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Filialkirche St. Margarethe

Filialkirche St. Margarethe

The Huckenhamer church is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Lower Bavaria.

© Michael Smetanski

For security reasons the St Margaret's Church in Huckenham is unfortunately not accessible at the moment.
Anyone approaching Bayerbach from the west will soon discover the ancient church building with its low tower and unrendered brick and quarry stone walls - St Margaret's Church at Huckenham. The church in Huckenham is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Lower Bavaria. It was first mentioned in a document around 1200. At that time it served the "nobles of Huginhem" as a castle chapel. From this time it is also known that it was united with the parish church of Birnbach. It was not until 1897 that it moved to the parish of Bayerbach, to which it belongs today. The current appearance of the church was significantly influenced in the years around 1450 and was extended to the east with the use of Romanesque building elements and rebuilt in a Gothic style. It is also said to have been fitted with the current ribbed vault at that time. As Romanesque elements, the southern wall with its loophole-like windows, and perhaps also the northern wall of the nave, were retained. In 1468 the church was consecrated. Almost 200 years later, during the Thirty Years' War, the church is said to have been set on fire by the Swedes. An inscription on the truss work of the roof truss with the year 1674 indicates a reconstruction at this time. The former pointed spire was replaced by a baroque hood. The current main altar also dates from this time, 1670 to 1680. It is possible that the former Gothic altar was affected by the fire. Individual figures from the Gothic altar still adorn the little church and have survived to this day. Unfortunately, only one copy of a Gothic stained glass window in the choir depicting St. Catherine has survived; the original was sold in 1908 for 5 marks.In the early 19th century the continued existence of the small church was seriously endangered. Although it was spared from secularisation as it did not belong to any monastery, a storm on 16 July 1806 caused the dome of the church tower to collapse. Since the church, in the opinion of the Royal Rent Office of Griesbach, would not have been able to repair the tower from the proceeds of its own property, it applied for the sale of the church. It was also found that the small church was completely expendable and had to be demolished. Since the parish priest of the Birnbach mother church also agreed to these plans, the demolition seemed to be a done deal. The assets of the small church were incorporated into the completely destitute parish church in Uttlau. On 28 April 1807 the time had come. The small church was auctioned off for 110 guilder to Pastor Norbert Pechmann of Uttlau, who had made the only bid. At the same time he took over the obligation to "demolish" the church. The demolition material was to be used to build a school building in Birnbach. With the death of Pastor Pechmann, who never thought of demolition, the time of the rightful owners of the church came to an end. Subsequently, the then sacristan took care of the building in an exemplary manner. He even had a pavement made from Sollnhofer slabs laid at his own expense. The spire received a new roof truss. Covered with shingles. Five farmers from the surrounding area voluntarily took care of the maintenance, renovated the church in 1827, and even had a new bell cast in 1838 with the inscription "S. Margaretha ora pro nobis - Der Gemeinde Huckenham gehörig [Belonging to the parish of Huckenham]". Both bells are no longer present. They fell victim to the bombing of the world wars. At the beginning of the 20th century nobody wanted to pay for the upkeep of the small church; indeed it was perceived as annoying and superfluous. So, in 1910, the descendants of the five farmers who had taken care of the small church in the last century rejected any expenses for maintenance. The decay continued, and after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the provisional last sacrifice of the Mass took place For many years the building was closed and an unimaginable neglect took place. During this time, the idea of demolition came once more to the fore. On 21 November 1922 the church administration decided to demolish the venerable little church. But this plan failed due to the dispute over the proceeds from the demolition of the small church, which nobody wanted to do anything about for years, as well as to the government of Lower Bavaria, but especially to the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments. However, nobody wanted to pay for the necessary renovation work on the roof - only about 700 plain tiles were needed. With a subsidy of 300 gold marks from the Ministry of Culture, the most important repairs could be carried out and the demolition was cancelled. An application for demolition was made again in 1931. The community of Bayerbach wanted to build a mortuary from the demolition material, but the small church survived this attack as well.
After the war in 1949, the then district architect and later district administrator Winkler was able to obtain a state subsidy to repair the most urgent building damage. Once more, the talk was of demolition. A decade later, in the years 1957 to 1960, on the initiative of the District Curators Goller from Bad Griesbach, a comprehensive restoration was carried out. The tower received a new roof truss with a cross, wall cracks were repaired and newly plastered. The interior was in an unimaginable state of neglect. The two altars and the pulpit, as well as the beautiful figures from the third period of art, were rebuilt; doors, choir stalls and organ gallery were stripped and renovated. Finally the small church was provided with a new bell. On 25 November 1960 the bell was able to ring for the first service after 25 years. In the following decades the Trachtenverein (Society for Traditional Costumes) tried to keep the church clean. But the ravages of time continued to gnaw at the old walls. In order to protect it from further deterioration, the Bayerbach Trachtenverein developed the initiative for renewed renovation in the 1980s. With modest means the most urgent damages were repaired. Many volunteers gave up their free time.

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