History

It is difficult to discover when exactly Poelkapelle originated.  We were able to find out from all types of old documents that the area was located on the borderline between Morini (a Celtic tribe) in the marshy territory of Old Belgium and the Menapians on the borderline between marsh and forest.

The population joined the Menapi, for whom it was later impossible to subject themselves to the laws of Caesar.

They later fought against the Norwegians, Friesians, Saxons and Franks, who conquered the entire territory.  Langemark (or Marc, as it was then called) lay on the language border between the Morini and the Franks.

It is difficult to establish exactly where the name comes from and the sources differ somewhat.  But it is evident from the fact that very old coins were discovered along the Broenbeek - Broen brook - after the First World War that there were settlements at a very early stage.  The Vossemote, located at the Haenebeek - Haene brook - dates back to same period.  In 1898, remains of pots, a fireplace and ox bones were found at the Vossemote.  From the remains found, one can deduce that this was probably a provisional dwelling awaiting the construction of a stone castle.

It is an established fact that Langemark became a parish in 1102 under Count Robert II of Jerusalem.  In the course of time, 6 chapels came into being, viz. the Chapel of Our Lady and St. Paul's Chapel, which were merged with a church, the Cappel St-Jan ter Vonte (St. John's Chapel) at the Jansbeek, the St-Eloyskapel (St. Eligius' Chapel) in the Bikschotestraat, the Capelle ten Poele (Chapel at the Poel), which was known as far back as 1037, became a parish in 1804 and a municipality in 1904.  Last, but not least, in the row is St-Juliaankapel (St. Julian's Chapel), which was already known in the 14th century and became a parish in 1909.

Knowledge of the Bikschote dates back to the eleventh century and the oldest known priest is mentioned in the archives in 1220.  The Abbey of Corbie came into being as far back as 1096.

In 1296 Gwijde van Dampierre granted permission to construct a Lakenhalle (linen hall) and a market was held there on Wednesdays.  The hall was destroyed in 1344 and the location of the hall was well known until 1700 (approximately where the cemetery is now).

The goods and estates of Gwijde transferred to the daughter of Jan zonder Vrees (Fearless John), Duke of Burgundy, in 1406.  She married the Duke of Kleef and in 1625 the goods transferred to Wolfgang Willem of Neuburg.

After the period between 1800 and 1830 it became more peaceful, there were innovative ideas and new utilities such as tram, lighting, paving, etc. were provided. 

And then?  Then there was The War.  Our once beautiful villages were reduced to sheer debris and not much was left save desolate moonscape.

We definitely did not escape the horrors of the war.  The first gas attack in world history took place on 22 April 1915.  The Germans occupied the villages and reached the Ypres Channel but were driven back by the allied troops.  Originally this first gas attack was to be made south of Ypres but the direction of the wind caused the gas attack to be made north of Ypres.

In April 1918, after heavy shooting, the municipality was taken back.  The first people who returned in 1919 could hardly find their village, not to mention their house.  Various refugees remained in France and others courageously returned and started re-building the municipality and community.

The people worked for the farmers after the re-construction.  Groups of the population went to France to work there as seasonal migrant workers. 

In 1971 Bikschote merged with Langemark and 6 years later, in 1977, the municipality of Langemark-Poelkapelle came into being through the merger between Langemark and Poelkapelle.