The Church of Vinelz
21 June 2021
The church in Vinelz, in French Fenis (Canton of Bern), is of Romanesque origin. It was first mentioned in 1228. The present choir was built as an extension of a smaller one in the 14th century.
There are still fragments of late Gothic windows made of sandstone and stone from Neuchâtel. The baptismal font in the choir dates from the 13th century. The roof and ceiling were renewed, and the choir wall was raised in 1667. The pulpit and choir stalls also date from this period.
There are remains of murals that were whitewashed during the Reformation around 1530. They come from different periods and partially overlap. Baroque vine work runs like a frieze through the church, decorating the still-existing Romanesque high windows. The three modern stained glass windows were created during the last renovation in 1951.
The ancestor of the Counts of Neuchâtel and Nidau, Ulrich of Fenis or Ulrich the First, resided on the Hasenburg near the village in the 11th century. There are no remains of the Hasenburg nowadays.
However, his two sons are still present: Kuno of Fenis, Bishop of Lausanne (1093-1103) is the founder of Erlach Abbey (or St. Johannsen Monastery), Burkhard of Fenis, Bishop of Basel (1072-1105), built Erlach Castle and perhaps the church in Vinelz.