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Lede (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Lede]

Municipal flag of Lede - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 17 September 2006

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Presentation of Lede and its villages

The municipality of Lede (17,195 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,969 ha) is located in the middle of a triangle limited by Aalst, Ghent and Dendermonde. The municipality of Lede is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Lede (10,612 inh. ; 1,211 ha), Impe (956 inh.; 276 ha), Oordegem (2,717 inh.; 874 ha), Smetlede (1,099 inh.; 403 ha) and Wanzele (1,072 inh.; 147 ha) and of the hamlet of Papegem (449 inh.; 58 ha), which was part of the former municipality of Vlierzele (the remaining part of that municipality was incorporated into Sint-Lievens-Houtem).
Lede should not be confused with the former municipality of Wannegem-Lede, today incorporated in Kruishoutem, near Oudenaarde.

Lede was in the Middle Ages the most important of the several domains of the neighborhood (Ronkenburg, Merem, Ginderop, Ter Borch, Kerrebroek, Nieuwenmeers and Lede). It was a Barony which became a Marquisate in 1633. Emmanuel Ferdinand Bette, last Marquis of Lede, died in 1792 without children. Industry developed in Lede after the building of the railway Brussels-Ghent in 1856. A few breweries and cloth factories were opened, which were all closed in the 1960-1980s. The St. Martin church houses a miraculous, 75-cm pieta from the XVth century. The 75-cm high, polychromous statue comes from Rhineland and has been venerated since 1414. A famous Marian procession has been organized in Lede since then.

Impe was already listed in a chart of the abbey of Affligem dated 1164. In 1630, the king ceded Impe and Hofstade to William Bette, Baron of Lede, whose family kept the domain until 1792. Impe has kept one of its two watermills, the Riddermolen; the oldest mention of a grain mill in Impe dates back to 1430.

Oordegem belonged successively to several families, including the Mastaing and the Vilain, until the end of the XVIIIth century. It was then transferred to the Dukes of Laragnais. The Fauconnier mill was named after its builder in 1845; it was used as an oil and grain mill until 1900, then only as a grain mill. It was completely restored after a blaze in 1976.

Smetlede was part of Oordegem until 17 January 1793. The patron saint of the village is St. Pharaildis (aka Farahilde or Veerle), invoked against diseases of farmyard birds. St. Pharaildis (d. 710) is the patron saint of the town of Ghent and is venerated in Belgian and French Flanders.

Wanzele was granted by Charles V to Adriaan Bette in 1537. The domain belonged to Theodor van Roosendaal, from Antwerp, from 1683 to the early 1700s, when it was returned to the Bette. The coat of arms of the Bette is shown above the entrance of the church, which was built by Marquis Emmanuel.

Papegem is a small hamlet who had until recently no street names. The patron saint of the village is saint Macharius. There are several saints bearing this name; the patron of Papegem is most probably saint Macharius the Armenian, a monk who died in Ghent in 1042.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 17 September 2006

Municipal flag of Lede

The municipal flag of Lede is blue with three yellow tau-crosses placed 2 and 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 29 June 1982, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 5 November 1984 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Servais, the very same arms were used by the former municipality of Schellebelle until its incorporation into the municipality of Wichelen in 1976. The arms were granted on 1 February 1932, recalling that the Bette got the domain of Schellebelle in the XVth century. Wichelen kept the Schellebelle arms in the base of its new arms, adding in the upper half of the shield a field or with two opposed lions gules, and retaining only the colours of the arms on its flag.

The symbolic of the tau in relation with St. Anthony is explained on the website of the Georges Turpin Museum of Parthenay (Poitou, France). Summarizing the French text:
Tau is the last letter of the Hebraic alphabet. It means symbolically the end, as the accomplishment of the revelation of God's Word. Prophet Ezekiel (Ez. 9 ; 4) uses the tau in order to encourage the people of Israel to remain loyal to God until the end and to be symbolically "marked" on the forehead with the tau, which shows they are the people elected by God until the end of their life. In modern Hebrew, the letter tav (ת) has lost its ancient crossed shape. The early Christian writers used the Greek version of the Bible known as the Septuagint or LXX, in which the Hebraic letter tau is rendered into a Greek tau (Τ), similar to the Latin T. For the Christians, tau became the representation of Jesus' cross and a symbol of redemption.
Anthony was the heir of a rich family. He heard once in a church a sermon quoting the Lord telling the young rich man to sell his goods to the benefit of the poor and to follow him. Anthony understood it was a personal message sent to him by God, sold his goods and retired in the Egyptian desert, where he lived in a tomb dug into a rock. He was quickly joined by several Christians wanting to retire from the world and to dedicate their life to God. St. Anton is considered as the archetype of the monk and the inventor of monachism, especially by the Eastern Churches. The legend says that old St. Anthony leaned on a tau-shaped staff. When he visited one of his disciples, he sticked his staff near the entrance of the cave or the hut, meaning: "Don't disturb, Anthony is speaking of God".
At the end of the XIth century, a disease causing gangrene, convulsions, insanity and death spread over Europe. The monks of the Order of St. Anthony specialized in treating the victimes, so that the disease was nicknamed St. Anthony's fire. At the end of the XVth century, the monks ran 370 hospitals and produced the famous St. Anthony's Balsam and Holy Winage, made with several plants. The monks used to bear the tau-cross as an amulet against St. Anthony's fire and skin diseases. St. Francis of Assisi probably worked with the St. Anthony monks; he said that his conversion was motivated by a meeting with Jesus as a leper and later adopted as his own seal and signature a T.
St. Anthony's fire is now today as ergotism, a disease caused by alkaloids contained in the fruiting bodies (ergots) produced by a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) on rye and other grains. It is believed that the monks of the Order of St. Anthony were careful farmers and had extended knowledge in agronomy, so that grain from their farms was only marginally infected by ergot compared to the other farmers' grain.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2006