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Hooglede (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-12-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: hooglede | st. quirinus |
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Presentation of Hooglede

The municipality of Hooglede (9,867 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,784 ha) is located 5 km north-west of Roeselare. The municipality of Hooglede is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Hooglede (5,713 inh.; 2,200 ha) and Gits (4,151 inh.; 1,583 ha).

Hooglede was once known as Ledda, meaning "a high hillside". Due to its strategic location on a height, Hooglede was the place of several historical events. In the XIVth century, Count of Flanders stayed with his troops on the Vossenberg on his way to Kortrijk. In 1794, Hooglede was the place of a battle between the Austrian army commanded by General Clerfayt and the French army commanded by General Pichegru. The French victory contributed to the seizure of Ieper and the end of the Austrian rule in the Low Countries. The German military cemetary of Hooglede, with 8,247 tombs, is one of the four German cemetaries in Belgium, the three other being in Menen, Langemark and Vladslo.
In 2007, Hooglede-Gits was the home of the cyclo-cross world championships, with Erwin Verwecken (Belgium) and Maryline Salvetat (France) as the winners.

Gits was once known as Giddis, a name probably derived from Gidisa. While the suffix -isa is related to a water course, the root gid- is probably an Indo-Germanic form of ghei, "a rushing brook". Gits is one of the cradles of a religious movement known as Stevenism, founded in the beginning of the XVIIIth century by Vicar-General Cornelis Stevens. The Stevenists did not recognize the Concordat signed between Emperor Napoléon I and Pope Pius VII, and asked for the return to the status the Roman Catholic Church had before the French Revolution, especially concerning the appointment of the bishops. After the fall of Napoléon, Stevens reintegrated the official church but the most resolute Stevenists did not follow him. They set up an informal dissident church made of the three sections of Namur-Tournai, Brabant and West Flanders. Jan Priem, the parish priest of Gist, was one of the leaders of the West Flanders section. Since the Stevenists did not recognized the newly appointed bishops and the priests they ordained, the dissident church had to exist without priests after the death of their historical leaders. In 1866, they elected a "Spiritual Father" as their leader; in 1969, Aimé Bausier, the 13th Spiritual Father, was ordained priest - and consecrated Bishop in 1971 - by His Grace Charles Brearley, Archbishop Primate of the Old Catholic Holy Church of England. The church is known today as Petite Eglise Apostolique Vieille Catholique, ruled by His Grace Christian Verstraet.
In 1852, a Stevenist from Gits, Theresia Van Canneyt, traveled to Rome with her fellow Theresia de Croocq, where they were received by Pope Pius IX. The Pope gave them a brief stating that the Stevenists should recognize the bishops of the official church. Back to Gits, they were asked whether they had convinced the Pope, said the truth and were sent back to Rome, where the Pope gave them a second brief with the same statement on 23 January 1853. The Van Canneyt then reconciliated with the Holy See and became examplary. Theresia traveled a third time to Rome and died in the Loreto sanctuary in 1862. As a reward for the reconciliation, Barbara Van Canneyt let build in Gits a Marian chapel with her parents' legacy; the chapel was completely restored in 1985.


Ivan Sache, 22 July 2007

Municipal flag of Hooglede

The flag of Hooglede is yellow with a thin red saltire charged with a white ring in each "corner" and the municipal arms placed in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 3 September 1985 and 8 March 1988, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 14 June 1988 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 16 September 1988.
The flag background (that is the flag excluding the shield) is taken from the arms of the van den Berghe family, owner of the domains of Gits and Ogierlande from the late XVIIth century to the XVIIIth century.

There is a detailed description of the flag and arms on the municipal website. The official description of the flag is:
Gele achtergrond met een rood schuin kruis beladen met vier witte ringen met in het midden een blauw schild met een gele Sint-Quirinus.
The official description of the arms is:
In lazuur een Sint-Quirinus van goud, houdend een ovaal schild van hetzelfde, beladen met negen koeken van het veld waarvan één in het middelpunt en acht zoomsgewijze geplaatst (Azure, a St. Quirinus or, holding a shield oval of the same, charged with nine roundels of the field, one in the middle and the eight other equally placed around it).
The coat of arms recall a famous pilgrimage hold in the town from the XVIIth century to the beginning of the XXth century, related to the relics of St. Quirinus, kept in the St. Amandus church.

According to Servais, the arms of Hooglede were granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 10 November 1819 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 9 July 1840. Since no colours were specified in the application, the Dutch national colours were granted, which were not modified after the independence of Belgium.

The shield with the nine roundels seems to the saint's specific attribute. It is shown on the coat of arms of the village of Saint-Quirin (Moselle, Lorraine, France), "Azure nine roundels or 3 + 3 + 2 + 1". This village keeps the relics of St. Quirin.
The College Saint-Quirin, located in Huy (Belgium) uses a shield "Gules nine roundels or 3 + 3 + 3".

The Réveil des Marmottes website (page no longer online) tells the story of St. Quirinus. There is a St. Quirinus, Bishop of Sisseck, Pannonia, martyrized in the IVth century, but the Quirinus represented as a Roman soldier is clearly the soldier and tribune Quirinus, martyrized under Emperor Trajan (98-117). Quirinus was converted to the Christian religion by St. Hermes. Arrested, he got his tongue cut and given to the birds, which refused to eat it. He got his hands and feet cut and given to dogs, which refused to eat them. He was tied to a horse, but the horse could not draft him. A man was called for help with a cart drafted by oxen, but they all disappear. This was too much for prefect Aurelian, who ordered to behead Quirinus.

Pascal Vagnat, Jarig Bakker & Ivan Sache, 22 July 2007