The Protestant Village Church of Stiepel
Visitors to the industrialized Ruhr Valley Region will be surprised to discover this village church, idyllically situated in Stiepel. It is probably the oldest cultural monument of Bochum – and one of the most beautiful ones.
The original church foundation has been dated to approximately 1008 AD. At first it was a small single-nave church; then around 1150 AD it was rebuilt into a Romanesque basilica. The single-bay center aisle and the three-bay transept still exists today. During the last quarter of the 15th century this basilica was enlarged to a late Gothic hall church. The surrounding church yard is worth being seen. Its oldest tomb stone dates from 1600 AD and the walls and main gate are even older.
Visitors can easily recognize the different phases of church construction, the Romanesque groin vault of the center nave, the late Gothic cross-ribbed vault of the choir, as well as of the south-west and north-west vaults. The respective paintings of the walls and ceiling from the 12th and 15th centuries have to be regarded in context. Most had been whitewashed in 1686 and were only brought to light again in 1952. Their restoration and conservation followed in several steps until 2002.
Restoration 1998 – 2004/2007
Increasing structural instability led to a basic renovation of the tower, the outside church walls and the interior of the church. The final step of total redevelopment was the installation of a new organ in 2004. The historical church yard was redone during 2007.
The parish community alone could not provide the necessary means of 1.7 million Euro. Total funding was made possible by donations and contributions of various origins and a large number of private persons. This resulted mainly from the initiative of the “Freundeskreis Stiepeler Dorfkirche”, an independent, non-organized group of engaged citizens from Stiepel and Bochum.