Hadewijch Masure

Hadewijch Masure


Sint-Jacobsmarkt 13
2000 Antwerpen, BEL

Poor relief and community building in the Southern Low Countries, ca. 1300-1600 (PhD 2012-2019)

My PhD project will study poor relief in an integrated way in two towns in the Southern Low Countries from circa 1300 to 1600 (Mechelen, Bergues/Sint-Winoksbergen, and to certain extent also Brussels and Ghent), in order to examine how, through poor relief schemes, urban communities of solidarity were shaped. I will analyze which communities were implied or shaped when it was regulated and decided who could profit from poor relief, and how this changed in the long run. Who had access to relief systems (and who did not) and what community thereby served as a frame of reference? Which social boundaries were created (and by whom)? Was increasing social fragmentation reflected in a fragmentation of poor relief, or was there a shift from local and particular communities to the whole city in the fifteenth and sixteenth century? In order to examine this, early developments anticipating the Protestant and (early) Catholic Reformations are to be taken into account. Moreover, poor relief is to be examined as an integrated complex, including private hospices, guild’s poor boxes and confraternities next to parishes and public poor relief, so as to offer a comprehensive view and to capture possible shifts between different types of institutions. With an eye on feasibility, I will select one or two organisations from each different type and analyse their regulations, samples of accounts, membership lists, distribution lists, correspondence and juridical litigation. Both practices (who was included or not) and discourses (who was defined as part of which community and why) will be examined. The project is supervised by prof. dr. Bert De Munck and prof. dr. Peter Stabel.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about my research!



B. DE MUNCK en H. MASURE, "Zelforganisatie en incorporatie: een historisch perspectief op het stedelijke middenveld", in: M. Schrooten e.a., Sociaal schaduwwerk. Over informele spelers in het welzijnslandschap, 233-244 (forthcoming, early 2019).

H. MASURE, "Ambachtssolidariteit in Brabantse steden (1250-1600)", in: Noordbrabants Historisch Jaarboek, 2018, 51 e.v.

H. MASURE, "Poor boxes, guild ethic and community building in Brabant, ca. 1250-1600", in: J. Colson and A. van Steensel (eds.), Cities and Solidarities: Urban Communities in Pre-Modern Europe, Routledge, 2017, 115-131.

K. OVERLAET en H. MASURE, "Family matters? Zorgbehoevende ouderen in het zestiende-eeuwse Mechelen", Jaarboek De Zeventiende Eeuw, 2017, 55-72.

E. VAN ONACKER and H. MASURE, ‘Unity in diversity. Rural poor relief in the sixteenth-century Low Countries’, Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, 12/4, 2015, 59-88.

H. MASURE, “’Eerlycke huijsarmen’ of ‘ledichgangers’? Armenzorg en gemeenschapsvorming in Brussel, 1300-1640”, Stadsgeschiedenis, 7/1, 2012, 1-21.

H. MASURE, "Poor relief and communities in Mechelen, 1255-1600", Peter Stabel et. al., Urban identities in the late-medieval and early modern city. Mechelen in the 15th and 16th centuries (forthcoming).

K. DOMBRECHT, E. VAN ONACKER, H. MASURE, W. RYCKBOSCH, T. SOENS, E. THOEN, 'The regional differences of office holding by rural elites : a comparative study for late medieval Flanders and Brabant (14th-16th century)', in: Dagmar Freist e.a., Hinter dem Horizont : Projektion und Distinktion ländlicher Oberschichten im europäischen Vergleich, 17. Bis 19. Jahrundert , Münster, Aschendorff, 2013, 213-224.

H. MASURE, “’And thus the brethren shall meet all together’. Active participation in Antwerp confraternities, c. 1375-1650”, in: B. Blondé, B. De Munck en M. Van Dijck (red.), Antwerp in the Renaissance (forthcoming).

T. SOENS, P. DE GRAEF, H. MASURE en I. JONGEPIER, "Boerenrepubliek in een heerlijk landschap? Een nieuwe kijk op de Wase polders als landschap en bestuur", in: C. GOOSSENS,  Y. SEGERS and B. OOGHE (eds.), Van brouck tot dyckagie. Vijf eeuwen Wase polders , Waasmunster, 2012, 19-44.

H. MASURE, I. JONGEPIER, T. SOENS, R. VERMOESEN en E. WAUTERS,  “Landschaps- en bewoningsevolutie van de Oud-Arenbergpolder, 17e-19e eeuw”, Tijd-schrift. Heemkunde en lokaal-erfgoedpraktijk in Vlaanderen, 2/3, 2012, 34-49.

T. SOENS, J. SERGANT, E. WAUTERS, I. JONGEPIER, H. MASURE, F. CRUZ, P. LALOO, L. LOMBAERT, J. MIKKELSEN, G. NOENS, Ruraal Erfgoed Linkeroever: onderzoek naar het ruraal erfgoed in de Wase polders, Antwerpen, 2012, 3 v.


Past research

Poor relief and the community in Brussels, 1300-1640 (master thesis 2011)

This research was published as

H. MASURE, “’Eerlycke huijsarmen’ of ‘ledichgangers’? Armenzorg en gemeenschapsvorming in Brussel, 1300-1640”, Stadsgeschiedenis, 7/1, 2012, 1-21.

This research presents a multi-layered perspective on poor relief in Brussels from 1300 to 1640. The central question is what kind of community people had in mind when organizing poor relief: who got access to certain help systems and who did not? I have made an overview of the diverse existing relief systems – hospitals, hospices, poor tables, confraternities, poor boxes etc. – with particular emphasis on the role of the city council. Then I turn to three specific aspects of community definition: membership requirements, regulations regarding origin and standards of behaviour. In the sixteenth century poor relief was made more rigid: a clear distinction was made between deserving and undeserving poor, restrictions on begging were introduced and strangers and - in the guilds’ poor boxes - also journeymen were excluded. This evolution, however, had already started in the fifteenth century and often bottom up. In the private assurance system for the middle classes, poor relief was - from very early on - associated with shame and restricted to the deserving poor of their own community. Interference from town councils, too, emerged in the 15th century. In the developing towns the idea of a civic community was more and more taking hold, albeit that other principles such as those of corporation, socio-economic status, confession and family ties interfered.

Poor relief in rural communities in the Southern Low Countries, 1450-1600 (2012)

This is a short-term research on poor relief in a number of villages in three regions in the Southern Low Countries. It is part of the FWO-project 'Local elites in a changing society: a comparative study of power in Flemish and Brabantine villages (13th-16th centuries)' directed by prof. dr Tim Soens (UA) and prof. dr. Erik Thoen (UGent). A publication is coming.

Rural Heritage in the Waasland Polder area (2011-2012)

A multi-disciplinary research on rural heritage in the Waasland Polder area (Flanders). This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Technum Tractebel Eng. UA provides Technum Tractebel Eng research results on the landscape history and landscape development of the Waasland Polder area. Furthermore, UA supports research on the monumental, landscape and archeological heritage of this area, which encompasses parts of the historical polders Prosperpolder, Doelpolder, Nieuw and Oud Arenbergpolder and Koningskieldrechtpolder.



Statute & functions

Bijzonder academisch personeel

  • researcher