The Saint Nicholas Church

Saint Nicholas Church in Laces

The Romanesque choir tower church from the late 12th century was originally situated at an important crossroads in Laces. The nave is 6m by 9m, whereas the sanctuary is 3.7m by 4.5m with the tower directly rising above it. The church was owned by the Order of St. John from the beginning of the 13th century and was first mentioned in a document in 1326. A flat slab ceiling in the nave is mentioned in a visitation protocol from 1638, which was later substituted with its current barrel vault. In 1782, the church was profaned under Emperor Joseph II and hasn’t been used as a church since. The church was sold to the municipality of Laces in 1811. The desecrated interior was used as a fire engine house of the volunteer fire brigade from 1879. A large pointed arch portal was thus built at the east side of the bell tower and was again bricked up during restoration works. The sacristy was removed in 1883 in the course of the road broadening.

Fragments of frescoes are preserved on the south facade. The Deposition from the Cross is of Romanesque origin. The representation of Saint Christopher is typical for the position of the church on a country road. Another fresco is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of the church. The style of the two frescoes refers to the late 14th century. The choice of Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of the church is often associated with water hazards. The south facade represents a consecrating Saint Nicholas who pleads for pilgrims and travellers.
The interior of the church was also decorated with frescoes in the past. After having visited the church in 1740 Anton Roschmann talked about ornaments and animal forms. He documented ornaments and animal forms. His draft of the south facade includes two Romanesque windows. Today’s large arched window openings are from a later period. The late Gothic pointed arch portal probably substituted an older Romanesque arched opening. Only a Renaissance altar from the period around 1600 is left from the interior. Extensive restoration work at the church has been done since 1980. The new tiling of the roof, a drainage ditch and a new enclosing wall followed in 1985. Then came the restoration of the interior and exterior. In 2009, a new and deeper drainage ditch was dug due to the enduring humidity, the original level was restored and a new enclosing wall was built. In 2008, Prof. Dr. Manfred Fuchs, honorary citizen of Laces, donated a stained-glass window with a representation of Saint Nicholas made by the artist Robert Scherer. The church was completely restored inside in 2016 when further frescoes were found in the church interior above the door. The Saint Nicholas Church has hosted „The Laces Menhir“ exhibition since 2017.

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