Having interpreted the building traces and surviving archival sources of St. John’s Church it proved possible to reconstruct most of the building history. The earliest known church structure on this site was probably a thirteenth century brick, single-nave construction. In the fourteenth century the church was extended and the western tower was built. In 1390 a triple-nave brick hall church was being constructed. The size of the bays was half the size of the current bays. The architecture demonstrated an affinity with churches like the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. Between 1475 and 1510, the church was widened by adding two side-aisles and extended lengthways by a basilica choir with a five-sided ambulatory. The size of the nave’s bay remained unchanged, but for the choir a broader bay was built. The ambulatory has broad gables with wide stained-glass windows and bears a great resemblance to that of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam and that of the former Nieuwezijds Kapel in the same city. Around 1510 the church was decided to become a basilica and the outside side-aisles were turned into side-chapels, with bays that were twice the size of those of the nave. This concept also refers back to the architecture of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. In 1552, the church was destroyed by fire. The renovation work offered the opportunity to double the size of the nave’s bay and this gave the church interior a great sense of unity and space. The lateral axis became as important in width as the longitudinal layout and the inner side-aisles. Cornelis Frederickszn van der Goude was the master builder involved. The restoration was finished in course of the seventies of the sixteenth century. In 1590 the clerestory was finished, and after it had been placed on the nave, a new section was placed on the highest section of the tower. This section was designed by builder and bricklayer Dirck Luyten. It emerges that not much was changed to the building itself in the centuries that followed. It was as late as the eighteenth century before the interior was modernised. At the end of the nineteenth century the church was in need of restoration. This began in 1898 and ended (with a little pause during World War II) in 1980. In the past decades St. John’s Church and the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam have both mistakenly been regarded as the Hague hall-type. The churches of the Hague hall-type have a triple-aisle layout and transepts that are situated one after the other with roofs that cut through the nave which is of equal height. St. John’s and the Oude Kerk have a five-aisle floor plan of which only the outermost aisles are side-chapels. The architecture of St. John’s Church has been influenced more by interregional developments rather than local ones, which may be expected when one considers that Gouda belonged to the six most important Dutch cities in the Middle Ages and that St. John’s has always been the only parish church of the town
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