the construction of the belfry

The construction of the belfry

After many centuries of traditions, the commune of Saint-Pol-sur-Mer has been equipped with a belfry. It was originally raised by the Northern magistrates , as a sign of their independence against the seigneural and royal power.

 

Therefore, the belfries tower up proudly soar to the sky, sporting one or more bells, warning of danger or tapping the rhythm of daily life.

 

Constructing such a tower has consequences for a belfry is an imposing structure, which can be seen from afar, as with the church towers. The belfries are judiciously placed and have to be beautiful buildings. Saint-Pol-sur-Mer joined the North centuries-old tradition and the town has inaugurated in 2003 its belfry, frist belfry of the third millenium, inspired by the belfries of Bergues, Dunkirk, Douai, Lille and by many others.

Work of the architect Daniel Cacheux, holding an official diploma by the French Government, the belfry overlooks the city from the top of its 33 meters and stood guard over a new square, at the edge of the Rue de la République, the main street down town. The brick recalls the one most commonly used in the area. 

 

The square, newly established, is named after the Saint-Pol Hécourt Knight, successor of Jean Bart at the head of the Northern squadron. His name was chosen to name the commune ; The hamlet was originally called « the Dornega » or « Tornegat » or « brambles hole ».

 

In referring to other traditions, the belfry is ornamented with thirteen bells and four jacquemarts. They together allude the story of the commune and its inhabitants.

 

The belfry’s carillon of Saint Pol sur Mer is remarkable. Next to its thirteen bells, it is decorated with the highest four jacquemarts in Europe, these automatons dictate the pace of people’s life by ringing the bells every hour.

 

Each jacquemart is 1.80 meters in height. They represent outstanding and symbolic people of the city. It is a tourist attraction and it brings a large number of visitors to Saint-Pol-sur-Mer.

 

The jacquemarts

The knight of St Pol

The knight of Saint-Pol-Hécourt is the successor to Jean Bart at the head of the French Navy based in Dunkirk. His name has been given to an estaminet, a typical northern French inn, which later gave its name to the city.

The Spinner

The jacquemart of the spinner is a tribute to the large majority of the women in Saint-Pol-sur-Mer who worked in large textiles factories that the city of Saint-Pol-sur-Mer has hosted for many years. Indeed, Saint-Pol-sur-Mer was known as a working-class town.

The docker

The jacquemart of the docker testifies to the working-class and maritime tradition. Since its creation, Saint-Pol-sur-Mer is focused on the sea and the harbour. Thousands of inhabitants of Saint-Pol, generation after generation, have worked on the waterfront, most of them as dockers.

The railway man

This jacquemart represent the railway men of the local area. Indeed, the city of Saint-Pol also grew up with the arrival of a large population of railway workers. Even today, a sector of the municipality is known as « City of Railway workers ».