Oudewater (U): reformed
church or St. Michael
church has a long history of alterations. Originally a single-aisled
tuff church in Romanesque style, which in the mid-13th century
was extended with a transept and a new rectangular choir. At
first the church was consecrated St. Willibrord, later the name
was changed to St. Michaël.
Ca. 1300 the construction of the tower started, which lasted
for most of the century. This tower has a rectangular base, and
is in a style that clearly illustrates the transion from Romanesque
to Gothic. The top of the tower is unique. The saddle roof is
uncommon for this part of the country, but the way its ends are
sloped is without an equal. At the east side of the roof is an
extension for the carillion, added in 1601.
The porch which runs from north to south is more common, although
mostly in the former county of Holland, to which Oudewater belonged
at the time. This is probably for safett reasons, the river Ijssel
running very close to the church.
At the end of the 14th century a closure of five sides was added
to the choir. In the early 15th century the choir was flanked
with straightly closed side-choirs with big windows in their
east ends, resulting in a hall-choir. At the same time a transept
was built of the same width as the enlarged choir. In the mid-15th
century side-aisles were added. These were of equal height and
width as the nave, making the building a three-aisled hall-church.
Because of space limits, the southern side-aisle is slightly
shorter, which resulted in a diagonally positioned facade.
In 1572 the St. Michaël became a protestant church, after
the town had chosen the side of the prince of Orange against
the king of Spain. The church survived the big fire of 1575,
when Spanish troops destroyed most of Oudewater and killed half of its
population. In 1732 the
gables and roofs of the transept were removed. During a restoration
in 1960-1967 these were rebuilt, while a coat of plaster was
removed from the entire outside of the church.