Willem Vandenameele

Willem Vandenameele

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Gallows tower


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The Galgetoren (gallows tower) is located next to the farm 'Wolvegracht' (Lodistraat 86, Oostkamp).
There was always a veil of secrecy around the tower.
The galgetower is actually a composed monument. This means that it is actually a monument in 2 pieces. There is the hill on which the galgentoren was built and there is the actual tower on it. The galgetoren is significantly younger than the hill.

The hill was built around about 800 AD by the Normans. The Normans had built the hill to have an excellent lookout. In 800 AD there was a mini castle that was used as lookout. The hill was built by hand and is about 15 metres high.

The tower itself was built many centuries later. The main function of the tower was a lookout. The tower used to be equipped with a staircase, but it has now disappeared. During the Spanish occupation the tower served as a gallows. 4 people were tied up in the galgetoren. They say there are still 4 stones in the tower as a reminder of the 4 people who were hung there.
The tower would also have served Baron de Serret, who used it as a lookout for hunting his vast lands. On 30 October 1950, the Municipality of Hertsberge decided to apply for a classification of the hill or mountain of Lodi. When the municipalities were merged, Hertsberge no longer had his own municipal administration and the application fell into oblivion. As well as the tower.

The Flemish Land Agency (VLM) wants to revalue the galgetoren in the plan for redevelopment of bulskampveld. VLM proposes to thin out the plants on the hill and to dredge the moat,
The tower will be restored and the access path to it will be refurbished.
The walled hill is first indicated on the primitive land registry plan (approx. 1835) and described as' jardin dagrément'. The map of the Dépôt de la Guerre (approx. 1865) shows the tower for the first time. This' follie' with delightful place was built by the owner of the nearby castle 'Driekoningen' in Beernem, Baron François-Joseph de Serret (1767-1849). The brick construction has the shape of the hull of a mill. The tapered tower has on two sides a high, pointed arch-shaped opening that overlook the north-eastern direction (castle Driekoningen) and the southern direction (the church of Hertsberge); a third opening was closed.
The surrounding area is now completely coverd with trees (oak and birch with blackburry, eagle fern, broom and hollywood in the undergrowth) making the tower barely visible in the summer period. The moat has a border of black alder and common oak. Via a narrow path around the hill, the tower could be reached. Due to erosion this is no longer possible. Access is now ensured by a wooden staircase. The Galgetoren is included in the architectural heritage of the municipality of Oostkamp and is a protected monument.
The design plan 2011 envisages the consolidation of the Galgetoren. A stability test must be carried out before. The sealed opening will be opened and the spiral staircase will be restored. In addition, the spiral-shaped path to the tower along the hill will be restored and erosion control measures will be taken for the hill. These works awill be carried out by the private owner. The subsidy for land development amounts to 70%, capped at a maximum subsidy of 25,000 euro. A precondition for obtaining this subsidy is at least an annual opening of the tower for the public (e. g. at Open Monumentendag). In cooperation with the regional landscape of Houtland, the private owner will also dredge the moat around the hill and ensure that the plants are thinned out on and around the hill, in order to achieve better visibility of the tower and the hill from the Lodistraat and the Proosdijstraat. For the implementation of these measures, no subsidies are foreseen, they will be carried out with the own resources of the owner and regular project resources of the regional landscape Houtland. However, the implementation of these measures is also a precondition for obtaining the above mentioned subsidies for the consolidation of the Galgetoren and the reconstruction of the spiral path to the tower.
The Galgetoren is located near the junction Lodi. Around 1795 a French soldier called Jean LATOUR in Hertsberge arrived. He went with a local farmer's daughter and wanted to settle there permanently. However, the farmer resisted against the marriage of the Frenchman. The soldier joined his regiment with the legions of Napoleon. In 1802 he returned to Hertsberge and extensively told his story of the battle near the Italian village of LODI. He bought a piece of land at the junction and held a pub at which "Lodi" was displayed. In the First World War, the Germans destroyed the pub. A few years later there was a new pub with the same name. The enlargement of the national road put an end to the pub.
The Italian LODI is located just below MIlaan, in Lombardy. It was built in the middle of the 12° century by Frederik Barbarossa, after the ancient Lodi was completely destroyed at the end of a war against Milan.
On the famous bridge over the ADDA, Napoleon defeated the Austrians in 1796, bringing it into Lombardy's hands.

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