In 1488 the city of Leuven magistracy allowed the guild of the guards of Ste. Barbelen to exist as amateur guild of the "Gebrokene Pese" (Broken String) and to participate in all kinds of celebrations. Thus the guild of Ste. Barbelen resorted under the city of Leuven and no longer under the principal St. Sebastian guild as was usual at that time.
During the French Revolution the guild of Ste. Barbelen was abolished, as was the case with all other Leuven guilds. However, after several years old members of the guild returned to their monthly shooting practices. Unfortunately during the turbulent years of the Belgian independence (1830) the guild ceased to exist.
On 22 November 1958 the city council of Leuven awarded the folk art group Reuzegom with the title "Guild of Ste.Barbelen".
After extensive research into the history of the said guild, Reuzegom started its own crossbow division, this in order to continue the tradition of the ancient guild of Ste. Barbelen in the former ducal capital Leuven.In the mean time, the crossbow marksmen of the guild have achieved a great deal on the sports front. They have regularly obtained good results and earned many a trophy.
On the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the Town Hall of Leuven (1998) the marksmen copied the historically correct attire that dates from the years 1520-1540. With this attire the marksmen may now participate in many events that require formal guild dress (e.g. "Rhetorical Chamber" competitions, processions and tournaments). These events are complimented by crossbow demonstration sessions upon request.
Should you be interested, our shooting practice is held every third Friday of the month.
Please contact the working group "crossbow" for more details: Willy Pelgrims