Schloß Pesch pre- and post-renovation

Much has changed at Schloß Pesch since the 1970s. Back then, the schloss was abandoned and in a state of disrepair with peeling paint, cracked plaster, its grounds wild and overgrown. Since then it has been extensively renovated and turned into upmarket apartments. The park has been tamed and the ghosts are firmly discouraged. I found these two videos online which capture the transformation which has taken place.

The renovation of the chapel at Schloss Pesch

A number of people have contacted me with questions about the chapel at Schloß Pesch and in particular about what it looked like before the renovation. For those who have not visited Schloß Pesch, the former chapel is situated to the left of the schloss as you approach it, slightly set back from the Rentei (staff quarters) which is the building with the clock tower.

To get a better impression of how the old chapel used to look and what changes have been made to it, there is an excellent collection of photographs on the architect’s website. Well worth a browse.

Pre-renovation view of the Rentei at Schloss Pesch with the ruined chapel in the background

Old stories about Meerbusch

One of the characters in The Devil’s Missal is a collector of stories. He travels around the various villages of Meerbusch talking to residents, gathering their tales of times past and present, trawling through old photographs, letters and diaries.

As a rural community, many of the anecdotes will have been about life on the land, which has seen great changes in the past century. It seems strange to think that only eighty years ago there were still farmers ploughing with oxen or horses in the area.

The St. Pankratius chapel in Ossum, Meerbusch

One of the secret treasures of Meerbusch is the beautiful chapel of Saint Pankratius at Ossum.

St. Pankriatus Church was built in the 12th century as a private chapel to the Court of Grevenhof. The chapel itself is first documented in 1186, but Roman hand millstones, which were used in the construction of the choir of the chapel, and archeological finds dating from the Carolingian era indicate much earlier settlements.

Unlike other own churches in the region, St. Pankratius never became an independent parish church, but remained as a subsidiary branch of St. Stephanus church in Lank Latum.

In 1868 the Romanesque choir had fallen into disrepair and had to be demolished. It was replaced with a new neo-Romanesque polygonal choir. From 1900, an increase in the local population necessitated the building of an extension of the chapel on the western side.

In The Devil’s Missal the chapel provides a resonant setting for one of the crucial scenes in the story.