And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. - Bible, Revelation 22 (1-2)
The village of Hundelgem occupies an area of 182 hectares. The countryside presents a glowing topography, consisting of several hills which are intersected by a number of valleys. The top part of these hills has been flattened by erosion, is relatively broad and presents gentle slopes.
Natural drainage of this hill country largely depends on the presence or absence close to the surface of a scantly permeable mixture of sand and clay. The level of underground water is mainly found in the brook valleys. Drainage is therefore insufficient and floods are quite common during the late autumn and early winter months.
Short history of Velzeke and Hundelgem
The area around the river Zwalm used to be inhabited by the Nervians (Nervii tribes) from across the Rhine. The Romans annexed the territory in 57 B.C. and constructed military camps, commercial settlements and a road network. The vicus (Latin for estate or village) of Velzeke was the most important centre in the southern part of East Flanders. The settlement was located on a hill top, which stretched between two small valleys, namely the valley of the Molenbeek on the territory of Velzeke-Ruddershove and the valley of the Passemarebeek, which forms the border between Velzeke and Hundelgem. This vicus is situated at a mere 300 metres east of Pede's Mill. The Roman road between Cologne (present day Germany) and Boulogne-sur-Mer (present day France) passed through Velzeke. Another road connected Velzeke with Bavay just across the current border between Belgium and France.
Hundelgem was also inhabited during the Frankish period (3rd to 8th century). Evidence of this was found in the form of a Merovingian coin on its territory. During the Carolingian period (8th to 10th century), the village belonged to the convent of Inde in Cornelimunster (Germany).
The name Hundelgem has Frankish origins. The etymological source of Hundelgem is « Hundilinga-heim », which means « the residence of the people of Hundilo ». The oldest mention of the name dates from 1295, when it was spelled « Hundelghem ». Another spelling is « Undelghem », which stems from the first half of the 14th century.
The brook « Zweedebeek » is known in early literature as the « Breedenbeke ». Later in 1614 we also find the names « Wreedenbeke » and « Sweedenbeke ». The brook « Passemarebeek » is mentioned in the old literature with the spelling « Passemaerebeek » or with the name « Passemaeregracht ».
In 1971 Hundelgem formed, together with another 11 villages of the area, the new town of Munkzwalm. In 1977 Munkzwalm joined the new larger town of Zwalm.
Pede's Mill in Hundelgem is one of the smallest water mills in the area. A visit is highly recommended and can be made every year during the Monument Days, but also by appointment. For the next scheduled dates, please consult the section News on this page.
Pede's Mill is part of the very picturesque Mill Route (« Molenroute »), which leads the visitor along the water mills and windmills of the Zwalm region.
The next chapter at a glance:
Where we give an exhaustive description of this water mill, which is fairly unique in the province of East Flanders.