Saint Arnould is the patron saint of brewers and is also the source of the name given to the Arnoldus Group. But who was Saint Arnould exactly? Saint Arnould was born as Arnold in 1040 in Tiegem, a sleepy Flemish village between the Lys and the Escaut. Although of noble birth, Arnold's father enjoyed an enviable reputation as a brewer throughout the Oudenaarde region. The two were not mutually exclusive. Arnold learned the secrets of brewing from an early age.
Arnold became a gallant knight and many acts of bravery were attributed to his name. It was even said that during a tournament, the "Gallant Arnold" set off to attack his adversaries with a ship's mast.
One fine morning, he "saw the true light" and from then on turned his back on a life of riches. He wandered throughout Western Europe, joined the Saint-Médard Abbey to Soissons, and became abbot of the establishment in 1081. When he was appointed bishop, he succeeded in applying all his diplomatic skills to the task of ending the dispute between the nobility of Flanders and Brabant. He was highly commended for managing to reconcile the two sides. He was held in such high esteem that all parties sought him out with a view to obtaining favours. During his final years, he retired to the abbey that he himself had founded in Oudenburg. He died there in 1087.
As is usually the case with such personages after their death, miracles were attributed to him. When the plague was at its height in Flanders and the water was contaminated, he apparently plunged his stick into a brew kettle and those who drank from the kettle were cured on the spot.
Brewers pay tribute to Saint Arnould on 18 August. In the breweries, his image used to be placed on the table that day and decorated with a crown.
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