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Estinnes (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-11-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: estinnes | cross: moline (white) | star: 6 points (white) | stars: 7 (white) |
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[Flag of Estinnes]

Municipal flag of Estinnes - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 4 June 2005

See also:

Presentation of Estinnes and its villages

The municipality of Estinnes (7,408 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,273 ha) is located between Binche and the border with France, 15 km south-west from Mons and 20 km west of Charleroi. The municipality of Estinnes is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Croix-les-Rouveroy, Estinnes-au-Mont, Estinnes-au-Val, Faurœulx, Haulchin, Peissant, Rouveroy, Vellereille-les-Brayeux and Vellereille-le-Sec.

In the Roman times, the site of Estinnes was located on the way Boulogne-Bavay-Cologne (now Chaussée Brunehaut), a main road between the North Sea and the valley of Rhine. Remains of a Roman camp confirms settlement in Estinnes in the I-IVth centuries AD. The forest was progressively cleared and estates (villae), linked by secondary ways (diverticula), were set up. The Gallo-Roman civilization was destroyed by the Great Invasions in the Vth century.
In the Carolingian times, Estinnes was the seat of a royal villa, where Carloman I organized a synode in 744. The village developed along the brook Estinnes in the VIIIth century. Some historians believe that Estinnes was the biggest domain in Hainaut in the VIII-XIIIth century. Documents from the Xth century confirm that the original parish split into the two parishes of Estinnes-au-Val and Estinnes-au-Mont. In the XIIIth century, the municipality of Estinnes-au-Val seceded from Bray, whereas Estinnes-au-Mont seceded from Vellereille-les-Brayeux in the XIVth century. The abbey of Good Hope (abbaye de Bonne Espérance), founded in the XIIth century in Vellereille-les-Brayeux, became in the XIIIth center the mainspring of the economical and social life in the region; it survived the French Revolution.

Croix-lez-Rouveroy is mentioned in the IXth century in documents of the abbey of Lobbes. The family of Croix was known as wealthy in the XIIth century; a member of the family founded the abbey of Good Hope in 1126. The castle of Croix was abandoned and demolished in the beginning of the XXth century.

Faurœulx became an independent municipality only in the XIXth century, while its church was built in 1862. The name of Faurœulx might mean essart de la foutelaie, that is "a place where beeches were cleared". The railway station of Faurœulx was an important junction in the past.

Haulchin was mentioned in the VIIth century but became a municipality only in the middle of the XIIth century.

Peissant (Pescentum, from Latin pascere, "to graze"; or Piscant, "the fisher's [pêcheur] village", because of its ponds) was ceded in the XIth century by the Bishop of Cambrai to the abbey of Lobbes. At the end of the XVIth century, Count de Corswarem was set up lord of Peissant. The castle and its dependencies were destroyed in 1884.

Rouveroy ("a place with oaks" [rouvres]), located today close to the border with France, was a domain depending on the Court of Mons. It belonged in the XIIth century to the Bousies family. The village lost half of its inhabitants within 100 years because of rural exodus.

Vellereille-les-Brayeux (lit., "the wet", as opposed to Vellereille-le-Sec, "the dry") belonged in the XIIth century to the lords of Barbençon, then to the lords of Beaumont. In XIIth century, the Croix family owned half of the village; Renaud (aka Regnier) de Croix and his wife Beatrix founded around 1126 the abbey of Good Hope. Their son Guillaume took the coat in the abbey. The founders gave to the abbey a land they owned in Vellereille and Dame Edwige offerred a pond with a watermill. The 15th abbot, Jean Cornu (1510-1537), built in Gothic style the cloister and the refectory, still there today. The church was built in 1770-1776 by the famous architect Dewez. The tower of the abbey dates back to the XIIIth century.

Vellereille-le-Sec is the smallest village of Estinnes; it is built on the top of a chalky plateau, therefore its name, already mentioned in the IXth century. The village belonged to the abbey of Lobbes and was ruled successively by the Fastre de Noirchin, Espiennes, Ardembourg, Vanderburch and Tahon de la Motte families.

Source: Municipal website

In December 2004, the company Windvision presented a project of windpump park, to be set up on the plain of Levant of Mons, between Estinnes-au-Val and Vellereille-le-Sec. The site is located far away from houses but close to high-tension lines, and is very windy. The park should include ten or eleven E-112 windpumps. The E-112 windpump, the highest in the world with 198 m, is manufactured by Enercon in Aachen (Germany). (Le Soir, 11 May 2005).

Ivan Sache, 4 June 2005

Municipal flag of Estinnes

The municipal flag of Estinnes is green with a white cross moline, surrounded with two white six-pointed stars on each diagonal, and with another six-pointed star placed near the fly.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 18 December 1998 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 30 April 1999, with the following description:
Vert chargé d'une croix ancrée blanche posée au premier tiers du battant, cantonnée de quatre étoiles à six rais et accompagnées de cinq autres également blanches, quatre disposées en carré autour de la croix, la cinquième placée au centre de l'espace entre la croix et le bord flottant.
The description states that the cross is placed in the first third of the flag and that the fifth "free" star is equally spaced from the cross and the fly of the flag.
The flag is a quasi-banner of the municipal arms of Estinnes, which are here rotated 90 degrees upwards; this does not change anything to the cross and the stars surrounding it since the design is rotationally symmetrical, but the "free" star moves from below the cross to its right. Green and white are the colours of the former municipalities of Estinnes-au-Val and Estinnes-au-Mont.

The cross moline can be seen on the municipal seal used in Peissant in the XVIth century, that bears the arms of the Goegnies family:
D'azur à une croix ancrée d'argent ("Azure a cross moline argent").
The six-ray stars belonged to the abbey of Good Hope in Vellereille-le-Brayeux, which bore four such stars; the five other stars were added to the arms of Estinnes to represent the nine former municipalities.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 June 2005

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