Thursday, 7 May 2020

Plancenoit Church Update

Following some useful input from various people (for which many thanks), one inevitably has to make a decision based upon the available information.

Based on the evidence provided by Siborne, and judging by many churches in the area, the Plancenoit church might have been based on a unitary nave with no side chapels.  However, Siborne did simplify his buildings a great deal:

A close up of the only good contemporary picture by Thomas Stoney suggests something different:

Stoney shows a main nave and side chapels, along with a very typical Walloon church spire

This Google Earth Street View is taken from a similar position to the Stoney picture, but further back into dead ground (street view won't let you 'walk' closer to the crest).

And there are indeed other local churches with a similar layout:

This picture of the battle may show two gable ends of the church although I think they are more likely to be other buildings in the village.
 Sadly, William Mudford, who painted many scenes of Waterloo, did not go to Plancenoit, but he did paint a scene of Napoleon's carriage being hauled away.  The picture has Genappe church in the background, which again has similar side chapels:

I am however the first to admit that the evidence is fragmentary, as this lithograph shows:

This picture feels in the category of 'fanciful' - the second spire to the left is not supported by any other evidence and the woods behind the main church feel wrong.

So in the end one has to make a decision.  I find the evidence of Stoney the most convincing and so we are going for the following look:

Many thanks to my father who, as always, is the master builder.  As one of you has put it: "just imagine trying to recreate that tower. Four isosceles trapezoids for the base.....bad enough. Then four more for the spire! All must fit and stay a true vertical".
Inevitably, further information has come to light:

This picture painted in 1819 shows a much simpler church.  The second spire on the left may be the Prussian memorial which would easily be seen from that position without some artistic licence.

Good view of the cemetery wall

This cadastral map is especially useful for the layout of the village and would suggest no side chapels on the church.

1 comment:

  1. Looking good! Foamcore and plastic card for the shingles? What are the dimensions of your model?

    Best Regards,