The mills of Ertvelde are more than 200 years old, and have a rich history. In the following sections you get a complete overview of their history.
At the end of the 18th century, in the year VII (1798) of the French domination, Lieven Genbrugge decided to build a windmill, ros mill and a house in Ertvelde for his son Pieter Cornelis Genbrugge.
The construction site is at the highest point of Ertvelde, behind the village at the driving corner.
The millmaker is Fredericus Pisonier from Sleidinge (initials FP 1799 on the grinding mill in the mill). This comes from a well-known mill-makers family, including Augustine, Petrus, Viktor and Edmond Pisonier.
These are turbulent times with, among other things, the revolt in Sleidinge against the French, in which many Ertveldaars are involved. Nevertheless, the young miller is 'up for the wind'.
He marries Anna Cornelia Goethals and gives him seven sons: Charles-Louis, Ferdinand, Seraphinus, Jan-Bernard, Pieter, Theodoor and Jan-Baptiste.
After the battle of Waterloo in 1815, Flanders came under the Hollands Regime with King William I.
Eventually, the Belgian revolution of 1830 will bring some stability.
Money shortage and famine
The miller is now in financial trouble and in 1832 he is forced to take out a loan. A sum of 600 guilders will be borrowed from Miss Livina Wille, beguine, living in the City of Ghent in the large-scale St Elisabeth Convent in Engelen.
The deed is served in "Den Grooten Spiegel" inn at St Jacobsnieuwstraat.
Genbrugge must pay 30 Dutch guilders annually and the mill, rosmolen, woonhuis, zaailand and lochting are the guarantor. On the 24th of May 1842, the millarin died Anna Cornelia.
In 1845, a time of famine started after the failed potato harvest.
There are many thefts (also in mills) and various hunger stands.
In 1848 the situation improves somewhat.
On September 9, 1852 miller Pieter Cornelis dies.
The Genbrugge brothers
A few months earlier, the Genbrugge children founded a society where all movable and immovable property remains in the community.
The five brothers jointly continue the mulders and farm.
In march 1853 Jan-Baptiste is forced by his marriage to divorce from the community and leave the common home. In doing so, he is paid 2114 francs for a waiver of his inheritance.
In 1862 there are heavy costs to the mill; a new horizontal axis must be placed, among other things. The works are performed by Charles Rombout from Wachtebeke, a well-known member of the Rombout mill makers family.
Probably because of the high costs it comes to a distribution among the four remaining brothers. Jan-Bernard and Ferdinand remain miller.
They get a house, a garage, a furnace, a grain windmill with all rotating and running works, rosmoles and all other ap- and dependentien, dry and green cows, the ground, orchard, vegetable garden and co-existing sowing land, together 1 ha 91 a 80 approx. the mobilized objects of household and this needed to the miller's stable.
Comparable Charles-Louis gets the mobilized items needed for agriculture (including barrels, buckets, trough, two cocks, etc.). Comparable Theodoor already received 2,100 francs beforehand at his marriage and still receives the funds amounting to 650 francs. In addition, the grains t.t.z. rye, wheat and oats in the hoppers.
When serving the notarial deed of Vermeersch in Ertvelde, Ferdinand declares "not to be able to write or draw". Jan-Bernard and Ferdinand continue with the mill and rent in 1863 another piece of land. In doing so, strict regulations are imposed on the fruits on the land.
For example: "the farmer will have to arrange his arable in such a way that the last of the lease term will not be more than one third of the sown size with buckwheat zaaye and never no second buckwheat, neither equally nor carrots, nor leaves or greens in potato land and buckwheat flocks.
A few years later Ferdinand and Jan-Bernard rent out the mill, together with half of the house, shed, garages, court, orchard and vegetable garden, in 1871 to Eugenius Neyt, miller from Assenede.
This for the sum of 520 francs a year. The rotating and movable works of the mill are left on price. The tenant may make improvements to the mill, however he will not be allowed to place or lay milling stones without mill maker Karel Rombout from Wachtebeke approving them.
On January 13, 1873 Jan-Bernard and the appearances Genbrugge dies together with Viktoria van de Rostijne (Jan-Bernard) to sell the entire company publicly.
That happens on 2 April 1873 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, at the inn of Charles-Louis Genbrugge at Ertvelde behind the village. The auction is done with a barking fire. The decisive assignment will only be pronounced after the extinguishing of two fires without intermediary orders.
It is determined that the buyers are never allowed to plant no tall trees on, around and on their bought goods. This is to protect the windfall for the mill.
The goods to be sold have been assigned to Eugeen De Rijcke, farmer from Assenede, when the sum of 13,360 francs has been paid, after several raising and burning of two fires.
The latter buys the court in the name of Eugenius Neyt, the miller.
The payment must be made in well-known money bets of at least five francs within 14 days.
The miller, now also owner, brings a lot of innovations during his miller's career. In this way, new crests were put in place in 1898; in 1904 another star wheel is placed; in 1906 another catch. The stones are poured several times, which indicates a lot of grinding work. In 1914, an Acec electric motor is also installed. However, this is attacked by the German and only brought back in 1921. Until 1925, Eugenius is in full swing with the mill. Then he renounces his children Helena, Joannes, Marie and Cyriel.
De brothers and sisters Neyt
These work with the mill mainly under the impulse of Cyriel, who gained much knowledge during WWI in the Dutch Zaan region where he had fled.
In the twenties, iron riveted rods are inserted. They are second-hand drivers: the interior of the mill of Eksaarde and the outer row of this one from Assebroek. Cyriel also introduces a wick improvement system in those years in order to be able to run better. The mill was known at that time as the best running of 't Meetjesland.
In 1953 Cyriel acquires the whole company through inheritance.
He is still grinding until 1965.
After that time, the mill only sporadically turns and falls visibly.
Cyriel dies in 1978 and in 1980 the heirs decide to sell.
Johan Van Holle
Johan Van Holle from Assenede buys the battered mill, the collapsed rosmoles, the house, the barn and the zaailand.
He immediately goes on to a temporary repair of the windmill. These works include: repairing the decaying and disappeared roof structure, replacing the shale battens, installing roofing, installing windows, installing new wind shelves on the rods and repairing the fence, lighting up the horizontal axis, repairing the wheel, sharpening of the grinding stones and finally a general paint job.
This makes the grinder back grinding.
A thorough restoration, however, is required. The procedure for this is being used at the National Service for Monuments and Sites in Brussels in October 1980.
On 6 November 1981, King Baudouin signed the Royal Decree for approval.
On 21 January 1982, the works were put out to tender in the mill which was listed in 1970.
The restoration itself starts in September 1982.
The walls are largely remade and 50 cm raised, there is a completely new hood, new wicks with wiekverbeteringssysteem (breeding wicks), new tail, sprouts and braces, other cross, another couple English millstones etc. In 1985 everything is ready and is back grinded corn.
Annual mill festivals were organized to finance the whole.
After the windmill the rosm mill is being tackled.
Silenced in 1871, little has survived after more than 100 years. The roof has collapsed, the walls are poor and the entire interior has disappeared.
Despite the fact that the rosmoles are not classified, miller Van Holle finds it irresponsible to make him disappear. Together with the windmill, he forms a unique whole.
He sets up a classification procedure and decides to proceed to the restoration with the aid of the King Baudouin Foundation. The walls are remodeled, new oak trusses are made and the roof is covered with reed. The rotating part consisting of the standing oak shaft with track wheel and the tail beam are also placed. Finally, the secondary transmission and the grinding installation is next.
In 1987, after 116 years of inactivity, grain is ground back with the horses. For this purpose fjord horses are used, known as strong and willing to work.
With all this Ertvelde has a unique molinological whole; a windmill and a ros mill on the same original site.
Restoration works 2012
In order to maintain heritage, it is often necessary to carry out repair work. This is no different for the mills in Ertvelde.
Neighbors without fear of heights help mill survive!
On Saturday, May 7, 2011, the wedges in the shaft of the windmill came loose due to the long period of drought. This threatened to detach the blades.
Fortunately miller Johan could count on his neighbors Marc and Valentijn (men without fear of heights) to drive these wedges back. (see pictures).
Thanks to the rapid intervention of these courageous volunteers, damage to the mill was prevented!