Church of Our Lady (Kortrijk) - History


This church has a long construction history that began in the 13th century. The church played a mayor role in the history of the County of Flanders. The church was situated within the domain of the Counts of Flanders which was, except the part along the River Lys, fully walled. The church was part of the first castle of Kortrijk.

After the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302, which took place nearby on the Groeningekouter, the Flemish people hung 500 Golden Spurs of killed French knights on the ceiling of the church. Mercenaries took them away, in 1382 after the Battle of Roosebeke. They were replaced by replicas which can still be seen in the church.

In 1370, Count Louis II of Flanders had the Count’s chapel built to be a mausoleum for he himself and to honour the holy Catharina. The Chapel contains paintings of all the rulers of Flanders.

During the 15th century, the church was renovated. The castle wasn't restored and the domain was parcelled out (O.L.V.-straat, Konventstraat, Guido Gezellestraat, Kapittelstraat and Pieter de Cockelaerestraat). Only the church, the Broeltowers and the Artillery tower are the remains of the medieval castle.

In 1797, French troops invaded the church and together with 12 convents, chapels and churches, the church was sold. Thanks to the concordate between Napoleon Bonaparte and Pope Pius VII, the church became the parish church of the parish of Our Lady.

Guido Gezelle was priest of this parish between 1872 and 1889.

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