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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005, 07:02 PM
Origin of Merelbeke

By K.G. Van Acker

Although no written sources inform us about Merelbeke during the Merovingian period, there are sufficient traces to form an idea of the history of that time. Indications of toponymical nature, geographical data and old maps, the patron saints of the churches and finally the location of the oldest church contain enough clues to give us an impression.

It was assumed that the former church of Merelbeke with Saint-Peter as patron saint, was founded by the Benedictine monks, at first guided by Saint Amandus (+675/676), during the 7th/8th century.

People usually ask why the former church was built in the Scheldt alluvium. We reverse the question and point out that the peculiar location is the evidence of some habitation in that area. Nevertheless it is wrong to think of several houses built next to one another.

During the 7th/8th century there were only a small number of scattered settlements of the Germanic races who had crossed the Rhine in 406. The colonization of our regions did not happen at one time. It was not until the 6the century that they had settled definitively. The missionary work led the Benedictine monks to those settlements. At the most important ones they built a church.

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