Experience the unique peaceful atmosphere of a village church, at a dead-end street in the Scheldt valley. Due to the particular acoustics
and the location, far away from through traffic, several CD’s have been recorded. It was reopened in full glory after the restoration works in 2015-2016. The Saint-Stefanus church is protected as a monument.
It is assumed that the inhabitants of Melsen had been converted in the 8th century. Traces there of have been erased by the Vikings. In 1147, there was already another church
under the patronage of the abbey of Ename.
Nearby you have the vicarage garden and the graveyard. It is accessible through a fence from a rustic square, or through the circular arc gateway inside the cemetery wall and the church road going to the parish center.
It concerns a single-bay church
, with four bays and a square pointed tower. The bay dates from the 15th century and still contains roman elements
. The tower and the choir were annexed or enlarged in 1654-55. You can find the exact year on the choir. The very pointed tower lead to the saying: ‘Melsen, sharp like an elsen’
The most important sights in the church are the sculptures of villager Karel Van Poucke
(1740-1809). They are copies made of plaster, because the marble originals are being preserved elsewhere. One sculpture was shattered during firing of the church in 1918. Karel Van Poucke lived in Melsen and his son Karel (1790-1862) and his grandson Alfred Verhaeghe (1822-1876) were mayor the for years and years.
Furthermore, view the Van Peteghemorgan
(1834), the baptismal font
from the 16th century, panelling and confessionals
from the 17th century, a side altar
fron the 17th century (with the escutcheon of the family Goubau and now also the escutcheon from Melsen), some obituaries
from the 19th and 20th century of the families De Smet-De Naeyer, Verhaeghe, Maelcamps de Landegem and Van der Stichele. The way of the cross
of Michel De Loore dates from the interbellum (1938).
The church is alongside two cycle routes, the Scheldt valley route and the Red Land route, by the Chapel hiking path (alongside Melsen, Schelderode and Vurste).
KIKIRPA : Photo-library online