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» Ruins old church Lapscheure
The ruins of the first church of Lapscheure
near the Lapscheurse Gat, 8340 Lapscheure [gps]
The first church of Lapscheure was located on a totally different spot as the present one, close to the current Zeedijk. There are plans to protect the site and to consolidate the remains.
This first church was erected in the 13th century, on the place where there already used to be an auxiliary chapel of the church of Oostkerke. The oldest part of the romanesque - early gothic church with three naves, was built in field stones. In the 13th century a new choir in brick was added.
In order to prevent the Spanish army from capturing the town of Sluis, the dikes near Sluis were spiked in 1583. As a result, the village of Lapscheure drowned. The church was then isolated on a plot that was swamped with each high tide. This made it impossible for the parishioners to reach their prayer house. The dean of Aardenburg came to assess the situation and had to conclude that the building could not be salvaged anymore. The villagers then decided to built a new church in another place, some 2km further away. This happened in 1640. Once the new church was ready, the remains of the old church was torn down up to the level of its foundations.
These foundations were excavated in 1989. Various relics were found. The most striking relic is probably a small lead tombe plate that dates back to 1189: the stone of Volcranus. Volcranus was a clergyman (a priest or a deacon) of the auxiliary chapel. At that time the chapel was probably still dependend on the main church of Oostkerke. Most likely the first settlement of Lapscheure was also situated around this chapel.
Many thanks to Guido Vermeersch.
Hendrik De Leyn -