Future Pilgrims' Chapel
On the ground floor of the east end of the southern side building of the castle is an ancient room with vaulted ceiling. Its history is not documented or was lost when the castle's archive was taken by Russian troops in 1945.
The castle gardener to 1945, Mr. Hennig and his family lived for a long time in the apartment above the chapel. He used the chapel as storage for coal and as a chicken run. He even made a large hole in the southern wall through which his hens could go inside and out.
Villagers say that this beautiful room was a stable for horses as the coach house was next door but none of the oldest villagers could actually state that they had ever seen horses in it, so it was long before their time, if at all. The original stables were already on the map in 1617 next to where the Gutsverwalterhaus was built in 1800 and also have a vaulted ceiling but the pillars are much wider apart. Whlst the room may at some stage have had horses in it, they must have been very small ones indeed, as the pillars are so close to each other, only about 1 meter apart and too small for the average horse. Furthermore, the width of the room would not allow for hayboxes.
A usage as sheep-stables can be discounted, as the huge sheep stables were already on the map in 1617. The method of construction with sandstone carved pillars was also too expensive to be used as a pigsty.
At the north-eastern end of the chapel, more than a hundred years ago a hole was made through the ceiling and a staircase was built in to reach the gardener's apartment above. At the end of WWII this staircase was removed and located next door but the ceiling must still be restored. The retirement home changed the gardener's apartment into offices but it was changed back into an apartment in 2003.
The roof trusses above the gardener's apartment are of a slightly different structure to those over the rest of the building.
It is thought that there was an altar on the west side of the chapel. At this point, there is no water canal as there is along the rest of the middle passage and the two sandstone pillars at that end are also slightly shorter than all the others.
In the 1980s the retirement home changed the room into a coffee and television lounge for the residents, with a built in kitchen room on the south side and a shower room with access from the west side, accessed through a door broken through the ancient wall. The walls were panelled with pine wood and the floor was tiled with ceramic tiles.
When Roderick Hinkel first entered this room it was clear to him that the original use had been much different. Now that the floor has been excavated by about 1 metre to the original level, with the high sandstone pillars and vaulted ceiling, the visitor has the impression of being in a cathedral and feels rather small.
Some experts have confirmed that this room must have been used for prayers as the vaulted ceiling comes down to points (so-called St. Andrew's cross) which were only ever plastered in this fashion for places of worship. It is known that there was a church in Börln in 1346 but nobody knows quite where it was.
As this room was on the moated fort island and directly adjacent to the fort, it would have been protected in times of trouble. Some stonemasons were of the opinion in 2004 that it was built in the 12th/13th Century. Another expert from Dresden was also of this opinion in may 2009, after inspecting the building.
The Italian Surrealism artist William Tode who has written two books on the subject is convinced the room was a chapel of the Knights Templar.
Intensive research under way since 1987 in this region found that it was inhabited 5,000 to 7,000 years ago in the "Young Stone Age" during which there were holy places always 3km apart, on lines stretching to Delphi, Jerusalem and Stonehenge.
The location of the room fits well into the description of the other holy places from that time "between water and a high place" and the church in Börln is on a high place whereas this location is between the church and the lake.
In 2004 during excavations of the floor, very ancient stones were found, the remnants of a heathen well from this time, possibly with healing qualities. The Reverend Martin Carlitz who is an expert in this field, is convinced that this chapel's location is on the site of a very ancient place of worship.
He wrote the following:
The discovery in Börln makes one think of Paradise as in the Book of Revelations.
The water table level in this part of the building is amazing. It is significantly lower than the neighbouring lake. Possibly the moat allows for this, being between the building and the lake.
On the north east side there is an underground well between the stones, the water only comes forth at this point.
During excavations between the pillars in the passage and at the level of the base of the pillars an approximately 20cm wide water canal was found.
7 pillars were erected on either side of the middle of the canal, at a distance of 1.04 metres from the middle. Possibly due to the nature of the soil, the distance varies between 1.22 and 1.46 metres. The pillars in the direction of the lake are 10cm deeper than on the courtyard side.
The 70cm high pillar bases are octagonal. The round pillars rise to a height of 1.7 metres above which is another octagonal cap carrying a square stone plate on which the vaults start.
This begs the question, who would build 7 pillars on each side of the small water channel and why? It must have been important to him, otherwise he would not have laid such weight on the distance to the canal relative to the pillars.
This is the symbolism from Revelations:
"He showed me a stream of the living waters, clear as crystal, flowing from the Throne of God and the Lamb. On both sides of the Stream in the middle of the path a Tree of Life, which bears fruit twelve times and brings its fruit each month, and the leaves of the Tree serve to heal the Nations."
That the seventh pillars on both sides are divided and are half-pillars against the walls, extends the path from Eternity to Eternity, but also 7, the holy Number of God to the Easter Number 8 of the 8th Day, that overrides and completes the old Covenant.
This means that the central pillar corridor of all churches have this thought background of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
The question remains, why and by whom a small water channel could be so decorated, so time consuming and yet simple. Was perhaps another cult first here and christianised so that it was not later destroyed, as was the Devil's Stone near Frauwalde?
The excavation of the canal and the discoveries associated with it will pose many new questions, which will later lead to possible new knowledge.
Thallwitz, 22.11.2004. Reverend Martin Carlitz
St. James' Shell (Signpost) in Börln
Journeymen at work
In 2006 many journeyman stonemasons held their summer festival at Börln's castle. With donations of materials, tools, transport and accommodation they made a start on restoring the chapel's pillars. Some replacement parts were sculpted to restore the pillars which had been damaged over generations. The work was carried out after due planning with the Monument Authority.
Future Plans - Pilgrims' Chapel on the St. James Way
It is interesting to think how this room may have been used in the past. Any other information is always welcome. We take all opinions of experts and sceptics alike to heart, as they are all important. The future use is equally important to us as the history. There is still much work to be done before the room can be consecrated for use by the many pilgrims who pass by on the St. James Way to Santiago da Compostela in Spain. This room shall be a place of rest and contemplation for them. It offers a wonderful quietness in which one can thank his/her Creator. May all who visit this room and pray here receive many blessings.
Text and all images unless specifically mentioned Copyright (C) 2016-26 Roderick Hinkel