Lier – a town of sheep heads

Lier – a town of sheep heads

Saturday, 27th October 2018

In the fifteenth century, apparently Duke John II wanted to thank the people of Lier for their support during his struggle against the people of Mechelen. They were allowed to choose their own reward and he offered them two options. The people of Lier were tasked with choosing between a university or a cattle market. The duke coined the phrase ”the sheep heads”: so you know which option the good citizens chose. We did, however, feel it was an apt destination for the Travelling Herd.

We had inadvertently stumbled upon another UNESCO World Heritage Site –  the Beguinage at Lier. We learnt that a beguinage is an architectural complex created to house beguines – lay religious women who lived in a community without taking vows or retiring from the world.

The residents were often widows or unmarried women who supported themselves by crafts such as lace-making or embroidery. The Lier beguinage was established in 1258 and now comprises 11 alleys and 162 houses. Walking through the alleys does seem like stepping back in time and the style and topology of these buildings are reminiscent of alms houses found in England.

The town itself is also charming with canals, many pedestrianised areas and . . .

. . . an impressive town hall and belfry [below] which stand on the site where the first skeleton of a mammoth found in Western Europe was unearthed in 1860.

This is another place we would like to return to in the future.

Walked today: 7.6 miles
Driving distance today: 93.98 miles

The current tour map:

Overnight location:
Aarschotsesteenweg 5,2500 Lier, Belgium:

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