(active 1190s in Worms)

Exterior view

St. Peter Cathedral, Worms

In the 12th century, cathedrals and monastery churches of the central Rhineland, notably Speyer, Mainz, Worms, and Laach, make a splendid display of towers over their crossings and staircase towers, of double transepts and double chancels in an unending variety of proportion and detail.

Worms Cathedral, dedicated to St Peter, is built over remains dating back to late antiquity. The present building stands largely on the foundations of a church erected under Bishop Burchard (consecrated 1018). The bases of the west towers and an 11th-century addition have survived, as have some 10th-century tombs of ancestors of the Salian dynasty.

The new building was begun with the east choir c. 1125-30, followed by the vault of the eastern sections (1132-37), the north nave arcade (1161-63), and the aisle walls. By the time of the consecration in 1181 the west choir, which extends west of the old ground-plan, was probably complete. The cathedral is now a fully vaulted basilica, with rib vaults over the main vessel and groin vaults in the aisles. The crossing is surmounted by an octagonal tower, after the precedent of Speyer Cathedral, while over the west choir is another, slightly different octagonal tower between the west towers. Important features are the east façade with its rectangular casing and round towers, facing the town; the early vault with flat ribs over the east choir and transept; and the elevation of the nave and aisles, which is based on Speyer. The nave elevation changes not only from bay to bay, but also from north to south, the north side following the system actually executed at Speyer, the south following the unexecuted one. A three-storey effect is produced by the partial articulation of the wall above the arcades. The west choir (after 1171), with strongly three-dimensional articulation, is characterized by the polygonal five-eighths termination, containing a rose window and crowned by a stone roof above which the octagonal tower rises.

View the ground plan of St. Peter Cathedral, Worms.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.