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Sivry-Rance (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: sivry-rance | sivry | croy-renty | axes: 6 (red) |
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[Flag of Sivry-Rance]

Municipal flag of Sivry-Rance - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 10 November 2007

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Presentation of Sivry-Rance and its villages

The municipality of Sivry-Rance (4,673 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,297 ha) is located in the Boot of Hainaut, on the border with France. The municipality of Sivry-Rance is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Sivry, Rance, Grandrieu, Montbliart and Sautin.

Sivry is the administrative center of the municipality of Sivry-Rance. The inhabitants of Sivry are called chevrotins, locally chévris because they are said to have once bred several goats (in French, chèvres); they are nicknmed g&acric;tes de Chévri, the Goats from Sivry.
The domain of Sivry, mentioned for the first time in the Xth century, existed until the XVIIth century. The village lived mostly from wood and wool industries, which employed up to 1000 workers in the middle of the XIXth century.

Rance is the home of the National Marble Museum. The red marble from Rance was already know in 1608, a text saying that laquelle pierre est fort recherchée de toutes parts, et par spéciale de la ville de Bruxelles et Anvers d'où icelle passe plus outre tant pour le roy de Danemark qua autres princes et seigneurs voisins ("this stone is highly prized everywhere, especially in the towns of Brussels and Antwerp, from which it is exported to the King of Denmark and the neighbouring lords". The Galerie des Glaces in the palace of Versailles and the Rubens Hall in the Louvre Museum are decorated with marble worked by the marbrîs from Rance.

Grandrieu, the northernmost village of Sivry-Rance, was originally known as Grandis Rivus, in Latin, "the Big Brook". The parish of Grandrieu was set up in 600 by St. Walbert, including the villages of Sivry, Sautin and Montbliart; around 673, St. Aldegond transferred Grandrieu to the Chapter of Maubeuge.

Montbliart, the smallest village of Sivry-Rance, was mentioned for the first time in Gislebert's chronicle in 1185; located on a height (in French, mont), the village was probably named after a lord's gamekeeper named Bliart. In the Middle Ages, the northern part of the village depended on Beaumont while its southern part depended on Chimay. Born in 1624 in Montbliart, Paul Desorbait left with a passing quack doctor; a few years later, he was a famous doctor in Vienna, where he healed Empress Eleonora. In 1953, the artists Paul Bury (1922-2005) and André Balthazar (b. 1934) founded the Academy of Montbliart and the Pensée Bûl, a fanciful if not zany philosophy at the origin of the Daily Bûl review and, later, publishing house.

Sautin, located in the geographic center of Sivry-Rance, got its name from the Latin words salictinus, "a small willow wood" (after salix, "a willow", in French, saule) or saltus, "a grassy wood".
In 1803, the parish of Sautin seceded from Sivry, while in 1834 a "separatist committee" was formed to ask municipal autonomy, which was granted only on 10 April 1914. Sautin is famous for its lumberjacks' contest (bûcheronnage), hold every year on the second Sunday of September.


Ivan Sache, 10 November 2007

Municipal flag of Sivry-Rance

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, there is no municipal flag used in Sivry-Rance.

However, a photography of the town hall (Hôtel Communal) of Sivry-Rance taken by Jean-Paul Grandmont in 2005 shows four flags, from viewer's right to left, Wallonia, Belgium, the European Union and a mysterious flag mostly wrapped around the pole. On the high definition photography, the flag appears as white with a shield.
The shield is "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Argent three fesses gules, 2. and 3. Argent three axes gules", therefore 1. and 4. Croÿ, 2. and 3. Renty, the arms of the famous Croÿ-Renty family.

The Gelre Armorial shows "Argent three axes [doloires] gules the two in chief accosted (Renty) a cotise or all over" for Tassart Gallois de Renty (H. Galoes v. Renty, #388, folio 48v).

Croÿ is an ancient French house, that appeared in the village of Crouy, Picardy, in the XIIth century. The old arms of Croÿ are D'argent à trois fasces de gueules.
In 1354, Guillaume de Croÿ married Ysabeau de Renty, and the quartered arms of Croÿ-Renty appeared, as:
Ecartelé aux I et IV d'argent à trois fasces de gueules qui estCroÿ; aux II et III, d'argent à trois doloires de gueules les deux en chef adossées qui est Renty (Quartered I and IV argent three fasces gules (Croÿ) and II and III argent three axes gules the two in chief accosted (Renty)).
In June 1598, King Henri IV erected the Duchy of Croÿ, a privilege that was confirmed by Louis XV in 1768. Several branches developed until the middle of the XVIIIth century; in 1767, however, the only remaining of them was the Croÿ-Solre branch. The three sons of Duke Auguste de Croÿ then founded the three modern branches of Croÿ-Dülmen, Croy-Solre and Austria. The branch of Croÿ-Dülmen was made Serene Highness in 1825, as were all the other members of the family in March 1833. There are currently Croÿ branches in France, Belgium, Bohemia, Westphalia and Austria. The head of the lineage is Duke of Croÿ (b. 1914), living in Westfalia.
The Belgian branch was made Serene Highness by the King of the Belgians on 2 January 1933; a branch of the family was allowed on 27 October 1947 to take the title of Croÿ-Le Rœulx.

Source: Princess Marie-Dorothée (Mimi) de Croÿ website

The Croÿ island (700 ha), located in the Kerguelen archipelago was named in 1773 by Yves Joseph de Kerguelen de Trémarec after Duke of Croÿ, one of the sponsors of the expedition in the southern seas. It is one of the only big islands of the archipelago when no exotic plant or animal was ever introduced.

The arms of Croÿ were used by the municipality of Solre-Saint-Géry (Beaumont); they appear on the municipal flags of Bever and Londerzeel (via Malderen) and are the origin of the flag of Froidchapelle. They appear on the old arms of Saint-Vaast (La Louvière) and Senzeilles (Cerfontaine).
In France, the arms of Croÿ are used by the municipalities of Bermerain, Lez-Fontaines-et-Solrinnes and Hervelinghen. They appear on the arms of Avesnelles and were the former arms of Landrecies. They also appear on several monuments in Belgium, for instance on the chapel of Havré (Mons), the baptismal font of Rêves (Les Bons Villers), and a fireplace in the castle of Gerpinnes (today the town hall).

According to the Hainaut Armorial, these arms were granted to the municipality of Sivry by Royal Decree on 4 September 1910. Rance used "Argent two fesses gules", granted by Royal Decree on 31 January 1912.
Therefore, the municipal flag in use in Sivry-Rance is white with the arms of Sivry in the middle.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 9 November 2007

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