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"Saint Idesbald" redirects here. For the hamlet, see Saint-Idesbald.
Saint Idesbald
Chapel at the back of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Duinenkerk. Ostend, Belgium. Stained glass representations of Saint Godelieve and Saint Idesbald.
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 1894
Major shrine Bruges
Feast April 18

Saint[note 1] Idesbald (Idesbaldus) (ca. 1100-1167) was a Cistercian monk and abbot of the Ten Duinen abbey. He was a courtier and page to the Count of Flanders. It is believed that he was related to or proceeded from the noble family of Van der Gracht, lords of Moorsel.[1]

He became a canon priest at Veurne in 1135. In 1150, he became a Cistercian at the abbey of Our Lady of the Dunes (Abbey of Ten Duinen), and abbot of this foundation from 1155 to 1167. This was located in the present-day municipality of Koksijde, located on the sand hills between Dunkirk and Nieuwpoort.


Idesbald was buried in the abbey in a coffin of lead. In 1577, the Geuzen plundered the abbey, and the monks transported Idesbald's relics to a farm at Bogaerde.[1] In 1623, official recognition of his relics was carried out in which his coffin was opened before many witnesses; the body was reported to be incorruptible. For days, the body was shown to visitors.[1]

His relics were translated again to Bruges in 1796 to avoid having them destroyed by Revolutionary troops.[1] In 1830, his relics were placed in a chapel associated with the abbey of Our Lady of the Potteries.[1] His cult was officially approved in 1894 by decree issued by the Diocese of Bruges.[1]

In 2015 the lead coffin thought to contain his remains was opened. Both the carbonised lead of the coffin and the skeletal remains inside were radiocarbon-dated. The dates reveal that the remains are not those of st. Idesbald, as they date to the later 15th or early 16th century. It is hypothesised that the coffin and skeleton represent the burial of a later abbot[2]

The hamlet of Saint-Idesbald, which gained fame as an artists' quarter, takes its name from him.


  1. ^ Some sources refer to him as blessed or Beatus rather than Saint. See and


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Beato Idesbaldo delle Dune". Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Van Strydonck, Mark; Boudin, Mathieu; den Brande, Tess Van; Saverwyns, Steven; Van Acker, Jan; Lehouck, Alexander; Vanclooster, Dirk (2016-02-01). "14C-dating of the skeleton remains and the content of the lead coffin attributed to the Blessed Idesbald (Abbey of the Dunes, Koksijde, Belgium)". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 5: 276–284. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.11.027. 

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