Battle of Beverhoutsveld

Battle of Beverhoutsveld


The city of Ghent had rebelled against their lord, count Louis II of Flanders, in 1379. The powerful guilds in Ghent did not take kindly to his rule, and wanted more privileges and less interference from the count. The nearby city of Bruges was a loyal supporter of the count and this only served to fan the flames of the rivalry between the two cities, both commercial powerhouses.

The Battle

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Beverhoutsveld
partof=Ghent rebellion

date=May 13 1382
result=Ghent victory
combatant1=County of Flanders
combatant2=Ghent rebels
commander1=Louis II of Flanders, Count of Flanders
commander2=Philip van Artevelde, leader of the Ghent Rebels
The Battle of Beverhoutsveld took place on May 3, 1382, on a field situated between the towns of Beernem, Oostkamp and Assebroek. It marked an important phase in the rebellion of Ghent (led by Philip van Artevelde) against count Louis II of Flanders.

The Gent-Oostende canal is one of the oldest shipping routes in Belgium. A natural watercourse between the towns of Bruges and Beernem was adapted for this shipping route. It was this piece of canal that caused the conflict between the Bruges and Ghent people.

To force Ghent to surrender, the Count of Flanders had blockaded the access roads to the city. Philip van Artevelde, the leader of the Ghent rebels, was attempting to negotiate with the Count in Doornik, but these negotiations failed and the only option was to assault the town of Bruges to force access to the sea.

The Bruges warriors appeared on the battlefield after the annual Blood Procession, a religious holiday in Bruges. The soldiers came straight from the various inns and taverns around the area, and many had stopped along the way to drink themselves into extra courage. After a short battle Artevelde defeated the Bruges army (who were in no condition for serious combat), and occupied the town of Bruges that same day. Count Louis II managed to escape and fled to the town of Rijssel. Legend says the Ghent warriors removed the Dragon from the St. Donaaschurch in Bruges and transported it to Ghent to mount it on the Belfort tower there.


Philip van Artevelde's victory caused uprisings all over Flanders; only Dendermonde and Oudenaarde remained loyal to the Count. This victory had repercussions abroad as well; uprisings and riots broke out in Holland, Leuven, Paris, Rouen and Amiens.

Philip van Artevelde died a few months later in a new battle with the Count in the Battle of Westrozebeke. Louis II of Flanders died in combat in Saint-Omer (Sint-Omaars) in 1384.

It was only in 1613 that the cities managed to negotiate an agreement to dig the canal between Ghent and Bruges. The execution of the work was entrusted to the Dutch in the Republic of the 7 United Provinces, and the canal was opened in 1621.

A memorial plaque commemorating the battle can be found in the "Bibliotheekstraat" in Ghent.


* [ Beverhoutsroute bij (Dutch)]
* [ Kroniek van Vlaanderen (Dutch)]

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