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Melle (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2005-11-12 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Melle]

Municipal flag of Melle - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 7 July 2005

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Presentation of Putte

The municipality of Melle (10,575 inhabitants on 3 May 2004; 1,521 ha) is located a few kilometers south-west of Ghent. It is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Melle and Gontrode.

Melle was already mentioned on a chart dated 830, according to Dr. M. Gysseling. H. Verbist claims that the name of the city comes from the Celtic word melina, which means brown water. Gysseling believes the name of Melle is related to the Prehistoric anthroponym "Melinos", meaning with honey-yellow hair. Melle was indeed inhabited in the Prehistoric times, as shown by several artifacts found on the territory of the municipality.

Melle is made of three parts, Melle-Centrum, Melle-Vogelhoek, a borough which developed in the beginning of the XXth century because of the development of the neighbouring marshalling yard of Merelbeke, and, since the administrative reform of 1977, Gontrode, the rural part of the municipality. Gontrode (the place were trees were uprooted and laid down near the river Gont) was mentioned for the first time in an agreement beetween St. Bavo's abbey and Hildegardis van Melne (that is, Melle) in 1229. During the First World War, there was an airfield with a huge hangar for zeppelins in Gontrode.

In the past, Melle and Gontrode belonged to the domain of Rode. The lords of Melle built in the XIIIth century a stone fortress called castle Cortrosine. The castle was trashed by the Huguenots during the religious wars in 1579. Melle was a place of residence for the rich burghers from Ghent, which built there beautiful manors, like those called de Bueren, ter Camere and de Varens.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 7 July 2005

Municipal flag of Melle

The municipal flag of Melle is diagonally (per bend sinister) divided red-yellow with the municipal arms in the middle. The municipal arms are:

Or, four chevrons gules.

According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag and arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 18 February 1980, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 10 December 1980, and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 February 1981.

The arms of the new municipality of Melle have nothing to do with the arms of the former municipalities of Melle and Gontrode. According to Servais, the arms of Melle were:

Or a lion sable armed and langued gules, within a bordure engrailed sable.

They were granted on 19 February 1951 and showed the lion and the bordure of the lords of Rode, owners of Melle since the XIIth century. The arms of Gontrode were identical, but with the black letters G and T flanking the upper part of the lion.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 7 July 2005