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Maarkedal (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: maarkedal | schorisse | chevron (red) |
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[Flag of Maarkedal]

Municipal flag of Maarkedal - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 15 January 2007

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Presentation of Maarkedal and its villages

The municipality of Maarkedal (6,460 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,663 ha) is located 10 km south of Oudenaarde. The municipality of Maarkedal was formed in 1976 by the merging of the former municipalities of Etikhove, Maarke-Kerkem, Nukerke and Schorisse. The name of the new municipality means "The Valley (dal) of the Marke".

Etikhove, meaning "Atto's estate", was known as Attingohova (1116), Atinchoven and Atingohova (1117) and Atickhove (XIIIth century). Prehistorical and Roman remains have been found in Etikhove, for instance tombs with bones, vases, urns and coins from Emperor Gordian III (235-244). Charlemagne's son, Emperor Louis le Débonnaire (778-840) granted Etikhove to the abbey of Inde, located near Aachen. In the Middle Ages, Etikhove formed a single domain with Kerkem. The most famous lords of Etikhove, the Ladeuze, came from Wallonia to Etikhove in the XVth century; they are said to have introduced the Burgundy snails in Flanders. During the religious wars, Etikhove was a Protestant (Geuzen) stronghold; the local Protestant temple was suppressed at the end of the XIXth century.
Etikhove is known for the artists' colony that existed in the village from 1926 to 1937. The soul of the colony was the painter from Aalst Valerius De Saedeleer (1867-1941), who lived on the Bossenare hill in the Tynlon villa (named after the house where he had settled in Wales during the First World War) from November 1921 to 1937. In 1926, the painter, who wanted to revive the Flemish art of carpet and tapestry, opened a weaving workshop in Etikhove. In the next months, several famous artists visited Etikhove, including the painters Chagall, Modigliani, Sonia Delaunay, Jean Milo, Edgard Tytgat, Maurice De Vlaminck, Ossyp Zadkine, Georges Minne and Ramah, the writers Stijn Streuvels, Karel Van De Woestijne, Paul van Ostayen and Herman Teirlinck, and politicians like Paul-Henri Spaak. Some of the guests were lodged at the tavern De Vos, where the Haesaerts brothers, Maes, Ramah, Milo and Tytgat "refreshed" the walls, covering them with humoristic frescoes.
De Saedeleer closed his workshop in 1930 and left Etikhove in 1937. He was succeeded until 1945 in the Tynlon villa by his son-in-law, the painter Léo Piron (1899-1962). In the tavern, the frescoes were covered with wall papers and rediscovered only in 1972, the tavern being then called Sjuule. The paintings were classified as national art treasures on 9 February 1978, which did not prevent their destruction in 1987 after the sale of the tavern.

Schorisse was known in Latin as Scornacum and in French as Escornaix; this name is related to a wet environment (in geography, the schorre is the part of the coast that is covered by the sea only during higher tides, harbouring a very specific, salt-tolerant vegetation). In the Ancient Regime, Schorisse was a powerful Barony of Flanders, including the parishes of Schorisse, Mater, Zegelsem, Horebeke, Rozebeke, St. Blasius-Boekel, Elst and Welden.
The founder of the Schorisse lineage was Arnould I, from the powerful lineage of Gavere, who fought with his father and brothers against the King of France in Bouvines in 1214. He served later as a Councillor of Countess Jeanne of Flanders and as her Ambassador at the French court. He is mentioned in the Cartularium of the abbey of Ename, to which he bequeathed several goods after having taken the coat in a monastery in Ghent.
Jean I (d. 1301) fought during the battle of Woeringen that opposed Brabant and Limburg. He was sent to the Pope by Count of Flanders Gui de Dampierre to require the cancellation of the marriage of the count's daughter, Philippine, with the son of the King of England, so that the latter could marry the daughter of the King of France; the Pope, however, did not want to be involved in the affair.
Jean II (d. 1313) probably took part to the battle of the Golden Spurs near Kortrijk in 1302. Arnoud IV was Counciller of Count of Flanders Lodewijk van Male, as was his son Arnould V (d. 1386), who became one of the richest men in Flanders thanks to his marriage with Jeanne de Roye but saw his castle plundered by the Ghent militias. Arnould VII was apparently not very smart and his wife Marie d'Aumont ruled their domain; both died in 1463.
Arnould VIII was the tenth and last lord of Schorisse. In 1452, he organized, with his brother-in-law Simon de Lalaing, the defense of Oudenaarde, besieged by 30,000 militians from Ghent. The besiegers threatened to kill two children captured from Oudenaarde, to which Lalaing answered: "I was a knight before being a father". After having being told that an army led by the Count of Etampes came to help them, the burghers of Oudenaarde rushed nightly out of the town, killed 3,000 besiegers, repelled the others and forced them to abandon their famous, 15-feet long canon called Dulle Griet. Arnould's unique daughter, Jacqueline, died without a heir and the Barony of Schorisse was transferred to a grand-son of Jacqueline's uncle, Charles de Lalaing. The once beautiful water castle of Schorisse, shown in the XVIIth-century Flandria Illustrata by Sanderus, was progressively abandoned and eventually ruined in 1890.

Schorisse is the birth village of Omer Wattez (1857-1934), a German teacher in the Royal Colleges of Tournai and Antwerp, mostly known as "The Father of the Flemish Ardennes". Between 1888 and 1914, Wattez, encouraged by his friends Isidoor Teirlinck and Reimond Stijns, published 25 vivid short stories on south-eastern Flanders; a group of 31 short stories was later published as Zuid-Vlaandersche Novellen (South-Flemish Short Stories). Wattez coined the expression Vlaamse Ardennen in his short story Lentefantazij (Spring Fantasy) in 1888, and published in 1890 in Ghent the first version of De Vlaamse Ardennen, subtitled Een tochtje in het Zuiden van Vlaanderen (A small trip in the Southern Flanders). Like many other Flemish writers of the time, he expressed his concerns about the decline of the local culture and the increasing supremacy of the French language, as well as several, modern, environmentalist's concerns. He is considered as the inventor of tourism in the region and a precursor of ecotourism. Near the end of his life, Wattez wrote on 16 December 1934: Nu verlang ik naar de lente om nog eens naar mijn geboortedorp te komen en er berg-op berg-af te wandelen en mijn goede vrienden te bezoeken. (Now I am eagerly waiting for spring in order to come back once again to my birth village and stroll there uphill and downhill and to visit my good friends.)
The Omer Wattez Foundation promotes in 19 municipalities and some 120 villages the protection of the environment of the Flemish Ardennes.

Nukerke was known in 1116 as Nova Ecclesia (New Church). The village belonged to the Barony of Pamele. The painter Léon Piron lived there in the Daelbosch house, where he died in 1962. Johanna Vandergheynst, the mother of Charles V's daughter later known as Margaretha van Parma, was from Nukerke.


Ivan Sache, 15 January 2007

Municipal flag of Markedaal

The municipal flag of Maarkedal is horizontally divided black-yellow-green with a red chevron overall.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag and arms were adopted by the Municipal Council of 25 June 1981, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 10 March 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
On the flag, the colours of the stripes are taken from the current arms of Maarkedal, whereas the chevron is taken from the former arms of Schorisse.

The arms of Maarkedal are "Quartered first and fourth or a cross sable second and third or five fesses gules an escutcheon or a double tressure flory vert a chevron gules overall". The escutcheon is made of the former arms of Schorisse, blazoned as Goud met dubbele streep-binnenzoom van sinopel, gelelied binnen en buiten, met keper van keel over het geheel. These are the arms of the feudal lords of Schorisse; the Wijnbergen Roll of Arms shows them for Jean de Gavre (#1237) whereas the Gelre Armorial (late XIVth century) shows them for Arnould de Gavre, lord of Escornaix (Die He v. Scoors, #935, folio 80v).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 November 2006