework and the herringbone-patterned surface finish – both in various designs.
By comparing mortar, we can date further alterations to the west wall to this period. The large opening passage from the 1st construction phase was shrunk to a portal and, in conjunction with the arch above the gallery, a stone wall was built between the towers. The gallery probably received a pitch roof, which can be assumed to have contained a window aperture.
In the Gothic period, the west towers were demolished and the former inner east wall became the western façade, now with a new portal and a large tracery window – both can be dated to the early 14th century based on architectural criteria from that era (Figures 1e, 1f, and 2).
The former church was destroyed in 1621 during the Thirty Years’ War. Significant fire damage can still be observed on both sides of the arcade walls, on the inner west wall and on the Gothic portal and the tracery window. After the fire, the ruined monastery buildings were dismantled and used for building materials.
During the Baroque period, the three western bays in the central nave of the church ruins gained a new roof. The side aisles were also dismantled at the latest during this period, and the arcades were walled up. A new east wall was built and a wooden structure divided the building into four floors. In this form, the building was used as a fruit store, and later as a Tabakscheune (Tobacco Curing Shed) (Figure 1g). The pillars of the wooden structure were dated to the winter of 1718/19 using dendrochronology by the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg.
The tracery window on the western façade was restored in the 19th century and the buttresses on the eastern façade and the southwest pillars were repaired or reconstructed in the early 20th century. The extensive construction work that was completed in 1956/57 is documented by records and images. The plan to present the Church Fragment as a ruin was not accepted thanks to objections from curator, Otto Müller. The Church Fragment was instead restored to the form seen today (2012) (Figure 1h).
Dr. Katarina Papajanni