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Pont-à-Celles (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: pont-a-celles | cross (yellow) | saltire (yellow) | cross: saltire (yellow) |
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[Flag of Pont-a-Celles]

Municipal flag of Pont-à-Celles - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 24 March 2007


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Presentation of Pont-à-Celles

The municipality of Pont-à-Celles (locally called Cèle; 16,379 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,573 ha) is located just north of Charleroi. The municipality of Pont-à-Celles is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Pont-à-Celles, Buzet, Liberchies, Luttre, Obaix, Rosseignies, Thiméon and Viesville.

In the VIIth century, St. Amand, the Apostle of Begium, founded a monastery on the today's site of the village of Pont-à-Celles;the monastery became a Premontre priory ruling a domain called Celle or Celles (in Latin, cella means "a monk's cell"). On 25 March 980, Bishop of Liège Notger anathemized several rebel parishes, including "Cella".
In the XVIth century, the monks built a bridge (in French, pont) over the river Piéton, and the parish of Pont-à-Celles, including six feudal domains, emerged.

Under the reign of August, the Romans founded on the Bavay-Cologne way (later known as chaussée Brunehaut), a town called Geminiacum. Remains of the town were localized in the middle of the XIXth century in Brunehaut and Les Bons Villers, two places located in Liberchies (therefore, the municipality of Les Bons Villers, created in 1976, does not include the place called Les Bons Villers!). Scientific excavation of the two sites started in 1956; on 10 August 1970 was found the Treasure of Liberchies, made of 368 gold coins (aurei) portraying several Roman emperors from Nero to Marcus Aurelius and shown today in the Royal Library of Brussels. This a the second biggest treasure of that kind ever found, after the Treasure of Rome (1929, 378 pieces).

Source: Municipal website

Liberchies is the birth village of the jazz musician Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), born in the family gypsy caravan while his family gave a concert at the "Chez Borsin" pub. The Reinhardt family probably moved from Germany to France after 1870. The legend says that they settled at Liberchies on a piece of land located on the borders of the (then) municipalities of Liberchies, Luttre and Buzet, so that they could move every morning to a different village to avoid being expelled.
Django played guitare in his first balls in Paris, aged 12 years; he started his career with the accordeonist Jean Vaissade in 1926, with his first record in 1928. The same year, he was severely injured during the blaze of his caravan and got two fingers of the left arm crippled; accordingly, he invented his own method of fingering and his unique style. In 1931, the painter Émile Savitry initiated him to jazz and he played with André Ekyan and Alix Combelle. Supported by Jean Cocteau, Jean Sablon and Mistinguett, Reinhardt founded in 1934 with the violonist Stéphane Grappelli their famous string quintet (Quintette du Hot-Club de France). He also played with famous American jazzmen such as Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Bill Coleman. Grappelli moved to London in 1939 and Reinhardt set up a new quintet with the carinettist Hubert Rostaing; he published in 1940 Nuages (Clouds), one of his most famous standards. In 1943, he travelled to Belgium for administrative purpose and gave concerts in Liberchies, Rêves and Viesville. He moved to the USA in 1946 but his collaboration with Duke Ellington disappointed him. In the late 1940s, Reinhardt resumed his successful association with Grappelli, playing a famous Marseillaise for the Liberation. In November 1952, he played with Aimé Barelli's orchestra for the French television. Just hired by Norman Granz' Philarmonic and after having recorded eight masterpieces for Eddy Barclay, Reinhardt died in 1953 in Samois-sur-Seine, where he had bought a house in 1953.
Reinhardt had absolutely no academic knowledge in music, which he could even not read. He played his pieces on guitare and asked his sidemen to transcribe them, but mostly relied on complete improvisation. His very unique style, wordly famous as jazz manouche, comes from the mergin of the gypsy traditions and of the jazz of the 1930s. Most guitarists, from Andrés Segovia to Jimmy Hendrix, have acknowledged his influence and he is still highly venerated by the gypsies.

Source: Roger Spautz, Django Reinhardt : Mythe et Réalité, Liberchies festival website

Ivan Sache, 24 March 2007


Municipal flag of Pont-à-Celles

The municipal flag of Pont-à-Celles is red with a yellow saltire
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag is a banner of the municipal arms.
According to the Hainaut Armorial available on the Heraldus website, the arms of Pont-à-Celles were granted by Royal Decree on 25 February 1924, as De gueules au sautoir d'or, "Gules a saltire or".

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 21 September 2007


 
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