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The king of dirt: public health and sanitation in late medieval Ghent



Taking the office of the coninc der ribauden in Ghent as a case-study, this article reconstructs the enforcement of urban sanitation and preventative health practices during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The coninc managed a wide range of issues perceived as potentially polluting, damaging or threatening to health. Banning waste and chasing pigs as well as prostitutes off the streets, the office implemented a governmental vision on communal well-being. Health interests, as part of a broader pursuit of the common good, therefore played an important yet hitherto largely overlooked role in medieval urban governance.

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I would like to express my gratitude to Guy Geltner, Richard Calis, Kim Overlaet and the members of the Centrum for Stadsgeschiedenis at the University of Antwerp for their helpful comments and suggestions.



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1 de Potter, F., Gent, van den oudsten tijd tot heden: geschiedkundige beschrijving der stad, 8 vols. (Ghent, 18831901), vol. I, 375.

2 van Werveke, H., De Gentsche stadsfinancien in de Middeleeuwen (Brussels, 1934), 224–47; Boone, M., ‘Openbare diensten en initiatieven te Gent tijdens de late Middeleeuwen (14de–15de Eeuw)’, in L'Initiative publique des communes en Belgique: fondements historiques (Ancien Régime): actes Colloque international, Spa, 1–4 sept. 1982 (Brussels, 1984), 71114.

3 Diericx, C., Mémoires sur la ville de Gand (Ghent, 1815), 535.

4 Geltner, G., ‘Healthscaping a medieval city: Lucca's Curia viarum and the future of public health history’, Urban History, 40 (2013), 395415.

5 Lecuppre-Desjardin, E. and Van Bruaene, A.-L. (eds.), De Bono Communi: The Discourse and Practice of the Common Good in the European City (13th–16th C.) (Turnhout, 2010).

6 Most influentally formulated in Rosen, G., A History of Public Health (New York, 1958), 6270; Cipolla, C.M., Public Health and the Medical Profession in the Renaissance (Cambridge, 1976), but also resonating in Porter, D., Health, Civilization and the State: A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times (London, 1999), 3045.

7 Pottier, W. and Maclot, P. (eds.), ’n Propere tijd!? (On)leefbaar Antwerpen thuis en op straat (1500–1800) (Antwerp, 1988); Poulussen, P., Van burenlast tot milieuhinder: het stedelijk leefmilieu, 1500–1800 (Kapellen, 1987); F. Huisman, ‘Stadsbelang en standsbesef: gezondheidszorg en medisch beroep in Groningen 1500–1730’, Erasmus University Rotterdam Ph.D. thesis, 1992, 14–29. See also van der Heijden, M. et al. (eds.), Serving the Urban Community: The Rise of Public Facilities in the Low Countries (Amsterdam, 2009).

8 For recent overviews, see Boone, M. and Deneckere, G. (eds.), Gent: stad van alle tijden (Ghent, 2010); Nicholas, D., Medieval Flanders (London, 2014).

9 For the period 1280–1389, I have used the following editions of the Stadsrekeningen: Vuylsteke, J., Gentsche stads- en baljuwsrekeningen 1280–1336 (Ghent, 1900); De Pauw, N. and Vuylsteke, J., De rekeningen der stad Gent. Tijdvak van Jacob van Artevelde 1336–1349, 3 vols. (Ghent, 1874–85); Van Werveke, A., Gentse stads- en baljuwsrekeningen 1351–1364 (Brussels, 1970); Nicholas, D. and Prevenier, W., Gentse stads- en baljuwsrekeningen (1365–1376) (Ghent, 1999); Vuylsteke, J., De rekeningen der stad Gent. Tijdvak van Philips van Artevelde 1376–1389 (Ghent, 1893). I will hereafter use abreviated titles: e.g. Rek. Gent 1280–1336. When the accounted year straddled two calender years, as did Ghent's schepenjaar, in the footnotes I have referred to that year by the first date (e.g. 1327–28 = 1327).

10 Rawcliffe, C., Urban Bodies: Communal Health in Late Medieval English Towns and Cities (Woodbridge, 2013), 4–11. See also ‘The history of public health in pre-industrial societies: a bibliography compiled by G. Geltner and J. Coomans’ (online publication).

11 Her definition entailed further ‘the control of dismissible disease,. . .provision of water and food of good quality and in sufficient supply, the provision of medical care and the relief of disability and destitution’. Rawcliffe, Urban Bodies, 4–5; Geltner, ‘Healthscaping a medieval city’, 396. See also Porter, Health, Civilization and the State, 4; idem, The History of Public Health and the Modern State (Amsterdam, 1994), 4–5.

12 Brockington, C. Fraser, A Short History of Public Health (London, 1956); Elias, N., The Civilizing Process (Oxford, 1978); Vigarello, G., Concepts of Cleanliness: Changing Attitudes in France since the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1988). For a critical discussion, see Geltner, G., ‘Public health and the pre-modern city: a research agenda’, History Compass, 10 (2012), 231–45.

13 Porter, The History of Public Health and the Modern State, 5. See on biopower Burchell, G. et al. (eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago, 1991), and its application in medieval studies G. Geltner, Healthscaping Medieval Italy: A Study in Biopower (forthcoming).

14 Rawcliffe, Urban Bodies; Skelton, L.J., Sanitation in Urban Britain, 1560–1700 (London, 2015); Jørgensen, D., ‘Cooperative sanitation: managing streets and gutters in late medieval England and Scandinavia’, Technology and Culture, 49 (2008), 547–67; Glick, T.F., ‘Muhtasib and Mustasaf: a case study of institutional diffusion’, Viator, 2 (1971), 5981; Leguay, J.-P., La pollution au Moyen Âge dans la royaume de France et dans les grands fiefs (Paris, 1999); Balestracci, D., ‘The regulation of public health in Italian medieval towns’, in Kùhnel, H. et al. (eds.), Die Vielfalt der Dinge (Vienna, 1998), 345–57; Kinzelbach, A., ‘Infection, contagion, and public health in late medieval and early modern German imperial towns’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 3 (2006), 369–89; Geltner, Healthscaping Medieval Italy, ch. 5, offers a synthesis across regions, including the near Middle East.

15 de Smet, J., ‘Les keures inédites du plus ancien livre de keures d'Ypres’, Bulletin de la Commission Royale, 94 (1930), 443. Extant evidence from thirteenth-century Italy and Iberia slightly precedes the first documentation from the Low Countries. Geltner, ‘Healthscaping a medieval city’.

16 Marez, G. des and de Sagher, E.H. (eds.), Comptes de la ville d'Ypres de 1267 à 1329 (Brussels, 1909), 184 (1304), 285 (1308), 338 (1310).

17 Poulussen, Van burenlast tot milieuhinder, 36–43.

18 B. Debaenst, ‘Historische stront op Vlaamse grond. Een inleidende studie in de historische faecologie’, University of Ghent MA thesis, 1999.

19 B. Vannieuwenhuyze, ‘“Allen dengenen die in der stad dienste sijn”: Een overzicht van de stedelijke openbare ambten en diensten in het laatmiddeleeuwse Brussel 1229–1477’, University of Ghent MA thesis, 2002, 183–6; Viaene, A., ‘De pijpemeesters van Ieper’, Biekorf, 63 (1962), 280–1.

20 Kwakman, C., ‘Slijkburgers in Utrecht’, Madoc, 19 (2005), 167–74; van Genderen, B. van den Hoven, ‘De vieze en ongezonde Middeleeuwen?’, in Meens, R. and van Rhijn, C. (eds.), Cultuurgeschiedenis van de Middeleeuwen: beeldvorming en perspectieven (Zwolle, 2015), 255–60; Jacobs, B.C.M., Justitie en politie in ’s-Hertogenbosch voor 1629 (Assen, 1986), 146–7.

21 Spitzers, T.A., ‘Archaeological evidence and models on waste-disposal and the infrastructure of Deventer’, in Gläser, M. (ed.), Lübecker Kolloquium zur Stadtarchäologie im Hanseraum IV: die Infrastruktur (Lübeck, 2004), 119–21.

22 Huisman, ‘Stadsbelang en standsbesef’, 16.

23 However, Leiden did not commonly employ a scavenger. van Steensel, A., ‘Het personeel van de laatmiddeleeuwse steden Haarlem en Leiden, 1428–1572’, Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis, 9 (2006), 191252; R. van Uytven, ‘Stedelijke openbare diensten te Leuven tijdens het Ancien Régime’, in L'initiative publique, 21–43.

24 Ypres’ pipemestres were in Latin the comitibus dulcis aque. This city furthermore occasionally paid a similarly named compte de ribaud. Marez and Sagher (eds.), Comptes, 41, 126, 159.

25 Middelnederlands Woordenboek (MNW),, accessed 13 June 2017; Haemers, J. and Verbist, B., ‘Het Gentse gemeenteleger in het laatste kwart van de vijftiende eeuw: een politieke, financiële en militaire analyse van de stadsmilitie’, Maatschappij voor Geschiedenis en Oudheidkunde te Gent, 62 (2008), 313. See also Stadsarchief Gent (SAG), Nota's Van Werveke, no. 1112; Terroine, A., ‘Le roi des ribauds de l'hôtel du roi et les prostituées parisiennes’, Revue historique de droit français et étranger, 56 (1978), 253–67; Viltart, F., ‘Le roi de ribauds a la fin de Moyen Âge: une royaute infame?’, in Hilltmann, T. (ed.), Les ‘autres’ rois: études sur la royauté comme notion hiérarchique dans la société au bas Moyen Âge et au début de l’époque moderne (Munich, 2010).

26 SAG, 400, no. 11, fol. 123r (1406), no. 15, fol. 103r (1436), no. 16, fol. 310v (1446), no. 18, fol. 291r (1456), no. 27, fol. 23v (1476).

27 Fris’ edition of the anonymous chronicle Dagboek van Gent van 1447 tot 1470, 2 vols. (Ghent, 1901), mentions several conincs: a ‘coninc van den kinderen’, vol. I, 14; ‘Pieter Leyns, coninc van der moorheren’, vol. I, 251 (1452); ‘Jacop de Bruyne, conynck van Moorkinderen’, vol. II, 267 (1491).

28 Haemers and Verbist, ‘Het Gentse gemeenteleger’, 313.

29 Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 68, 424, 588, 643, 887.

30 Ibid., 83. On public works, see ibid., 208–25, 385, 390.

31 de Pauw, N., De Voorgeboden der stad Gent in de XIVe eeuw (1337–1382) (Ghent, 1885), 52, 94, 112, 124, 149.

32 Ibid., 92 (1366), 114 (1372),149 (1377), 153 (1378); SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fols. 22r, 26v.

33 The standard money of account in Ghent's archival records is the Vlaamse groot (gr. Vl.) consisting of a pound (l.), divided into 12 schellingen (s.), and 240 penningen (d.). However, Ghent's authorities in decrees noted sums in groten parisis (gr. par.) while in the financial accounts they mostly used the much less valuable groten payments (gr. paym.). The standard ratio between them was 1 l. Vl. = 12 l. gr. par. = 40 l. gr. paym., Rek. Gent 1365–1376, xxxi. Thus, a fine of 5 s. gr. par. = 5 d. gr. Vl., a large fine of 10 l. gr. par. = 200 d. gr. Vl. In Ghent, in the 1320s, a digger or mason's servant earned around 1,4 d. gr. Vl. per day, and in Bruges in 1363, around 3 d. gr. W. Blockmans and W. Preventier, ‘Armoede in de Nederlanden van de 14e tot het midden van de 16e eeuw: bronnen problemen’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 88 (1975), 506.

34 De Pauw, De Voorgeboden, 13, 23, 25, 39, 41, 44, 91, 92, 108, 112, 114, 124, 145, 128, 153, 156; SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fol. 75v (1420).

35 De Pauw, De Voorgeboden, 124.

36 ‘De rivieren binnen der stede tscoenste juweel’, De Pauw, De Voorgeboden, 99; repeated in SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fols. 50v, 67v. ‘Item dat men int ghelike de haerde al omme doe rumen te coste van den ghene die de selve haerde orboren sullen’, SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fol. 13v.

37 ‘Omme te stuwene de grote dangieren die commen mochten vanden vulicheyde ende stanck commende uuten messinghen liggende up weghen ende straten’, SAG, Voorgeboden 93/26, fol. 11v.

38 SAG, Voorgeboden 93/26, fol. 14r.

39 De Pauw, De Voorgeboden, 44.

40 De Potter, Gent, vol. I, 369–91; Haemers and Verbist, ‘Het Gentse gemeenteleger’; Boone, ‘Openbare diensten’, 82.

41 The other parts were divided between city and count. SAG, Voorgeboden, 108/2, fols. 8r (1405), 10r (1406); Voorgeboden 93/26, fol. 2r (1483).

42 Van Werveke, De Gentsche stadsfinancien, 242–3.

43 Ciecieznski, N., ‘The stench of disease: public health and the environment in late-medieval English towns and cities’, Health, Culture and Society, 4 (2013), 91; Sabine, E.L., ‘Butchering in mediaeval London’, Speculum, 8 (1933), 335–53; Rawcliffe, Urban Bodies, 241–83.

44 ‘Dat sij de plaetse van den veemaerct sullen houden reine’, De Potter, Gent, vol. VII, 141, 146; F. van de Putte, ‘Het Sint-Jan-Ten-Dullen Hospitaal in het laatmiddeleeuwse Gent’, University of Ghent MA thesis, 2007, 182.

45 Couquerque, L.M. Rollin and van Embden, A. Meerkamp (eds.), Rechtsbronnen der stad Gouda (The Hague, 1917), 241 (1510); Abrahamse, J.E., De grote uitleg van Amsterdam: stadsontwikkeling in de zeventiende eeuw (Bussum, 2010), 296–7.

46 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 340, 349, 399.

47 Douglas, M., Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concept of Pollution and Taboo (London, 2003), 44.

48 ‘Waerdecose’: Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 391, 887; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. III, 294; Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 330; ‘Geluwen froclakene vander stede wulle’, Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 455; ‘Froc’: Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 104, 297, 567; Rek. Gent 1365–1376, 17.

49 Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 217 (1321). See also ibid., 225 (1322); Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 578, 594, 656; Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 145 (1379).

50 See for instance Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 242 (1337); Rek. Gent 1336–1349, 340 (1338); Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 241 (1355–56).

51 Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 122, 266, 609–10, 622, 717; Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 120. In 1378, the aldermen ordered 100 buckets, as attested by both a public decree and an entry in the financial accounts. Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 95; De Pauw, De Voorgeboden, 150.

52 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. II, 90, 142, 440, vol. III, 108; Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 486; Rek. Gent 1365–1376, 26, 152; Haemers and Verbist, ‘Het Gentse gemeenteleger’, 313.

53 The coninc and minions also occasionally helped to guard within the city, often for a few nights, or during special occasions and festivities. Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 77; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 9, 99; Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 103.

54 Arnade, P.J., Realms of Ritual: Burgundian Ceremony and Civic Life in Late Medieval Ghent (Ithaca, NY, 1996), 56–7.

55 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 382 (1339); Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 296, 326, 413, 514, 565; Rek. Gent 1365–1376, 16, 39, 62, 100; Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 372; SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fols. 25v (1401), 302v (1411), no. 13, fol. 325r (1426), no. 15, fol. 68v (1436), no. 16, fol. 311r (1446), no. 18, fol. 260r (1456), no. 25, fol. 111r (1466), no. 27, fol. 23v (1476), no. 29, fol. 172r (1486).

56 van Werveke, Alfons, ‘Het Auweet, de groote parade van Halfvasten vóór 1540’, Bulletin der Maatschappij der Geschied- en Oudheidkunde te Gent, 15 (1907), 213; Rek. Gent 1365–1376, 25, 71, 118, 139; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 219–20; SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fols. 136r (1406), 315r (1411), no. 13, fol. 340r (1426), no. 15, fol. 109r–v (1436), no. 16, fol. 340v (1446), no. 18, fol. 309r (1456), no. 25, fol. 158v (1466), no. 29, fol. 242r (1486).

57 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. II, 134; Rek. Gent 1365–1376, 48, 117–18; Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 34.

58 SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fol. 315r–v (1411); SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fols. 51r, 63r, 65v; Arnade, Realms of Ritual, 61–3. See also E. Lecuppre-Desjardin, ‘Grote schoonmaak in de stad’, Jaarboek voor Ecologische Geschiedenis (2002), 19–35.

59 On the Plaetse, Korenaard, Vismarkt, and Vrijdagmarkt, Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 395.

60 Ibid., vol. I, 382, 391, 432, 433, 454.

61 Ibid., vol. I, 455, 472, 482, 496.

62 Ibid., vol. I, 252–3.

63 Ibid., vol. I, 85, 88.

64 Ibid., vol. I, 84.

65 Nicholas, D., The Van Arteveldes of Ghent: The Varieties of Vendetta and the Hero in History (Leiden, 1988), 30–2.

66 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. III, 33, 68–9.

67 Ibid., vol. II, 73.

68 Ibid., vol. II, 141, 143.

69 ‘Lanenman hem 13er forneise ontwee te slane ende van meybomen ute te werpene after straten’, ibid., vol. II, 260.

70 Ibid., vol. I, 431. See also on this practice M. Ryckaert, ‘Brandbestrijding en overheidsmaatregelen tegen brandgevaar tijdens het Ancien Régime’, in L'initiative publique, 249–52.

71 Morrison, S.S., Excrement in the Late Middle Ages: Sacred Filth and Chaucer's Fecopoetics (New York, 2008), 151; Debaenst, ‘Historische stront’; Thoen, E., Landbouwekonomie en bevolking in Vlaanderen gedurende de late Middeleeuwen en het begin van de Moderne Tijden (Ghent, 1988); van Oosten, R.M.R., De Stad, het vuil en de beerput: De opkomst, verbreiding en neergang van de beerput in stedelijke context (Leiden, 2015).

72 The total group of conincxkinderen receiving annual payment comprised never more than 10 men, but their numbers grew considerably when military activities intensified.

73 Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 606 (1328).

74 van Tyghem, F., Het Stadhuis van Gent (Brussels, 1978); Laleman, M.C. and Vermeiren, G., ‘Ruimte en bebouwing in het centrum van het middeleeuwse Gent’, Handelingen der Maatschappij voor Geschiedenis en Oudheidkunde te Gent, 64 (2010), 2630, 38; Boone, M., ‘Urban space and political conflict in state medieval Flanders’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 32 (2002), 621–40.

75 Rek. Gent 1351–1364, vol. I, 570, vol. II, 19, 41, 65, 92, 112, 134, vol. III, 25, 85, 243.

76 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 281, 395, 436 (trip to Avignon), 455 (alms), vol. II, 30, 110, 199, 397, 467.

77 Ibid., vol. II, 199 (1342), 467 (1345).

78 Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 994; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 46, 164, 281, 395, vol. II, 30 (1340).

79 SAG, Jaarregisters van de Keure, Reeks 301, no. 1, fol. 9r (1343); ‘Item Gossine, den coninc, die voertijts was der stede cnape’, Rek. Gent, 1351–1364, 382 (1357).

80 Examples of these phrases: Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 330; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 164; Rek. Gent 1351–1364, 333.

81 Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 44 (1336). Physician Arnoud van der Leene would serve the city for over 40 years; Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 80, 83, 249, 590, 888; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. II, 108, 300.

82 See n. 33 on the different currencies and wages. 10 l. gr. paym. = 60 d. gr. Vl. References on the coninc’s day wages: Rek. Gent 1280–1336, 390; Rek. Gent 1336–1349, vol. I, 490, vol. III, 444; Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 103, 128, 197; SAG, 400, no. 11, fol. 320v (1411).

83 ‘Conincxkinderen met bewerpe te makene angaende den wercke’, SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 14, fol. 342r (1446). See also SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 18, fol. 263v (1456).

84 Such as a new millstone in 1446 with the help of their ‘king's rigs’ (sconinx engiene). SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 14, fol. 342r. See also no. 18, fols. 315r–316r (1456).

85 Rek. Gent 1376–1389, 128, 193, 197, 204, 248–98; Nicholas, D., The Metamorphosis of a Medieval City: Ghent in the Age of the Arteveldes, 1302–1390 (Lincoln, NB, 1987), 9.

86 Clothing cost commonly between 6 and 8 l. for the conincxkinderen collectively, out of the total of c. 260 l. the city annually spent on cloth for officials. SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fols. 32v–34r (1401), 131v–132v (1406), 310r–312r (1411), no. 13, fol. 34v (1426–27), no. 15, fol. 97 (1436), no. 16, fols. 331v–332r (1446), no. 18, fols. 287r, 288v, 291r (1456), no. 25, fols. 134r, 136r (1466), no. 27, fol. 39r (1476), no. 29, fol. 210r (1486).

87 SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fols. 131v–314v. From the 1420s, the conincxkinderen are included in every month in the sections for public works: no. 13, fol. 341r–v (1426), no. 15, fols. 103r, 111r–v (1436), no. 16, fols. 314v, 342r–343v (1446), no. 25, fols. 310–12 (1456), no. 27, fols. 64r–67v (1476), no. 29, fol. 243r (1486).

88 SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 15, fols. 111r–112v (1436), no. 30, fols. 83r–91r (1498).

89 Haemers, J. and Ryckbosch, W., ‘A targeted public: public services in fifteenth-century Ghent and Bruges’, Urban History, 37 (2010), 215.

90 Donations for the coninc and minions were usually 20 d. gr. Vl. SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 11, fols. 23v (1401), 301v (1411), no. 13, fol. 323r (1427), no. 16, fol. 308r (1447), no. 25, fol. 107r (1466). Distribution of donations (peat, wine, etc.): no. 18, fols. 263v–264r (1456), no. 29, fol. 220r (1486).

91 Boele, A., Leden van één lichaam: denkbeelden over armen, armenzorg en liefdadigheid in de Noordelijke Nederlanden 1300–1650 (Hilversum, 2013), ch. 8.

92 SAG, Voorgeboden 108/2, fol. 62v.

93 SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 15, fol. 101r (1436), no. 18, fol. 299r (1456). See also on costs for the administration of justice Ryckbosch, W., Tussen Gavere en Cadzand: de Gentse stadsfinancie͏̈n op het einde van de Middeleeuwen (1460–1495) (Ghent, 2007), 74.

94 SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 15, fol. 101r (1436).

95 For example, one person in 1406, four in 1426 and two in 1436. SAG, Stadsrekeningen, no. 13, fols. 338r–339r (1426), no. 15, fols. 103v, 106r (1436).

96 Marc Boone examines the financial impact of Ghent's conflicts with signorial powers in Geld en macht: de Gentse stadsfinanciën en de Bourgondische staatsvorming (1384–1453) (Ghent, 1990). See also Ryckbosch, Tussen Gavere en Cadzand.

97 A separate archival collection that starts around 1570 contains annual listing and job applications of the moorkinderen. SAG, Reeks 141 (Stadsofficies), no. 183: Koning van de Moorkinderen; no. 184: Moorkinderen. See also Reeks 533 (Stadswerken), no. 173: Moorkinderen.

98 De Potter, Gent, vol. I, 381.

99 Ibid., 378.

100 SAG, Reeks 108, no. 196; E. Floin, ‘Vuyligheyd ende onreynigheid: niet-industriele milieuhinder te Gent in de zeventiende eeuw’, University of Ghent MA thesis, 1997, 50–2, 85–8.

101 SAG, Reeks 114, no. 54 (1644). Cited in Floin, ‘Vuyligheyd ende onreynheyd’, 64.

102 Decavele, J., Gebuurteleven en dekenijen te Gent 14de–20ste eeuw (Ghent, 1992), 1751; Floin, ‘Vuyligheyd ende onreynheyd’, 55–8, 91–6.

* I would like to express my gratitude to Guy Geltner, Richard Calis, Kim Overlaet and the members of the Centrum for Stadsgeschiedenis at the University of Antwerp for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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