8650 Merkem (Houthulst)
01 July - 31 August
Mon 13.00 - 17.00
Sat 13.00 - 17.00
Sun 13.00 - 17.00
The late Gothic Saint Bavo church was severely bombarded by the French artillery during the first World War. Almost the entire village was razed to the ground.
The church was reconstructed during the early twenties based on the pre-war plan (one nave, two aisles and a western tower) by A. Janssens, an architect from Ghent. Bricks were recycled from various churches from Merkem, Woumen (Dixmude) and the dovecote of Newport.
On June 29, 1924 the nearly completed church started to be used again. The new clocks were inaugurated in 1925, followed by the stained glass windows. In the meantime the church tower became protected heritage. On the right side of the church stands a Holy Heart statue as a tribute to the civil and military casualties of both wars.
The white plastered walls of the interior are filled with neo-Gothic furniture from the twenties. There is a painting of the Calvary hanging above the bluestone head altar (1924). The side altars are dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Bavo. The bluestone baptismal font consists of a hexagonal basin on a pedestal and it is enclosed by a wrought iron fence.
The nave and the choir are roofed by a wooden pointed barrel vault ceiling with polychromatic wooden ribs. Also note the panelling, green-black glazed tiles in the choirs and brown-black glazed tiles in the nave.
Saint Bavo is the patron saint of the falconers. He is called against failure of the harvest, lung and throat infections and the whooping cough. He is often portrayed holding a sword and a falcon.
Inventaris van het onroerend erfgoed