Saint Walburga, Oudenaarde

Oudenaarde, pearl of the Flemish Ardennes bathed by the Scheldt, was celebrated in times gone by for its manufacturing of tapestries and its goldsmithing workshops. The evidence for this is found in the church itself and in the town hall. Oudenaarde is also the homeland of the illuminator Tavernier (15th century) and of the painter Adriaan Brouwer (17th century). The collegial church of Saint Walburga has fourteen chapels, one of which is consecrated to Saint Barbara, patron saint of weavers. The folder and the plan of the church indicate the location of the paintings, the tapestries, the retables, the stained glass windows, the tombstones, etc. The church has always been richly furnished, but unfortunately it was completely pillaged in 1566. The altars and the furnishings are therefore from a later date. At the beginning of 2006, the altar, the lectern and the organ in the choir were replaced. Currently in the winter only the choir of the church is used to say mass. It is for this reason that the choir is separated from the central nave by a tall wall of glass. The church consists of two half-churches combined, recognisable from the use of different materials. From the older church, dating from the 12th century, there remains the central choir and the two lateral naves. Then the builders started to construct a new church beside the old one, but in 1532 it was decided to incorporate the old church in the new one. In 1627, the tower was completed. But in 1804 a lightning strike destroyed the spire of the tower; unfortunately it has not been rebuilt since.