Saint-Sylvester Cappel Church and its organ

Saint-Sylvester Cappel Church and its organ

The hall-Church is of rare unity and high quality. It was built between the 15th and 16th centuries and was spared from destruction. Its architecture is from Burgundy Romanesque style. It was classified in 1958. The interior is characterized by the happy proportion of naves, colonnades and vaults, in a very luminous atmosphere. At the chevet, the sacristy with a bulbous roof dates from the 17th century. The church is dedicated to St. Sylvester, bishop during the 3rd century.

The parish existed since the 11th century, Robert VAN CAPPEL, councillor and altar master of the Duke of Burgundy, had built a chapel in 1405.

The stained-glass windows date from the 16th century, a remarkable work of late Gothic and early Renaissance. Classified since 1903, they were retrieved in 1939 then put back in 1962. It is not known what it became of the rest of the stained-glass windows. The organ, the pulpit, the confessional date from the 17th century.

The other confessionals, the canopy, the panelling of the choir’s pillars, the glazes, the Virgin of pain and the Christ in the column date back to the 18th century.

The altarpieces date from the first half of the 18th century :

  • The south altarpiece, of Sainte-Anne or the Holy Family. The painting represents the education of the Virgin Mary. In the niche, St. Anne accompanied by Mary, her daughter, and the Infant Jesus.
  • The north altarpiece: dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The painting represents the Assumption. In the niche, a statue of the Virgin and the Infant.
  • The old tabernacle, transformed into a niche, houses a statuette of the Infant Jesus, the busts of St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Barbara.
  • The recumbent statue of Ludwine VAN CAPPEL, daughter of Robert VAN CAPPEL who died in 1405, represents her lying down, in a watchfulness attitude. 
  • The altar rail is one of the most beautiful in Flanders: the panels deal with biblical subjects, separated by statues.
  • The reliquary bust of Saint-Sylvester, attributable to VAN BROUCKORST or Jean ELSCHOECHT dates from before 1759 and it is gilded by Joseph COMBOS.

There is also a large number of tombstones, including one at the entrance, of a priest who died in 1565. The church has been completely renovated, allowing it to regain its former glory. The historic West-Cappel organ dates back to 1683 and was created by organ builder Jan VAN BELLE. He is one of the few to have kept 90% of his original pieces, hence his specificity. Its 17th century pipes are made of tin, rolled lead and oak. Some additional pipes are new. The organ is tuned in a modified E (diminished third) mean-tone temperament, it is impossible to play all the tones. The manual, consist of 45 keys clad with boxwood in the case of natural keys and with ebony in the case of the accidentals. There is no pedal.

Saint-Sylvestre Church
Contour de l’Eglise.
59380 West-Cappel