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Borkel en Schaft (The Netherlands)

Valkenswaard municipality, Noord-Brabant province

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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[Borkel en Schaft village flag] image by Jarig Bakker, 25 Jun 2009
village flag used since c. 2009

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Borkel en Schaft village

Borkel en Schaft is a former municipality in Noord-Brabant province, now part of Valkenswaard. Its flag was blue with a yellow plough.
The flag was a banner of arms. The arms, granted 16 Jul 1817, were blazoned "azure a plough or".
The plough was seen as a general symbol for agriculture in the municipality. The municipality was abolished in 1934, when it became part of Valkenswaard.
In 1996 the "Noord-Brabantse commissie voor Wapen- en Vlaggenkunde" proposed to adapt the arms in order to use it as village arms for Borkel. The colors were changed (yellow plough on black) and a white chief was created. This was never adopted.
Source: Ralf Hartemink.
However at this village website one may discern that even in Borkel en Schaft time hasn't stood still: a village flag was adopted, which was apparently quite popular: blue with a white plough.

Borkel was a small village against the Belgian border with 50 houses; every ball thrown from any houses landed on the Borkelse heather. The 300 inhabitants led a minimal existence on the extremely poor soil. They were all members of the parish of Borkel-en-Schaft with a shed-church devoted to St. Servatius. The old church had a spire and the States-General (of The Netherlands) allowed the priest to live there, but not preach! When he was allowed to preach eventually the inhabitants continued to use the shed-church.

The municipality of Borkel-en-Schaft consisted of the settlements Borkel en Schaft, Klein-Borkel, Hoek, Heuvel, Hoef-en-Brug, Peuterseind, Heijerseind, and Klein-Schaft. It had 88 houses and 500 inhabitants, living off rye, buckwheat, oats, a lotta potatoes, "spurrie" (Spergula, related to asparagus) and flax. Most soils were extremely poor. The meadows along the mighty Dommel river were rather good, however. The inhabitants belonged to two parishes, but some bright mind developed a scheme to build a church between the villages and to knock down the old churches. After the Reformation Borkel en Schaft belonged to other parishes: Borkel to Westerhoven and Schaft to Valkenswaard. In 1690 they split from those parishes and were united under one priest. After the conquest of Den Bosch by the Dutch troops the villagers had to go to church in Achel, a nearby village belonging to the princedom of Luik, now part of Belgian Limburg. During the friendly French occupation at the end of the 18th century the Achelaars used the church of Schaft for their devotions.
Source: A.J. van der Aa, Aardrijkskundig Woordenboek der Nederlanden, part 2, 1840.

Near Schaft a certain general or colonel bivouacked in order to gun down the castle of Achel, and it is said that the remainders can still be admired. His name is forgotten, but legend has it that the Schafters needed a whole day to cook the coffeebeans he left behind. The church of Schaft was a small building, devoted to St Peter in his fetters, with a spire but without an organ. It was (together with the Borkel church) demolished in 1844 to make place for the church in the heather.
Source: A.J. van der Aa, Aardrijkskundig Woordenboek der Nederlanden, part 10, 1847.
Jarig Bakker, 5 Aug 2009

The Corn Spurrey (Spergula arvensis L.) belongs to Family Caryophyllaceae and is, therefore not related to genus Asparagus, Family Liliaceae. It was grown in the past on poor soil as a rye intercrop and use as a forage for cattle.
According to Littré's dictionary (1863-1877), spurrey forage increased milk production in cows, which was used in the Netherlands to produce "spurrey butter" ("spurrie-boter", as reported by J.L. van Aelbroeck, "L'agriculture de la Flandre", 1830).
The French agriculture and gardening textbooks of the 19th century (and the Dutch, too, I guess) provide guidelines for spurrey cultivation. Today, like most obsolete plants, spurrey is mostly considered as a weed. However, its small, black seeds are sold as a bait for fish.
Ivan Sache, 5 Aug 2009


Borkel en Schaft [former municipality]

Borkel en Schaft image by Shipmate Flagchart :  http://www.flagchart.net
municipal flag used till 1934

Borkel en Schaft Coat of Arms

Same as flag, see International Civic Arms : http://www.ngw.nl/
Granted 16 Jul 1817