The church of the Exaltation of the Cross was originally a gothic church, typical for Flemish coastal churches, enlarged with a neo-gothic nave.The devotion to the Holy Cross dates back to the 16th century when, according to legend, a cross was hauled from the sea near the shore of Wenduine. From the 17th century on, a brotherhood of the Holy Cross was established. Each year, on the monday of Pentacost the story of the legend is re-enacted in a mass spectacle, followed by the blessing of the sea, a 200-year old tradition.
Between 1183 and 1187, the modest chapel in Wenduine was upgraded to a fully independent parish church. Around 1290, aisles and side chancels were added, resulting in the octagonal tower being placed in the middle of the church (crossing tower) instead of at the end. Since then the tower serves as a sea beacon manned by a tower watchman.
During the iconoclasm in 1566, the church was partly demolished and used as stable for horses by the army. In the 17th century the church was restored. The dilapidated parts were demolished in 1719 but, as the parish grew, new investments followed. In 1900, Wenduine was a lively seaside resort and in summer the church was too small for all the holiday makers and an extension became necessary.
Architect Alphonse Depauw designed a new lower church in 1906. Restoration of the tower with a new spire followed.
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