Wormbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Roman Catholic Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul in Wormbach

This is the oldest and most culturally important Parish in the Sauerland. The first church here was established in the early ninth century as a missonary outpost by the Church in Cologne in an effort to Christianize the inhabitants of the Sauerland. As Christianity took hold, a replacement church was built around 850 A.D., and eventually a third church replaced it in about the year 1000. In 1250, a fourth church was constructed, which is the building still in use today. The churchyard is surrounded by a circle of ancient linden trees, and contains a distinctively styled and immaculately maintained cemetery. A booklet for sale in the back of the Church is correctly titled "Der schönste Kirchof der Welt" (The Most Beautiful Churchyard in the World). The Grobbel families who lived in Obringhausen belonged to this Parish.

In 1984, Sister Mary Ann Burbach, C.P.P.S. visited this church while preparing the Arens/Arentz Family Genealogy. She was the granddaughter of Theresa (Arens) Burbach, who was baptised in this church in 1851. For the Arens Genealogy, Sr. Mary Ann wrote a detailed essay on the history of the Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul in Wormbach, which can be read in it's entirety here . Prior to their emigration to the USA in 1869, the Arens family farm was in the village of Werntrop, which is about 3 miles west of Wormbach and 4 miles west of Obringhausen. The only record I have of a marriage between a Grobbel and Arens occurred in 1892 in Dorlar, Germany. Jim Moore of Westwood, CA is Sr. Mary Ann's first cousin, twice removed and he has made her essay available on the Internet.

Each of the headstones has a wooden structure with a slate roof sheltering a crucifix. On the right are the graves of Franz Josef Grobbel and his wife, Elisabeth Schulte. Franz Josef was born on 30 December 1876 in Obringhausen and died there on 24 December 1977 at the age of 100 years. Elisabeth was born in 1883 in Oberberndorf and died in 1960.  
The interior of the Church features a main altar that was comissioned in 1759. The statues in the middle are of St. Peter (the original patron saint of the Parish) and St. Paul. They are flanked by statues of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. On the left side of the picture above is the Pulpit, which was ornately carved in 1710 in the so-called "Grafschaft Baroque" style.  








The ceiling of the church has paintings that date back to the 13th century. The signs of the Zodiac are depicted in three groups of four - two of these groups are shown above. This style of ornamentation is similar to that found at the monastery in nearby Grafschaft.

Scholarly speculation suggests that Wormbach might have been a pre-christian location for sun observation rituals, possibly on the high ridge south of the village (named Egge, which is German for "harrow").

The Village of Wormbach








Left: the village of Wormbach as it appears from the south side of the Church. Right: this road heads south out of town, up and over the Egge ridge, towards the village of Werpe.

All photographs on this page were taken on Easter Sunday, 23 April 2000.

Obringhausen Cobbenrode

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Mike Grobbel
Last revised: 01 March 2003
URL for this page is: http://grobbel.org/genealogy/sauerland/trip/wormbach.htm