St. James' Church, Antwerp Redirected from Saint James' Church, Antwerp

St. James' Church, seen from the south-west
St. James' Church, interior
Antwerpen, Sint-Jakobskerk 04.jpg

St. James' Church (Dutch: Sint-Jacobskerk) is a former Collegiate church in Antwerp, Belgium. The church is built on the site of a hostel for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. The present building is the work of the Waghemakere family and Rombout Keldermans, in Brabantine Gothic style. The church contains the grave of Peter Paul Rubens in the eastern chapel.


From 1431 on, even before the church was built, the chapel on this site was a stop on the route to the burial place of Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela. In 1476 the chapel became a parish church so plans were made to replace the modest building with a large church. Fifteen years later, in 1491, construction of the late Gothic church started. It was not completed until 1656, when Baroque architecture was in vogue. Fortunately throughout all those years the architects closely followed the original Gothic design, hence the consistent Gothic exterior. The interior, however, is decorated in Baroque style.

The plans at the start of the construction, in a time when Antwerp was on its way to becoming one of the most important economic hubs in Europe, were very ambitious. The church was to feature just one tower, but this was to be about 150 m (490 ft) tall, well above the 123 m (404 ft) of the two planned towers of Antwerp Cathedral.

Unfortunately, due to the decline of the city from the mid-16th century on, financial problems eventually caused construction to be halted after the tower had reached just one third of its planned height.

Although the original interior was destroyed during the iconoclastic storms of 1566 and 1581, the Baroque 17th-century interior is well preserved thanks to a priest who pledged allegiance to the French revolutionaries, who had just invaded the city. In return, he was rewarded by being permitted to choose one church in Antwerp which would not be plundered, and chose St. James', thus saving the interior. Many of the original stained-glass windows were unfortunately destroyed during World War II.

Among the Baroque interior decorations are the carved wooden choir stalls, created between 1658 and 1570, the opulent main altar (1685) and the communion rails of the holy chapel (1695). The central pulpit was created in 1675 by Lodewijk Willemssens.

Stations of the Cross

The serie of sculptures executed by Geefs was consecrated in 1855 and was gifted by several noble houses.[1]

  1. st station of Passion - gifted by Joannes Dircx, Priest and dean
  2. nd station of Passion - gifted by Carolus Geelhand
  3. rd station of Passion - gifted by Dnaiel Thuret
  4. th station of Passion - gifted by Louis Giles de Pelechy
  5. th station of Passion - gifted by anonymus
  6. th station of Passion - gifted by Charles de Brouchoven de Bergheyck and Emily Moretus
  7. th station of Passion - gifted by Jacob della Faille, Lord mayor
  8. th station of Passion - gifted by Theodore Moons van der Straelen
  9. th station of Passion - gifted by Leo Philippe, Knight de Burbure
  10. th station of Passion - gifted by Charles-emannuel Blondel d'Hamale
  11. th station of Passion - gifted by anonymous
  12. th station of Passion - gifted by Joannes de Meeûs
  13. th station of Passion - gifted by anonymous
  14. th station of Passion - gifted by Rochus de Backer, alderman

Other notable events


The old organ has a rich history: it was played by many famous people, among them Henry Bredemers. The Choir organ, built by J.B. Forceville in 1727, is also original, including the still functioning mechanical action. The hew grand organ was built in 1884 by Anneesens, in Romantic style.


Crest of Rubens van Parys
Ferdinand Helman
Nicolaes Rockocx
Philip-Constant de Parys
Gisant of Francisco Marcos de Velasco, died 1693, sculpted by Pieter Scheemaeckers
Epitaph of Florentinus Josephus van Ertborn, painting by Guido Reni

In the 16th, 17th and 18th century St. James' Church was the parish church of Antwerp's prominent citizens, several of whom built private burial chapels in the church. In the church numerous important gravestones are still inside, most belonging to the nobility. There are more than 1300 graves inside the church, and dates of burials of more than 4500 persons. Some graves are of very high quality, famous is the grave of Francisco Marcos de Velasco made by Pieter Scheemaeckers,[3] Ludovicus Anthoine, made by Kerrickx [4] and Henrica Carolina Adriana Josepha van Cornelissen and Eugenia Catherina van Ertborn both sculpted in marble by Guillaume Geefs.[5] The most famous is that of Antwerp's renowned painter Peter Paul Rubens, completed five years after his death in 1640. The painting above Rubens' tomb is by the master himself.

Rubens family

  • Peter Paul Rubens and Helena Fourment.
  • Daniel Fourment, died 1643: marr. Clara Stappaert: father in law of Peter Paul Rubens.
  • François I , son of Peter Paul Rubens: Schepen of Antwerp in 1659, marr. Suzanne Charles.
  • Alexander Josephus Rubens , Grandson of Peter Paul Rubens. Marr. Catherina Philippine de Parys, Philip Constant de Parys, Alexander Jacob de Parys, Joannes Bapt. de Parys, Iasbella Alexandrine de Parys, Frans Frederic, Count of Respani.
  • Albert I Rubens, son of Peter Paul Rubens, marr. Clara del Monte.[6]
  • Clara IV Joanna, lady of Merksem, daughter of Peter Paul Rubens. Marr. Philip Constant de Parys, Catharina Franscica Rubens
  • Nicolas Piqueri, died 1661: Almoner of Antwerp, marr. in 1627 to Elisabeth Fourment.
  • Ghisbert van Colen, marr. Mary Fourment, niece of Helena.
  • Emmanuel van Hoorebeeck, Son of Henry and Joanne Fourment
  • Ferdinand Helman, (1550–1617): father in law of Nicolaas Rubens, Lord of Rameyen. marr. Catharine vander Veken.


Lord mayors of Antwerpen
  • Nicolaas III van de Werve, Lord of Giesenoudekercke: Married Magdalene of Halmale.
  • Henry I van de Werve, married Lady van Cuyck.
  • Isabelle Anne van de Werve, daughter of John IV van de Werve, 7th Lord of Hovorst, married John Baptiste della Faille, mayor of Antwerp.
  • Joos Draeck, died 1528: son of Willem Draeck, Lord of Merksem, married Barbara Colibrant, gifted important window to the church.[9]
  • Adriaan Rockox, marr. Isabella van Olmen, parents of Sir Nicolaas II Rockox.
  • Adriana Rockox, marr. Lancelot II of Ursel.
  • Claire Rockox, marr Jan van de Werve, sister of Sir Nicolaas II Rockox.
  • Antonio de Castro y Lopez, died 1663
  • Jacon de Miranda, died 1602
  • Pedro de Lapena, marr. Maria de Espinosa.
  • Cornelis Lantschot, Benef. of the poor.
  • Jacobo Hernandes de Miranda, marr. Amantia de Robelledo.
  • Daniel Gerardus Melyn, marr. Anna Maria de Lannoy
  • Melchior Gijsbert Hendrik van Susteren, died 1741: Marr. Constance Barbou.
  • Ferdinand de Montesinos, marr. Seraphina de Almeida y Castro.
  • Johan Damant, marr. Anne de Witte.
  • Paul Wuyts, esq. marr. Jacueline de Landas.
  • Louis du Boisch, marr. Mary Anne of Hoorenbeeck.
  • Arnold Martin du Boisch, marr. Mary Catherine Vecquemans.
  • George Mendes de Andrada.
  • Manuel Tuvares Ulloa and Franscisco Alvarez Tavarez Lopez de Ulloa.
  • Manuel Soarez Ribeiro.
  • Henry Geelhand, (1694–1776): marr. Hélène de Claessens (1698–1766).
  • Eugenia Catharine van Ertborn, sculpted by Guillaume Geefs.
  • François de Paule-Joseph van Ertborn, died 1807: Grand Almoner of Antwerp, marr. Joanna Jozef Louisa van de Werve.
  • Henrica Carolina Adriana Josepha de Havre, born de Cornelissen), baroness of Havre, sculpted by Guillaume Geefs.
  • Giacomo Antonio Carenna, (1591–1672): Almoner of Antwerp, built the Borromeo Chapel in 1656.
  • Joannes Bollaert, marr. Susanne de San Estevan.
  • Fransisco lopez Franco.
  • Joannes van Weerden, Church master: Marr. Maria van Severdonck, sculpted by Sebastiaan Van den Eynde (1669–1675).
  • Christoffel Cominetto, marr. Maria Heyndrickx
  • Joanne de Cvellar, mar. Clara Pels
  • Bartholomaeus Balbi, (1542–1593): consul of genovese, and Giovanni Agostino Balbi.
  • Manuel Nuñez de Evora, marr. Iusta Nuñes.
  • Jacobus Matth. de Moor.
  • Joan Fernand. Sant Vittores de la Poitilla, marr. Maria de Steelandt.
  • Fernando de Palma Carillo.
  • Antonio Lopez de San Paio.
  • Ludovoco de Quesada, marr. Clara de Ayala.
  • Johann Jakob Schenk von Stauffenberg, died 1588.
  • Gaspar Rovelasco


  1. ^ Inscriptions funéraires et monumentales de la province d'Anvers: arrondissement d'Anvers. Anvers, Église Cathédrale. Vol. 1
  2. ^ De Vlaemsche school: tijdschrift voor kunsten, letteren en wetenschappen, Volume 9:p. 142
  3. ^ http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=B028991&objnr=60833&nr=366
  4. ^ http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=B029024&objnr=60872&nr=385
  5. ^ http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=M088463&objnr=60891&nr=393
  6. ^ http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=M088467&objnr=60801&nr=355
  7. ^ http://balat.kikirpa.be/photo.php?path=B028995&objnr=60867&nr=382
  8. ^ Antwerpen - Parochiekerken ; 1. Afdeeling, Volume 1
  9. ^ “De” Vlaamsche school: algemeen tijdschrift voor kunsten en letteren

External links

Coordinates: 51°13′12.75″N 4°24′38″E / 51.2202083°N 4.41056°E / 51.2202083; 4.41056

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