As a support member I attended for the first time a general meeting of the European Route of Brick Gothic (EuRoB), driving from the Eifel to Neubrandenburg via Gotha, Bad Belzig in High Fläming, Potsdam and Buberow, then afterwards to Lübeck via Altentreptow, Burg Klempenow and Wismar. What a rich assortment of Gothic Brickwork!
In High Fläming, Burg Eisenhardt is a 15C castle in Flemish bond (SHSH repeated every two courses; S = Stretcher i.e. brick laid lengthwise, H = Header i.e. the short side to the front) and even the Police Station just next door is in the same brickwork, unusual for a modern building.
The brickwork used in the 18C Dutch quarter in Potsdam is in the more modern Cross bond (SHSH repeated every four courses), while the “brickwork” of the 18C New Palace is merely painted on!
Thanks to Dirk Schumann we learned such a lot about the history of Neubrandenburg and also how to use the brickwork bonding to interpret the various phases of a building’s history: the 14C church of St Mary, now a concert hall, has the outer brickwork in Monk bond (SSHSSH) while what must be later, interior walls had brickwork in Flemish bond. Likewise, at the Friedländertor town gate, the outer building in Flemish bond has to be later than the main parts of this town gate in Monk bond.
In Altentreptow, just a few Km north of Neubrandenburg, the remains of two town gates appear strongly influenced by those of Neubrandenburg. Just North of Oranienburg we also came across the 16C village church of Buberow, built of boulders but with a gable that strongly reminds one of the gates of Neubrandenburg.
In Wismar: we were totally amazed by the remains of St Mary’s and the nearby St George’s church.
Then on to Lübeck where we admired inter alia the 15C Holstentor. Apparently the city architect, Hermann von Rode, was inspired by Dutch examples, so that we see not only English bond (courses of just HHH then just SSS and repeat) and Stretcher bond (SSS, SSS, SSS) but of course also Dutch bond (SHSH then courses of HHH before again SHSH).
Many thanks to the organisers of this conference, Dr. Edith Kowalski from EuRoB and the town of Neubrandenburg.
Text: J. Swabey
Photo: Detail of the east gable of the St. Mary’s Church in Neubrandenburg © EuRoB, Eiko Wenzel