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20 February 2020

Did you know that … many years ago the tower almost collapsed?

Mechelen Feest
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For centuries the Mechlinians had been mightily proud of their tower. So panic broke out at the slightest threat to their pride and joy. When people thought the tower was on fire in 1687, everyone rushed to the scene to do their bit to extinguish it. In 1737, however, it wasn’t the moon that played tricks on the people of Mechelen, but one of the bells in the tower.

Around ten o’clock in the morning the gravedigger would ring the bells. At that time of day, all the students would be in the cathedral attending mass. One day, while the bells were being rung, they suddenly heard a deafening sound … as if the devil himself was up in the tower.    In panic, the gravedigger ran into the cathedral shouting: “Everyone out, the tower is collapsing!” Mass degenerated into chaos. People fled in all directions. Some ran out of the church, others hid in the crypt. 

When everyone had fled the building, they stood looking up at the tower anxiously, only to see that it was still nice and upright. When they went inside to inspect it, they found that one of the bells had been the cause of all the commotion. The clapper had come crashing down, making such a noise that the people of Mechelen feared that their tower was collapsing.