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Gentry in Flemish Brabant

10th till 15th century
Reinier, who founded a cloister

Wapen van Udekem Gentry in Flemish Brabant
Nobility from Leuven in Wallonia

According to Guido Joris, a specialist in local history from Korbeek-Lo, the history of Udekem goes back to the offspring of the Frankish Baron Udo, who lived in 939. This would mean that a descendant of Baron Udo left the Odenwald and settled in the region of Leuven to found a 'home of Udo'. This home was called 'Udinga haima', later transformed into Udinchem (Uedechim, Udekem).

Location of 'huedekens hof', now 'vijverhof' with castle of Korbeek-lo, one of the places inhabited by members of the House of Udekem It is very likely that this 'home' was located at the beautiful location where you can now find the Vijverhof, and that this domain was an allodium, not a fief. Next to the "Huedecens hof", as it was called till the 18th century in the village of Korbeek-Lo, the village church was built. In this 'Udinga Haima' in Korbeek-Lo lived an ancestor (probably around the year 1000) of Queen Mathilde.

Little or nothing is known about the history of Flemish Brabant before the year 1000. As far as Leuven is concerned, around the year 900 a few families started to set themselves up as Lords under tutelage of the Counts of Haspengauw. They became the first administrators of the city of Leuven. Next to the Lords of Uten Lieminghen, who possessed a domain on the location where the abbey of Vlierbeek was built, and who, judging by the large amount of aldermen in the family, lay the foundation of Leuven, these were (according to tradition) the families Gielis, Van den Steene, Van Redingen, Van der Calstren, Verrusalem and Van Rode.

The family Udekem didn't belong to the founders of the city, though Udekem was present in the region of Leuven at an early date. The move to the city will occur centuries after the foundation of the city. The Udekems were vassals of the Dukes of Brabant, the Dukes that came forth from the Counts of Leuven, starting with Lambert I, 950-1015. Being Lords of a domain and of several fiefs, they weren't interested in the development of the city. As descendants of a 'Forest Baron' they were probably more interested in the forest 'Meerdaalwoud', which was a possession of the Barons of Bierbeek.

In an old book in which the vassals of the Dukes of Brabant are listed, a Rosso van Udekem is mentioned in 1156 as a vassal of the Duke of Brabant (Godfried III) next to noble Lords as Gossein van Heverlee, Godfried van Rotselaer, Arnold van Diest and Wauter van Bierbeek. Seven of the nine sons of Rosso van Udekem were knights. Three among them were vassals of Hendrik I, Duke of Brabant, Count of Leuven and Marquis of Antwerp. Rosso van Udekem was Lord of Udekem, Pellenberg, Lubbeek and Schaffen.

Reinier van Udekem, the youngest son of Rosso van Udekem, was Lord of Pellenberg and Lubbeek. He married Lawreta van Peruwelz, a relative of the Duke of Brabant. Reinier had a large offspring too. (seven sons and eight daughters). He lived in a home on the Pellenberg, the highest mountain in the region of Leuven. In the year 1219 he founded a cloister at this location for his eight daughters. The daughter of his wealthy sister, a nun in Herckenrode, joined her eight nieces. Ten years later, the Duke of Brabant visited the cloister and was charmed by the pious nature of his distant relatives. He gave them a domain in Winge, called Gemp. There the cloister prospered until the French Revolution.

Corbeke, in which the domain Udekem was situated, merged in the fourteenth century with Overloo, a fief from Bierbeek, into Corbeek-Overloo, later Korbeek-Lo. The last Lord of Udekem was Jan III van Udekem, a direct forefather of Queen Mathilde, who is mentioned in 1338. His son will marry Elisabeth van Huysinghen.

These ancestors of Queen Mathilde married daughters of Knights (van Herent, van Holsbeke). In 1468, Joris van Udekem (Georges d'Udekem), a direct ancestor of Princees Mathilde who lived in Leuven in the St-Kwintensstraat, acquires the domain Guertechin in Walloon Brabant. He buys it from Margareta van Wilre, a daughter of Elisabeth d'Udekem and Guillaume van Wilre who was married to Mathias van Bierbeek. The son of Joris van Udekem (a bastard son after three marriages without a male successor), Jan van Udekem, inherits Guertechin, becomes steward of St-Kwintens in Leuven and marries Jacqueline de Limmingen from the house of Uten Liemingen, the family that was the driving force behind the development of Leuven.

Nobility from Leuven in Wallonia

Dutch Version

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