Saint Martin of Tours, who lived in the 4th century and became a bishop, was a very popular saint in France, Belgium and elsewhere. According to legend, he shared his cloak with a beggar on a cold winter’s day. Exactly this scene was depicted by the then twenty-something Anthoon van Dyck when he was collaborating closely with Rubens. The latter’s influence is very clear. We could even imagine the commission being given to Rubens first, but then being passed on to Van Dyck, because the former had taken on too much work. Whatever the truth may be, Van Dyck made the work for the church and certainly took the direction of the light into account (it comes from the right).
The base of the tower shows this was originally a Romanesque building constructed around 1100. The current gothic church in sand-limestone dates mostly from the 1500s and 1600s and was enlarged in the 19th century. Its interior and exterior were recently restored.