Adornes domain

Jerusalem Chapel

Glasramen in de jeruzalemkapel


At the Adornes domain in Bruges, visitors can explore the Jerusalem Chapel with all its medieval treasures, from the grave monument of Anselm Adornes and Margaretha van der Banck to the colourful stained glass windows. There is certainly a lot of history to be discovered at this wonderful domain!

The Adornes domain and Jerusalem Chapel

The Adorno family from Genua in northern Italy established the Adornes domain in the 15th century. It consisted of a wonderful garden, a townhouse and an imposing chapel. For his Jerusalem Chapel, Pieter II Adornes received permission from Pope Martin V. He did not only want to spread the Word of God, but knowledge too. He used the chapel as a public library and gave it a collection dedicated primarily to literature, history and the sciences. His son Anselm Adornes continued the tradition. Though he tore down the chapel and rebuilt it as a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He also had the townhouse renovated and added a few almshouses, charitable organisations for the sick and poor. Through the centuries, the domain fulfilled various functions: it has been a convent, a school and later a lace museum. Now it tells its own history, but all the while the goal has remained the same: strive for knowledge and religion.

Cornelis Tielman - Praalgraf

Grave monument of Anselm Adornes and Margaretha van der Banck - Cornelis Tielman

In the second half of the 15th century, royal grave monuments in Burgundian style were very much in vogue. So the Adornes family commissioned Cornelis Tielman to design one for them to be erected in the Jerusalem Chapel. The grave of Anselm Adornes and Margaretha van der Banck is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship. Anselm, however, was not laid to rest inside his grave because after his death in Scotland in 1483, he was buried in Linlithgow, though his heart was brought back to rest next to his beloved Margaretha. The grave depicts the couple in a royal way, with Anselm clad as a knight and a lion by his right foot as a symbol of his strength and courage. Margaretha is depicted wearing draped robes and a hennin, a long, pointy hat with a veil. The dog by her right foot symbolises her loyalty. The monument, carved from Tournai stone showcases a masterly eye for detail and leaves a lasting impression.


The Golgotha altarpiece

Created around 1485, the Golgotha altarpiece is still in its original location. It is made of white limestone with some wooden elements like the whip and the dice. It is a very special sculpture which represents the rough contours of the hill of Golgotha. We can clearly see the Arma Christi, the weapons used to torture Christ during the Passion. They symbolise the conquering of sin and death.

Golgotha Altaarstuk
Glasramen in de jeruzalemkapel
Glasramen in de jeruzalemkapel
Glasramen in de jeruzalemkapel

The stained glass windows in the Jerusalem Chapel

The stained glass windows in the Jerusalem Chapel were made around 1560 and are the oldest in Bruges. The windows were likely commissioned by brothers Jacob (1523-1572) and Jeroom Adornes (1522-1558), whom we recognise in one of the windows, together with their patron saints. There we can also read the inscription Para Tutum, the motto of Anselm Adornes, who commissioned the current chapel. It means ‘Prepare us a safe journey’ and refers to his pilgrimage and pilgrim’s blessing. Anselm himself can also be seen in the northeastern window with his coat of arms and the Scottish Order of the Unicorn. The stained glass windows tell us the long and magnificent story of the Adornes family in an enchanting display of light and colour.

Drieluik - Tronende Madonna met kind

Triptych of the Enthroned Madonna and Child

The Triptych of the Enthroned Madonna and Child was commissioned by the Adornes family in the 16th century. It depicts a red-cloaked aureoled Mary carrying the Baby Jesus on her arm. Two angels play a musical instrument on either side. On the right, we recognise Saint Barbara with the tower behind her. On the left, we see Saint Catherine with her sword and wheel, the attributes of her martyrdom. Anselm Adornes dedicated the upper chapel of his Jerusalem Chapel to Saint Catherine after staying at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt on his way to Jerusalem.

Triptych of Christ on the Cross

Mayor of Brussels Jan de la Coste was also a member of the Adornes family. In the 16th century, he commissioned the Christ on the Cross triptych. In the centre panel, we see Christ on the Cross, attended by Mary and the Apostle John with thick clouds and the unmistakable towers of Bruges in the background. A threatening skull lies on the rocks beneath the Cross. On the left panel, we see Jan de la Coste with his patron saint Saint John the Baptist and his seven sons. Jeroom, his eldest son and the man who commissioned the stained glass windows, looks straight at us. On the right panel, we recognise Jan de la Coste’s wife Catharina Metteneye. She is depicted wearing an impressive red cloak with her coat of arms. Her four daughters, including two nuns, have joined her.

Drieluik - Christus aan het kruis

Practical information


Peperstraat 3
8000 Brugge
View directions

Opening times

  • From Monday to Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm.

  • Closed on Sundays and Belgian public holidays.

Disabled access

  • Easy to access for the disabled.

Nice to know

  • Admission: €10.00 for standard tickets

Other sites nearby

Medaillon Clarice Orsini
The magnificent Bladelin Court houses several works of art associated with the rich history of the City Palace.
Praalgraf Maria van Bourgondië en Karel de Stoute
Once visitors step inside the church, they can explore the rich art collection.