It “right of extension”.
Until the late Middle Ages, there was an elongated strip of land called Busch or Bosch, between Usquert and Uithuizen, bounded by two wide extending burrows or creeks. The salt marsh strip was created by the action of the tidal current that had formed a highly silted bank, consisting of easily cultivable sandy soil. Called a star or tail.
The burrows were embanked and the Ommelanden received a continuous sea protection in the late Middle Ages. This Oudedijk, van Pieterburen, Breede, Warffum, Usquert and Uithuizen, offered the option of discharging excess water into the mudflats with sidings or locks.
At Usquert the Oudedijk ran over the star Bosch. Two farms were founded just within the sea bank: Grootbosch and Lutjebosch.
Outside the Oudedijk there were extensive salt marshes that were flooded at high tide. The Oudedijk has succumbed many times to the violence of storm surges:
- The Sint Maarten flood of November 12 and 13, 1686, flooded a large part of the province. The city of Groningen lay like an island in the sea. In Usquert 25 houses were destroyed and 41 people drowned.
- On Christmas Day 1717, the Christmas Flood destroyed the dikes. The northern districts of the city of Groningen were even flooded. In total 2,276 people drowned and 1,455 houses were destroyed. In Usquert, 17 houses were washed away and 44 people died.
Restoration of the Oudedijk was almost an impossible task. That is why a new dike was laid from Pieterburen to Spijk. The former Uiterdijkslanden were also immediately reclaimed. The slopes were deliberately made less steep, so that waves could run smoothly over the dike and cause less damage.
The old Germanic “right to move forward” has offered the bank owners and cultivators in the peat areas the possibility that they could invoke the ownership rights of newly developed lands.
For Lutjebosch this meant an elongated “stretching heerd”, with inland, uiterdijksland, polder land and behind the Ommelander seawall a piece of salt marsh land. With that, Lutjebosch suddenly became bigger than Grootbosch, where the “right to go” was not present.
Part from Regio-Project Uitgevers: Two centuries of farming life on the Groningen Hogeland Lutjebosch.
Story edited by Gerrit Veldman.
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Stories along the Boterdiep hiking route.