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Brief history of the organ and St. Martinus church of Haringe.

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Willemijns 1866


Hè j'èèn keè doa deur 't dorp ègoan,
hè j'èèn keë d'oude kerke èzien,
je zegt: Hoe kut dat nog bestoan?
Haringe! GIE zyt ètwien!

Je leest de ruste van de doaken
lik of dat 't eëuwen vroeger wos;
Je kut "r nie meë weg van roaken,
't e' laat je nie-meë los!

Wil j'èèn moment in God verzinken,
dat ku-je nog in Haringe leër'n.
Hoör je èèn keë 't oud orgel klinken
je got 'r weere keër'n.



Once you have walked through the village,
once you have seen the old church.
you will say: How is it possible
that this is still here? Haringe!

The roofs speak of peace
like it was in ages past;
You cannot leave it and
it cannot leave you.

You will never forget it

Lose yourself in God,
and what you'll learn is this:
Once you've heard the old organ sound,
you must return again.

poem: Joris Declercq (Djoos Utendoale)*

The first church probably was small and made of wood, replaced in the 9th century by bricks.
In the following turbulent centuries there was plundering and destruction by soldiers from France, the Vikings and Beggars. By 1587, Haringe was practically depopulated.
After that, the former citizens slowly returned and started rebuilding the church. After 1660, no further changes of any significance took place.
The architecture is neo-gothic and fits in well with the Roman remnants (the arch between the two westerly pillars and the substructure of the tower)
In the 17th and 18th centuries the interior of the church was gradually embellished and "furnished''. During the last restoration (1968-1981) the painted and plastered walls, the baroque-altars, the woodlining and the furniture came to full glory again.

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Djoos Utendoale

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Above the sturdy entrance there is a half-relief of Saint Martin.

Saint Martin is based on a legend.
Martin was born in what is now Hungary. He joined the army of the Romans en became an officer. The Emperor made him a knight.
On a very cold winterday, Maarten saw a poor man without a coat in the snow. He stepped off his horse, cut his own coat in two halves with his sword and gave the man one half against the cold.

In some parts of Flanders and the Netherlands November 11 is the memorial day of St. Martin.
The organ of Haringe.

What possessed the sculptor who out of dead oak wood made a living work of art, with harmoniously placed angels, playing musical instruments?
Had he heard the wonderful sound of the organ and did he wish to match it?
Masters of art worked here together and after two hundred years, this miraculous work is still always a joy for eye and ear. Drawing the stops opens a wonderful world of montre, warm flutes, crumhorn.
Organ of Haringe, thou beautiful piece of heaven, we hope to enjoy and love your sound for many years now and in the future.

A free translation of the prose from Djoos Utendoale*

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The organ builders.

In 1777 it was decided to demolish the old organ and to build a new one.
The reverend Franciscus Voormezele, he was then priest of Haringe, was a passionate music-lover.
Thanks to him Haringe is in the possession of its beautiful organ, built by the organmaker Pieter Van Peteghem in Gent. (1708-1797) In 1733 he settled in Gent. Soon he was a famous organbuilder and he outperformed all his fellow organ builders.

The organ was ordered for in 1778, and was finished and placed in a year. The cost was "far above 5000, close to 6000 guilders".
The sculptor was Jean Elshoecht, born in Brussel but later living and working in St. Winoksbergen (Bergues, French-Flandres). For his exceptional work of art he received 350 French crowns.

On 17th of april 1779 the first performance concert on the organ took place. Pastor Voormezele was very sick. The story tells us that the door of the church was wide open and in the vicarage the pastor could hear the organ. Two days later the art loving shepherd died.

The organ is maybe the most original of all organs made by the dynasty Van Peteghem. It survived not only by it's solid construction but there were never changes. The stops were never adjusted to the different tastes and trends during the centuries. Currently it still has its original structure.
The exceptional pedalsystem and, the old "trommelenspel", are the only ones of their kind well preserved and still in use!

Sources, cited with permission of Dirk Coutigny, the present organist of Haringe:
't Lied van mijn dorp.
Text and drawings: Joris Declercq/ Djoos Utendoale.
Joris Declercq ( 1921-1981) was a priest-missionary and a many-sidedness artist. He was pastor of Haringe.

Haringe zijn kerk en orgel uitgave van Kultuurgemeenschap Haringe.

With our thanks to: "De Vrienden van het Historisch Van Peteghem orgel"van Haringe.
And a special word of thank to:
Dirk Coutigny, Paul Recour, sister Agnes and father Jozef Van Acker for their hospitality, expertise and kindness.

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Corrections by John Coenraads®.
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