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LEUVEN - STP : BELGIUM 15__ I trad Stadsbeiaard (city carillon) West tower Sint-Pieterskerk (St.Peter's Church) cast by A.-F. vanden Gheyn 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 - B : 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 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
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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