The ‘charter of Hoogelande’ is the oldest archival record

The oldest archival record in the Zeeuws Archief is the ‘charter of Hoogelande’ from the year 1189. This is a permanent certificate from the bishop of Utrecht and concerns the foundation of a chapel in Hoogelande in Walcheren.

Het ‘charter van Hoogelande’. Zeeuws Archief, Archief Onze Lieve Vrouwe Abdij te Middelburg, Regestenlijst 2

Establishment of the chapel Hoogelande

The charter of Hoogelande is the foundational certificate of the chapel of Hoogelande. The certificate is written on parchment in the year 1189. With this certificate, the bishop Baldwinus of Utrecht (Trajectum) gives the parishioners of Westmonster living in Hoogelande his consent for the building of a parochial church. Attached to the certificate originally was the seal of the bishop, which embodied his signature. Unfortunately, the seal was lost.

Lethal brawls

Hoogelande is a hamlet in Walcheren. It is located at approximately four kilometers west of Middelburg in the manor Hoogelande. Ecclesiastically speaking, it belonged to the Middelburgse Westmonsterparish. That parish was part of the diocese Utrecht. The Westmonsterchurch was the central building on the market of Middelburg until 1575. The inhabitants of Hoogelande had to travel to Middelburg to go to church every Sunday.

During the 12th century fights had broken out between the inhabitants of Hoogelande and other inhabitants of Walcheren. Those quarrels eventuated in lethal brawls, which resulted in feelings of discomfort among the villagers of Hoogelande. As a result, they did not dare go to church in Middelburg any longer.

Inhabitants request their own chapel

The inhabitants of Hoogelande complained about this situation to the bishop of Utrecht. They asked him for approval to build a church in their own town, so that they did not have to walk to Middelburg with the possibility of being robbed anymore. In a certificate from 1189, the bishop gave the inhabitants of Hoogelande permission to build a chapel.

The original Latin text of the 'charter of Hoogelande'

Read the transcript (the original Latin text) of the Charter of Hoogelande.

The text of the 'charter of Hoogelande' in Dutch

Read the text of the Charter of Hoogelande in Dutch.


The chapel was built on the cross point of the Hoogelandseweg and the Meinersweg, south of Grijpskerke. The chapel was dedicated to Sint Maarten, just like the Westmonsterchurch in Middelburg.

In the 15th century the plain chapel was replaced by a larger stone village church. This building was destroyed in the 16th century. What remained was a ruin of the chancel.

Ruin of the chapel of Hoogelande in 1754. Aquarel by Aert Schouman (1710-1792). Zeeuws Archief, Zelandia Illustrata II-129.

Ruin of Hoogelande becomes chapel

For centuries on end the ruin of the chancel of the Hoogelandse church reminded of the time that Hoogelande had its own village church. The ruin of the church came into the possession of the family Hoegen during the beginning of the 20th century. They had bought the manor Hoogelande and named themselves the Hoegen of Hoogelande. The ruin of the chancel of the former village church were rebuilt into a small chapel during the 1960s of the 20th century. This chapel is still there today.

The chapel of Hoogelande