In the middle of the main square in Béthune, France stands a 47-meter (154-foot) belfry that was built from wood in 1346, then rebuilt from sandstone in 1388. Béthune Belfry is the geographical, political, historical, cultural, and emotional center of the city. Among its many functions, it should be remembered that makes it an ideal point of observation to scrutinize the surrounding countryside and prevent danger.
The belfry was built from wood in 1346, then rebuilt from sandstone in 1388
In the spring of 1918, as the end of World War I drew near, the German High Command carried out a series of attacks at various places along the Western Front that became known as the Spring Offensive. They bombarded Béthune’s town center, which burned for more than four days. Though many of the buildings around the main square were destroyed, the sandstone bell tower remained standing with minimal damage. In addition to that, although World War II had some destructive effects on the region, the belfry could survive not to be destroyed.
A local story says that Béthune Belfry inspired J.R.R. Tolkien
Also, a local story holds that Béthune Belfry helped inspire another famous tower. J.R.R. Tolkien was stationed in France during World War I, and his experiences on the Western Front inspired many elements of The Lord of the Rings. Some say that a visit to Béthune during the war and the belfry served as inspiration for The Two Towers.