The history of Wermelskirchen settlement begins with the settlement of the Bergisches Land during the Saxon and Franconian landings from the 7th to 10th centuries. Presumably a small church was built on the site of today’s town church before the year 900.

The place was first mentioned in a document around 1150 as Werenboldeskirken. The place name Wermelskirchen has to be derived from a man named “Werinbold”. A bearer of the name Werinbold is already mentioned in the years 860 to 880 in the vicinity of the Cologne archbishops Gunthar and Willibert.

During the Hanseatic period, Wermelskirchen achieved greater importance in the transport of goods overland. In the 18th century, hauliers from Wermelskirchen were still transporting large quantities of goods for the Düsseldorf court.


In the 19th century, the later urban area of Wermelskirchen initially belonged to the three rural communities Dorfhonschaft, Oberhonschaft and Niederhonschaft in the Lennep district. These three parishes were merged in 1873 to form the parish of Wermelskirchen. Parts of the Niederhonschaft were given to Dhünn and parts of the Oberhonschaft to Remscheid. In the same year, the new municipality of Wermelskirchen was raised to the status of a city and received the Rhenish city code.
In 1885 Wermelskirchen celebrated its millennium. According to the research carried out by his first local chronicle, Peter Josef Heinrichs, a great pageant paid homage to the historicizing zeitgeist. In the vernacular, the Wermelskirchener is also referred to as Dellmann, which goes back to a Wermelskirchen pastor named Gustav Dellmann (* September 20, 1849, † October 28, 1914), who worked in Wermelskirchen from 1881 to 1910.

Shortly before the end of the Second World War, Wermelskirchen was declared a hospital town by Mayor Borcherding, in cooperation with the entrepreneurs Flöring, Jürgens and Wellershaus and the local commandant Major Meiser, in order to protect the town from bombing raids. Nevertheless, large parts of the urban area, in particular the Hünger district, suffered severe damage from a bomber attack on November 4, 1944 because the beacon for the city of Solingen had been driven off. Over 80 deaths in the whole of Wermelskirchen were to be mourned. Refugees from surrounding communities found protection in Wermelskirchen.

Short overview

1150     First mention of the place “Werenboldeskirken”
1200    Construction of a Romanesque church (St. Bartholomäus) with Michael’s chapel in the tower
1230     Mention of the place “Werrenbolzkirgen” in the land register of the St. Andreasstift Cologne
1300     Dhünn is mentioned for the first time in the “Liber Valoris” of the Archdiocese of Cologne
1360     affiliation to the Bornefeld office in the county of Berg
1559     Reformation
1596     the still existing fair (with a big fair) is mentioned
1630     During the Thirty Years’ War the population drops to 500 inhabitants
1679     Post stop of the Thurn- und Taxis’schen Post is mentioned
1704     construction of a small catholic church
1758     a large conflagration destroyed 77 apartments and many outbuildings
1806     Napoleon founded the Grand Duchy of Berg with the main town of Wermelskirchen
1815     Prussian rural community in the Lennep district
1820     Start of industrialization: production of lasting fabrics, plush, ribbons
1834     Dr. Carl Leverkus produces the artificial dye ultramarine
1873     Granting of city rights (granting of the Rhenish City Regulations)
1881     The Lennep – Wermelskirchen – Opladen railway line opens
1886     first industrial production of shoes
1929     Wermelskirchen is assigned to the newly formed Rhein-Wupper district.
1938     Dissolution of the Dabringhausen office. Formation of the Wermelskirchen office.
1945     Declaration as a hospital town and occupation by American troops without a fight.
1960     Commissioning of the municipal hospital
1975      assignment to the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis in the administrative district of Cologne
1988     Commissioning of the Great Dhünntalsperre with 81 million cubic meters of storage volume
2019     End of the extensive renovation of the town hall facade



The original church, consecrated to St. Bartholomew, was first mentioned around 1300 in the liber valoris, but the Romanesque tower from the turn of the 11th to the 12th century, which is still preserved, indicates a higher age.

The right of patronage was owned by the Andreasstift in Cologne.

The Reformation was introduced to the church around 1560.

The preserved four-storey west tower was built from sandstone and tuff and shows a rich structure of pilaster strips, round arch friezes, cloverleaf arches and coupled acoustic arcades. The Michaelskapelle is on the second floor. In 1765 the tower received a new tail hood with a crowning onion tip.