PICTURE GALLERY OF Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove

Saint Gery Church


Cities, Town and villages of South-East-Flanders


Though no document has been found yet to proof the statement, it is quite certain that the Romanesque church of Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove (now part of the City of Zottegem, Belgium), was built in the 11th century. The first source mentioning the church dates back to 1172, mentioning that the patronage of the church was given to the Our Lady Abbey of the Norbertines in Mont-Saint-Martin, France, close to the City of Cambrai (Kamerijk).

The one nave church is rather large : 16.51 meter long inside and 7 meter wide. Among the materials used are limestone from Tournai (Belgium), sandstone from Balegem (Belgium), roof tiles originating from the Roman era, and particularly local iron-standstone. A large quantity of Roman roof tiles were bricked in a fish bone motif in the west facade, at both sides of the porch.

During the second half of the 13h century, the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Martin commissioned the expansion of the church with a narrow northern aisle, reusing the original material (iron-stone, sand stone, Roman roof tiles). Probably in 1460-80, the east tower, choir, northern transept arm and a frame with 3 windows in the Romanesque west facade were added.

The roof of the choir is higher than that of the nave. Beautifully profiled bricks surround the windows of the choir. A large late-Gothic window in the south facade improves the light capacity inside the church.

Another two remarkable characteristics of the Saint-Gery Church should be mentioned :

1. During the Middle Ages, the graveyard was leveled down, resulting in the Gothic corpse door (door through which corpes were carried from the church into the graveyard) ending up way below the Romanesque corpse door. However, in modern times, the graveyard was leveled up, again, with at least one meter.

2. The tower has two masks in iron-sandstone, with primitive indications of eyes, nose and mouth (see picture above). The origins and functions of these masks are unknown.

The church was classified as an important monument on November 4, 1943.

Sources: Koenraad DE WOLF,

1. Architectuurgids Zuid-Oost-Vlaanderen. Romaanse Bouwkunst (1000-1225). , 1996, pp. 19, pp. 68-69.
(English translation: Architectural Guide of South-East-Flanders. Romanesque Architecture (1000-1225).)

2. Architectuurgids Zuid-Oost-Vlaanderen. Gotische Bouwkunst (1225-1625). , 1997, p.75.
(English translation: Architectural Guide of South-East-Flanders. Gothic Architecture (1225-1625).)