A 941 document first mentions "Landengehem". It was a Germanic settlement. The name meant "the place where Lando's people live".
Until the end of the Ancien Regime the better part of the town belonged to the Seigneur of Nevele. But there were also enclaves belonging to the Seigneury the Vlaanderse or Barelvelde, Vinderhoute-Merendree and Mere.
Landegem already had a church in 1087. It was under the patronage of the Abbey of Drongen. It was rebuilt in 1121 and consecrated by Monseigneur Lambrecht, Bishop of Tournai (Doornik). It enjoyed the protection of Saints Livinus, Blasius and Margareta.
In 1578 Landegem received a reformed religious community and the church was for a while a protestant temple. Until the end of the "Great War" (as WW I is called) it had 3 naves and a square tower crowned with a tall octogonal spire. But the church was totally destroyed during the fighting for the Schipdonk Canal in October-November 1918.
Between the two World Wars a new church in the neogothic style rose up. On 25 May 1940 the Belgian military blew up the tower. For strategic reasons they said. But they destroyed the whole church. The actual house of prayer was consecrated on 19 May 1961. It has a Loncke organ and this is a sublime musical instrument that can express in its unique way all sentiments and colours.
The Buysse castle, now a country estate surrounded by a moat was originally just a farm. To reach it one opens an iron gate and then walks across a small bridge over the moat. It was for a while the property of Arthur Buysse (1864-1926), lawyer and liberal Member of Parliament, the younger brother of Cyriel Buysse, the famous writer from Nevele.
Landegem with its population of all of 2680 souls (1998 figures) has a second castle: Mahy's castle, now the property of Mr Ghislain Mahy, an old timer collector from Ghent. (When in 1944 Mr Mahy happened to buy a Model T Ford he couldn't possibly have imagined that by the year 2000 he would have the greatest collection of old timers in the world, nearly one thousand cars. Most of the motors we can admire, since 1986, in the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels belong to him.) Sorry, where were we? Oh yes, Mr Mahy's castle is situated in the middle of an English garden, a beautiful park laid out "à l'Anglaise". On a 1749 map the dwelling where now the castle stands is surrounded by two circular moats with an entrance porch in front of the Chapel of Notre Dame of the Seven Woes. (In the Bible, in the Middle Ages and in Flanders good and especially evil come in multiples of 7.)
After the mayhem of the First World War the 19th Century castle was rebuilt to look like the old castle but in a modernized style. There is an icehouse (glacière) in the grounds dating from about 1880. For younger readers who might happen upon this paragraph: when iceboxes, also called fridges or even refrigerators in other parts of the world, were a thing of the future those who wanted ice to cool their champagne during the hot Summer months took the trouble to order their servants to store blocks of ice in the icehouse during the Winter.
The Poeldendries Chapel also called the Chapel of Notre Dame of the Seven Sorrows dates from the 17th Century. During the French Revolution it was disguised as a home to make sure it wouldn't be sold (like all other properties belonging to the church) for the benefit of the godless French State.
The source of most of the above is the excellent "Streekgids Meetjesland", 1998, 121-122. See also: Our Sources.
On 1 January 2011 there were 3,166 inhabitants in Landegem. And six years
later there were 1,641 women and 1,637 men which makes a total of 3,278.
Most recent update: 26 April 2017
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