Monnikerede: The Rise and Decline of a Medieval Port Community in the Zwin Estuary

Ward Leloup, Wim De Clercq, Kristof Dombrecht, Jan Dumolyn, Jan Trachet

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Historians have primarily considered the small harbour of Monnikerede along the Zwin as an outport in service of Bruges. In this short urban biography, Monnikerede is given the centre stage. We investigate its functional development and changing socio-economic character between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Originating before 1200 as a landing stage linked to the Cistercian abbey of Ter Doest, Monnikerede developed into a fairly autonomous fishing and trading port during the thirteenth century. Only after 1300 was the port integrated into a rigid and hierarchical harbour network centred on Bruges, prompting a functional shift towards a staple market and service centre. It was primarily the loss of its privileges during the Bruges revolt of 1436-38 that led to the depopulation and the eventual disappearance of the town.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-130
Number of pages34
JournalThe Medieval Low Countries
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Zwin portuary network
  • Urban History
  • Maritime History
  • Medieval Archaeology
  • Medieval Harbours


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