Index to carillons and chimes by Vanden Gheyn

The Vanden Gheyn foundry, now closed, provided bells for various carillons and chimes throughout the Low Countries of Europe.  It was located in Mechelen, Belgium, for many years, but eventually relocated to Leuven (Louvain).  See the bottom of this page for additional historical notes on the origin and development of this bellfoundry and on the various names used by it.

For an explanation of what this index contains (and does NOT contain), and of the additional details on each entry, see the Bellfoundry Indexes Advice.


vanden Gheyn, Mechelen and Leuven, Belgium (1506-1833)

STEENOKKERZEEL                : BELGIUM      1??? F  trad
   St.Romboutstoren

ZIERIKZEE - S                 : NETHERLANDS  1555 F  trad
   Stadhuistoren
EDAM                          : NETHERLANDS  1561 F  trad
   Speeltoren
   O.L.V. Kerk
ARNEMUIDEN                    : NETHERLANDS  1582 C (chime)
   N.H.Kerk
AMSTERDAM - RM                : NETHERLANDS  1583 F  non-trad
   Rijksmuseum
MONNICKENDAM                  : NETHERLANDS  1596 C  chime
   Speeltoren
   Stadhuis
MECHELEN - OLVD               : BELGIUM      1599 F  trad
   O.L.V.-over-de-Dijlekerk
SINT MAARTENSDIJK             : NETHERLANDS  1614 F  trad
   St.Maartenstoren
   Ned.Herv.Kerk
Brussels                      : Belgium      1638 -  great
   "Salvator"
   Sint-Michielskathedraal
LEUVEN - STP                  : BELGIUM      1728 I  trad
   Stadsbeiaard (city carillon)
   West tower
   Sint-Pieterskerk (St.Peter's Church)
NIEUWPOORT                    : BELGIUM      1735 F (trad)
   City carillon
   O.L.V. Kerk
VEERE                         : NETHERLANDS  1736 F  trad
   Stadhuistoren
NIJMEGEN - STS                : NETHERLANDS  1738 F  trad
   St.Stevenstoren
   Groote Kerk
DENDERMONDE                   : BELGIUM      1740 E (trad)
   Belfort--Stadhuis/Lakenhal/Town Hall
VLISSINGEN - STJ              : NETHERLANDS  1740 E (trad)
   Sint Jakobstoren
   Ned.Herv.Kerk (Grote Kerk)
HASSELT                       : BELGIUM      1752 I  trad
   Sint Quintinuskathedraal
LIEGE - STP                   : BELGIUM      1754 F  trad
   Cathédrale St-Paul
OUDENAARDE                    : BELGIUM      1759 F (trad)
   Ste.Walburgatoren (or St.Walburgis)
HUY - ND                      : BELGIUM      1763 I  trad
   Materne-Toren
   Notre Dame (Collegiale, OLV-Kerk)
LIER - STG/1                  : BELGIUM      1764 F  trad
   Sint-Gummaruskerk (St.Gommarus)
GOES - S                      : NETHERLANDS  1766 C  chime
   Gemeentehuis (City Hall Tower)
AVESNES-SUR-HELPE             : FRANCE - 59  1767 F (trad)
   Collégiale St.Nicolas
BRUSSELS - STM                : BELGIUM      1767 C (trad)
   Cathedral of SS.Michael & Gudula
   (St.Michielstoren)
HUY - HDV                     : BELGIUM      1768 C  non-trad
   Hotel de Ville/Stadhuis
MAASTRICHT - STS              : NETHERLANDS  1770 I  trad
   South Tower of the Choir
   Sint Servaaskerk (St. Gervase Church)
LIEGE - STB                   : BELGIUM      1774 I  trad
   South tower
   St-Barthélemy (Sint-Bartholomeuskerk)
SCHOONHOVEN                   : NETHERLANDS  1775 F  trad
   Stadhuistoren
SINT-NIKLAAS                  : BELGIUM      1775 F  trad
   Belfort, Stadhuis  (Waas)
TURNHOUT                      : BELGIUM      1775 F  trad
   Sint Pieterskerk
NIJKERK                       : NETHERLANDS  1777 F  trad
   St.Catharinatoren
   Ned.Herv.Kerk
LEUVEN - STG                  : BELGIUM      1778 I  trad
   Sint-Geertruikerk  (Abdij)
SINT-TRUIDEN                  : BELGIUM      1787 C  trad
   Belfort, Stadhuis
SCHIEDAM                      : NETHERLANDS  1786 F  trad
   Sint Janstoren (Oude Kerk)
GRONINGEN - M/2               : NETHERLANDS  1788 I  trad
   Upper belfry & cupola
   Martinitoren
   Martinikerk
   (St.Martin's Church)
VEERE                         : NETHERLANDS  1790 I  trad
   Stadhuistoren

Historical Notes:

Willem van den Ghein (1450-1533) established himself as a bellfounder in Mechelen in 1506.  He was the ancestor of a long series of bellfounders, not only in the direct line but in the related lines of Van Aerschodt and Sergeys.  Only a few bells by him are known.  Two sons, Peter [I] and Jan [I], became bellfounders.

Peter [I] van den Ghein (1500-1561), son of Willem, set up his own foundry in Mechelen in 1528.  He was a productive founder, casting peal bells, mortars, table bells and clock bells.  Two sons, Peter [II] and Jan [II], became bellfounders.

Jan [I] van den Ghein (15??-1543), son of Willem, was casting bells by 1534.  His son Anton was also a bellfounder, though no bells by him are known.

Peter [II] van den Ghein (15??-1598), son of Peter [I], worked as a bellfounder in Mechelen between 1561 and 1593.  Three sons, Peter [III], Hendrik and Jan [III], became bellfounders.

Jan [II] van den Ghein (15??-1573), son of Peter [I], was casting bells by 1546.  But he made few, and his son Jan did not become a bellfounder.

Hendrick van den Ghein (1560-1602), son of Peter [II], is known for only four bells from the period 1587-1599.  On the last one, he spelled his name as Van den Gheyn.

Peter [III] van den Ghein (1553-1618), son of Peter [II], worked in the bellfoundry of his father.  After he became sole proprietor, business increased so that he had to enlarge the foundry.  After 1602, he held a leading position in the guild to which bellfounders belonged.  But his known production of bells was not great, and after his death there was no buyer for the foundry, named The Golden Lion.

Jan [III] van den Ghein (15??-1626), youngest of the three sons of Peter [II], was casting bells in Mechelen by 1588.  He had financial problems, made only a few bells, and was followed by his son, Peter [IV].

Peter [IV] van den Ghein (1607-1654), son of Jan [III], cast the great "Salvator" bell for Sint-Romboutskerk, Mechelen, in 1638, in partnership with the Mechelen bellfounder Peter de Clerck, who was his uncle by marriage.  This bell weighed about 15,000 pounds.  Nevertheless, his total production of bells was not great.

Jan [IV] van den Ghein (1642-1697), younger son of Peter [IV], was the last Mechelen bellfounder to use the "Ghein" spelling of the name.  He produced a fair number of bells.

Andreas van den Gheyn (1634-1683), elder son of Peter [IV], moved to Sint Truiden in 1655 and then to Tienen in 1661. 

Peter [V] van den Ghein (16??-1717), son of Andreas, worked in Tienen.  The trade passed to his younger son, Andreas Frans.

Andreas Frans van den Gheyn (1699-1730), son of Peter [V], was born in Tienen but moved to Leuven in 1727 in conjunction with the making of a carillon there.  His wife was the daughter of bellfounder Peter Peeters.  At his death, his sons Matthias (b.1721) and Andreas Josephus (b.1727) were too young to have learned from him,

Cellebroeder Peter van den Gheyn was probably born in 1698 in Tienen as the son of Peter [V].  He was a monk in the brotherhood of the Alexians, a medical order.  Following the death of his brother Andreas Frans, in 1732 he took over the business until his nephews should be old enough.  He was very successful at this, because at least five outstanding carillons came from his foundry.  In time, he took his older nephew Matthias into the business, as for example the carillon of Nijmegen in 1738.  But ultimately Matthias chose to be a musician and composer, for both the organ and the carillon, including his very famous set of preludes.  So in 1751 Peter handed over the foundry to his younger nephew, Andreas Josephus.

Andreas Josephus van den Gheyn (1721-1793), second son of Andreas Frans, was by far the most important bellfounder in the vanden Ghein / vanden Gheyn family line.  He was a carillon maker par excellance.  He made over twenty carillons which were lighter in weight than those of the Hemonys.  Secondly, he went much higher in tone with his small carillon bells than the Hemonys could.  Although his instruments were somewhat carelessly tuned, they are nevertheless charming.  They cover the period 1751 to 1786.  The last was the carillon of Schiedam, which was co-signed with his son Andreas Lodewijk.  He also helped failing bellfounders, even against their will but at the request of the client, such as Alexius Petit at Goes (1766) and Nijkerk (1777). Andreas Josephus was also the organist of St.Michael's Church, the parish to which he belonged.

Matthias van den Gheyn (1753-1807), elder son of Andreas Josephus, seemed destined for a life as a bellfounder.  In 1774, he cast a carillon for Val-Saint-Lambert (which since 1804 has hung in the tower of St.Barthelomew in Luik/Liége).  But then he apparently chose a different direction, as it was his younger brother Andreas Lodewijk who took over their father's foundry.  Matthias died in Turnhout.

Andreas Lodewijk van den Gheyn (1758-1833), younger son of Andreas Josephus, was the last bellfounder who bore the name Van den Gheyn.  He was married in 1783 in Nijvel/Nivelles, and lived there for several years (though he helped his father cast a carillon for Schiedam in 1786).  In 1792 he returned to Leuven, a year before the death of his father.  His daughter, Anna Maximiliana (1792-1875), was married at Nijvel/Nivelles in 1813 to Thomas Guillaume van Aerschodt (1769-1831).  Their sons Andreas Lodewijk (Ludwig) and Severinus (Severin) van Aerschodt would carry on the ancestral trade.

Source: A.Lehr, Register of [Dutch-related] bellfounders (in Dutch only)

Name variations:  The common prefix in the familial name for this foundry may appear as either "van den" or "vanden"; custom varies in different locations and periods of time.  In this index and the related site data pages, we generally follow the custom expressed in the book "Beiaarden en Torens in België" (Belgium [no city given], Musea Nostra / Gemeentekrediet, undated [c.2005]), which is the most complete source of detailed historical information about the instruments listed here.  (Exception: "van den" in the Historical Notes follows the usage in their source.)  Both forms are customarily capitalized when used without a forename, thus "the Vanden Gheyn foundry" but "Matthias vanden Gheyn."


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This index page was built from the database on 27-Feb-08 and last revised on 3-May-14.

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