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St. Felix Flood - Translation of Middle French document 1530

Jan 24th, 2020 (edited)
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  2. Following the content these letters contained lamentable inundations and elevation of the sea water raised so much that the rivers burst: In The Country of Flanders, Brabant and Hollande and also the islands of Zeland: and the large part of the surrounding area that came the 5th day of November.
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  5. My brother and companion, I am recommending myself to your good grace so affectionately and with a good heart that it is made possible for me to presently warn you of a piteous situation which happened in parts of Flanders and Barbant and also in Zeeland and Holland, and the islands and surrounding territory, and I promise you that when you read the substance and matter of this piteous letter, you won’t be able to contain the tears of your two eyes. Hearing the affliction of your country and the loss and damage that was done and in as much a thing of great admiration for that I beg you not to become angry in your heart, and consider that what happened was caused by the sins of the people living in those countries, those that don’t recognize God or his Mother, and who are starting to oppose laws and create sects, so much so that everything was getting corrupt: and it was questioned that the just paid and bearing pain and punishment for their evil in the way that countless people were drowned, killed and submerged under the sand and other soil, and ruined from buildings that quickly fell down and were lost in perdition. So my brother, I am recounting this piteous and lamentable news that you will not feel pleasure in reading, you should know that on All Saint’s Day the weather was beautiful in Flanders and the day after it started raining, and the following two days saw such a rain that it was if it was created out of spite, and also the said rain was so heavy in a matter of two and a half days that it was almost impossible for people to go out of their houses or manors and the rain was falling so thick it broke roads and filled the ditches created new ones whose currents flowed towards the rivers and into the sea: dried by the receding waters new roads were created form the water flows and the levies and sea wall were broken. During the low tide every day, men and women alike were told to repair the said ramparts where it was needed: the amount of people who showed up to repair the walls made it possible for most of the work to be done, but on the fourth day of November the wind was so strong that you could hear it whistling above the sea and you could see the great disturbance that was congregating by the different winds.
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  7. At the same time the sea rose like whirlpools (Translator’s Note: possibly referring to tidal wave) and was lifted at such a height that it reached 3 lances (about 18 feet high!) above the sea level. For those Lords and Governors and multitudes on the ramparts and the levies realized that it was not possible for any living man to go against this powerhouse, the elevation of the said sea scared the life out of those people and they started leaving, but seeing the waves of the great sea they were all surprised by the flow of the water, they had reached the ramparts but it was too late, because they all got submerged and drowned and this is why they could not warn their wives and children in the villages.
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  9. After the sea water invaded the flatlands in such a manner that it came to cover 50 leagues in width and much more in length, and where ever the waters would reach villages without fortification, it would ruin houses and drown people up to the top of the houses, which was a horrifying thing, because it also swept their belongings away that it was a piteous case to see. And you should know that the said flood did great harm to the villages. And it also did big and innumerable damage to a few good and large cities of great renown, like the cities of Dulft, Lescluse, Gant, Desport that were almost entirely in ruin, as well as Envers(Antwerp), that was highly damaged: since all of the shops have been filled with sand, and most of the merchandise was wasted, lost or drowned, and the city was in great danger of being completely ruined if it was not for the breach in the wall that let the water escape and that it went beyond the town of Mallines: so much that the said town of Mallines was also in great danger.
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  11. As well the towns of Harle and Alen, Debuche and other neighboring cities, and also the Islands of Zeeland, that were completely submerged by water: to the point that it didn’t appear that the land was inhabited.
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  13. Also that said adventure happened on the eight day of November 1530 on a clear morning with heavy winds. As far as the people that died goes is estimated at twenty to thirty thousand but we can’t really count for sure.
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  15. So the righteous lost an estimated eight million in this inundation: without the loss of several great figures and good merchants that God with holy absolute grace, grants them the forgiveness of their faults and sins.
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  17. When the said water started going back down the people stayed on that land and used some device to pushed back the water a little. When the water had receded they found deer, pigs, boars, foxes, oxen, and sheep and other dead animals in great quantity, and they started burying the carcasses as easily as possible. And they were in great fear that the putrefying bodies of the people and animals would corrupt the air. And that pestilence and mortality shall not happen to this country, may God prefer to keep them by his Grace, Amen.
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  19. Pierre Wilstet
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  24. Exhortation to the Christian people in regards to the calamaties that are presently hapenning everywhere.
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  26. Christian People in Jesus Christ don’t be surprised that so much misery and calamity is happening in this mortal life and unto which adversity and sad tribulations of Flanders, Zeeland, and Braban that were wasted and destroyed. You should not be amazed, because God in whom we believe and did command in these parts of the western world, of which these things were done. It was because the sins of the people disobeying and corrupted the faith in Jesus Christ. No more, no less, and almost at the same time he showed such things to the Romans and Rome, capital city of the whole world so much as everything sounds (why her?). If not by the faults and mistakes of mainly those ecclesiastics that should show a good example and bring back those that want to fall for sin, and they are the ones that do the opposite, for what it is said. You should not cry out a scandal, at this end that the world could recognize that our lord Jesus Christ is generally wrathful in the East, West, Northern and Southern parts: for which in a few hours realize and know the infinite power everywhere. He has shown signs and prophecies of or coming future, like not long ago that flying dragon that you can see over a few leagues making a lot of noise, darkening the sky. Also in Lombardia in the plain of Bergamia, square pieces of metal(iron) dropped out of the sky in the manner of (TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: here it seems that the copyist just leaves out the rest of this sentence the last two words make no sense, they don’t even look like words and the sentence abruptly ends. If you can figure it out send me a message!). In Germany appeared in the air bloody swords and severed heads and spears and other tools of war, and also several other events that are too long to tell. However the demonstrations remain obstinate, for which by other demonstrations, God the creator sent us these particular inundations in the East and in the West, of the war of tribulation like in Genesue and Chamberi. Similarly, the ruins of our buildings and houses shows a sign if we don’t recognize the benefits of our creator bad things come: so much that we will fully feel the punishment of our lord, for it is questioned to reform the Christian faith generally. Otherwise, on Earth we will only see the curses and faults of worldly matters, which things by the holy grace shall keep us and give us good abundance.
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  28. Link to the Original Document:
  29. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b52500012n.r=Flandres%201530?rk=21459;2
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