On the occasion of a real estate project, led by the Créplet architectural office, a public procurement for archaeological research was organised by the Department of Monuments and Sites of the Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region on the building located at Place du Grand Sablon 49 in the centre of Brussels. The intervention was carried out during the months of June and July 2013 by the CReA-Patrimoine team led by Sylvie Byl and Céline Devillers.
This building, classified as a monument under the term "traditional house", was generally dated in the relevant literature to 1567 according to the year hooked on its façade. Since the last century, the house has housed an estaminet called "Aux Bons Enfants". It is located in the Grand Sablon district, which became one of the city's main aristocratic areas in the 16th and 18th centuries. In the second half of the 17th century, the islet hosted the conventof the nuns of the Congregation of Notre-Dame, known as the nuns of Lorraine. Their chapel, first installed in the rue de Rollebeek, was then moved to the Sablon where it seems to have taken its place on the eastern plot near the house.
The analysis of iconographic sources suggests that the house originated in the middle of the 17th century, or even in the previous century. The archaeological study of the building allows us to establish a chronology of the site divided into seven phases. The characteristic implementation of the so-called Flemish bond, dated in the Brussels region to the 14th and 15th centuries, perhaps still in the 16th century, has been identified in the rear wall of the parcel boundary, but its belonging to No 49 is not certified. The western wall, corresponding to the eastern facade wall of the neighbouring building No. 47-48 of the square, is carefully dated to the 16th century according to the size of the bricks used. Despite the use of disparate materials, several elements were in agreement and then proposed the same development phase for the front and rear facade walls of the building as well as for the elaboration of the floors and the structure during the 17th century. The stratigraphic relationship between the rear façade and the old part of the eastern wall, which seems to correspond to the building in which the Lorraine nuns installed their chapel in 1682, could not be established, although it constitutes a fundamental factor in the construction of the chronology of the site. The wooden staircase was built after the construction of the rear facade and a date dating back to the 17th - 18th centuries is proposed for its installation. After modifications made in 1889, the eastern wall was rebuilt in 1896 when the neighbouring building was renovated following the opening of rue Lebeau. Finally, the last phase concerns the street façade, which was re-cemented at the beginning of the 20th century.
BYL S., CHARRUADAS P., DEVILLERS C., SOSNOWSKA P., 2014, Archéologie du bâti au Grand Sablon à Bruxelles, Archaeologia Mediaevalis 37, p. 26-28.
Fig. 1. Place du Grand Sablon 49.
Fig. 2. Interior facade wall on the first floor.