The first church was located on the left bank of a previous meander of the Scheldt and was part of the castle of the lords of Petegem. It was a wooden single nave church from the ninth century that was later replaced by a single nave church in stone.
In 1921 Guy of Dampierre obtained permission of Pope Nicolas II to move the Saint Martin parish and cemetery to the present-day village centre. The church from this period originally had three naves. It was situated in the middle of a cemetery with monumental headstones. Until 1918 this church had an eighteenth-century appearance: a gable roof, a ship with five bays with low side walls and a square tower with an hexagonal spire.
As a result of heavy bombing in November 1918 the church caught fire and some interesting late Romanesque - early Gothic features of the first church were revealed. The plaster came off and the original stone appeared. The church was reconstructed in its ‘original form’ in 1920-1925. There is a plaque on the right side of the tower. Forty-five centimeters of the church floor were excavated and a new tower was built.
A wooden statue of a crucified Christ, that used to be a part of the former Calvary, was placed against the southern tower facade in 1931. On the inside is a wooden sculpture of Jesus on the cross that dates back to the eighteenth century.
The stained glass windows in the choir come from three different time periods. They represent scenes and images of Saint Martin and Our Lady. Also note the neo-Gothic furniture, the statues from 1921-1923, the high altar and the stone pulpit.
Copyright: All rights reserved