St Martin’s Church in Bolsward
St Martin’s Church in Bolsward is a Gothic church. Its substantial gable roof bell tower has dominated the skyline of the city of Bolsward for centuries.
Take a look
St. Martin’s Church (Martinikerk) in Bolsward is a Gothic church. Its substantial gable roof bell tower has dominated the skyline of the city of Bolsward for centuries. This was the Mother Church of the Westergo region. It was consecrated by David of Burgundy in 1459. As Bishop of Utrecht, David of Burgundy was also responsible for the construction of the St. Martin's Cathedral or Dom Church in Utrecht. Excavations have shown that the church was originally built of tuff stone. Much of this stone was subsequently incorporated into the chancel. The lower side aisles without clerestory windows make the church a pseudo-basilica. The impressively high gothic windows in the chancel and the beautiful vaulted ceiling combine to convey a sense of the vastness of the heavens.
On one of the apses in the chancel it is possible to faintly make out a painting of the Bishop of Utrecht and the Dean of Bolsward, Watse van Heerma. Paintings elsewhere in the church include those on one of the vaults of the nave and on the vaults of the north nave. The latter show well preserved depictions of scenes such as the flight to Egypt, the baptism in the River Jordan and the temptation of Christ that date from around 1475.
The choir stalls with their Gothic tracery are among the finest in the Netherlands. Those on the northeast side came from the Broerekerk church in Bolsward, which was partly destroyed by a fire in 1980. The pulpit was made in 1662. The ornately carved panels are supported by two large eagles and a cherubim. The Gothic bluestone font came from the church in Kuinre. The beautiful tomb effigies were made by Hans Schuyneman in 1620 and the Renaissance tombstones were made by Benedictus Gerbrandtsz.
The organ was commissioned by Nicolaas Elgersma, the Mayor of Bolsward, in 1776 and built by the organ builder Albertus Antoni Hinsz. It has 42 stops and 3186 pipes and was first played 1781. It has been added to several times and was restored in 2002.
Four swinging bells
In the bell tower there are four swinging bells: one for men, women, boys and girls (cast in 1640, 1533, 1688 and 1955 respectively).
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