Thommen’s forgotten history…
Thommen is a settlement with a very long history, mentioned for the first time in a document from AD 814 as Tumbas, indicating the tumuli nearby. There is historical evidence that it has been existed as early as the 4th century, therefore this is one of the oldest settlements in East Belgium. But today, there are no traces of its proven significant past.
Here is the place where presumably a Frankish Villa had stood, or a palace (pallatium ad tumbas), in the 9th century.
This is the Thommen Watermill that was probably built on its foundations.
Personally, I label such places as ‘sacred’ in the view of their past, although there is nothing that still indicates that. But it is a wonderful feeling to find yourself in such a forgotten place that is known nowadays only by a couple of historians and researchers. I am pretty sure that the major part of the population of Prüm, for example, is not aware of the significant role of their settlement in the Western European history. But to me, these places are simply ‘sacred’ and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to visit them. And my feelings were confirmed a week later by an old man from a village in the vicinity who told me: There is a saying here in the area, and I don’t know by whom it is and from what time it comes, that says – ‘Take your shoes off, as you are walking on a holy land!’
The pond nearby.
The first chapel in Thommen was also mentioned in AD 814. According to a legend, there was a church there as early as the 7th century, founded by the Aquitanian Abbot Remacle who had also built the double monastery of Stavelot–Malmedy. And after other sources (Zwischen Venn und Schneifel, Zwei Kultstätten im Blickpunkt der Archäologie: Wiesenbach und Thommen, issue 3, 1994), this place was presumably a pagan sanctuary that was converted into a Christian one.
The construction of the present Church of St. Remacle dates back to the late 15th century and was extended in 1910.
This is the old choir – the oldest part of the church with the font, attributed to the 11th or 12th century, and a Gothic sacrament niche.
The Baroque high altar and side altars are from the 17th century.
The Renaissance pulpit dates from the middle of the 17th century.