Hartwerd Bell Tower
In the Middle Ages there was a Romano-Gothic church where the Hartwerd bell tower now stands. It was very unusual for a little mound village such as Hartwerd to have its own parish church.
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In the Middle Ages there was a Romano-Gothic church where the Hartwerd bell tower now stands. It was very unusual for a little mound village such as Hartwerd to have its own parish church. The church belonged to Bloemkamp Abbey, which was founded in 1191 and stood to the northeast of the village. It is not known exactly when the church was built. In 1580, during the Reformation, all Roman Catholic churches were converted to Protestant churches, so the Hartwerd church was transferred to the Dutch Reformed Church.
In 1771, the church was demolished, probably due to financial need. The church tower was left in place until 1807. Then it too was demolished leaving only the medieval bell, which dated back to the 12th or 13th century and was presumably cast for Bloemkamp Abbey. When the church tower was demolished, the small congregation at Hartwerd decided to preserve the graveyard and wanted to be able to toll the bell at funerals and to announce deaths. The bell tower built in 1807 was a particular type of bell tower known as a ‘klokhuis’, which literally means a ‘bell house’. The old Frisian yellow brick foundations were originally the foundations of the church tower. The masonry footing supports a wooden frame clad with roof tiles on all four sides. Above this, there is a square bell chamber with baffled openings, and a pyramidal roof. At the apex of the roof there is a cockerel weather vane with a heart-shaped pointer.
In 1986, the bell tower was restored. During the restoration work it became clear that the bell chamber and the foundations could not be reused. So the bell tower was completely demolished and rebuilt in the same style. The medieval bell, which had survived the Middle Ages and the German occupation, was found to be cracked and had to be retired. It was replaced by a 20th-century bell retrieved from St John’s Reformed Church in Apeldoorn when the church was pulled down.
The bell is rung at funerals and to announce deaths. Until 1970, the bell also marked the time of day and was sounded (more or less) on the hour at 08:00, midday and 16:00. This task was usually performed by the village carpenter.
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