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Creutzwald (Municipality, Moselle, France)

Last modified: 2021-04-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: creutzwald |
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Flag of Creutzwald - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 16 September 2020

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Presentation of Creutzwald

The municipality of Creutzwald (17,086 inhabitants in 2014; 2,672 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with Germany, 50 km east of Metz.
France's last working coal mine, located in Creutzwald / La Houve, was closed on 23 April 2004.

Creutzwald origiantes in four villages: Creutzwald / Crisvald, Villers La Croix (the current Neudorf, "New Village"), Wilhelmsbronn (Nassau district), and La Houve.
In 1601, the Condé family purchased the "forest of La Croix" (Creutzwald), which had belonged to the Abbey of Sainte-Croix in Bouzonville. This enclave in Warndt was sold in 1594 by the monks of Busendorf (Bouzonville) to Étienne de Héning, who sold it in 1601 to the Calvinist gentleman glassmaker Louis de Condé. Quickly a small hamlet was formed around a first glass factory located near the central church, which was named Creutzwald. In 1607, a new village (Neudorf) was formed nearby, which was named Villers La Croix in honor of Françl;oise de Villers, Louis de Condé's second wife. Creutzwald became in 1611 the seat of a domain part of the Duchy of Lorraine. The two villages were partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War (1618 1648). Most of the predominantly Protestant inhabitants dispersed. Some of them returned after the war, bringing in their wake new settlers, mostly Catholics. In 1626, Daniel de Condé founded on the lands of Count William of Nassau-Saarbrücken a new settlement named Wilhelmsbronn ("William's Source"). The three villages then coexisted with their respective glassworks, mills and wash houses until 1644, when Creutzwald incorporated Villers La Croix to form the village of Creutzwald La Croix.

Predominantly Catholic, the inhabitants attended a first chapel, probably made of wood, built in 1653 on a plot offered by the lords of Condé. In 1705, Duke Leopold I granted the founding charter of a glassworks at a place called La Houve, on the left bank of the Bisten, in order to revive the economy in this part of his duchy. A new village was born, named La Houve. A stone church was built in 1730 on the current site of the central church to replace the old chapel that had become too small. In danger of collpasing and rebuilt several times, this church acquired its current aspect in 1911 at the initiative of Priest Stenger.
Creutzwald La Croix, Creutzwald-Wilhelmsbronn and Creutzwald La Houve, incorporated to France in 1766. were merged to form the new municipality of Creutzwald by an Imperial Decree signed on 23 March 1809 by Npoleon I. Subsequently renamed Creutzwald-la-Croix, the town readopted its original name in 1961. Unlike other municipalities in the canton of Sarrelouis, Creutzwald was not ceded to Prussia by the Treaty of Paris in 1815 and remained French; like the other municipalities of the current department of Moselle, Creutzwald was annexed to the German Empire from 1871 to 1918.
Annexed by the Third Reich in 1940, the town was liberated on 4 December 1944.

Olivier Touzeau, 16 September 2020

Flag of Creutzwald

The flag of Creutzwald (photo, photo is white with the municipal coat of arms, "Per fess, 1a. Azure three mounts or surmounted by a cross of the same, 1b. Azure billetty or a lion rampant crowned of the same, 3. Azure a chevron or cantonned by three barred helmets argent, Inescutcheon. Gules a miner's lamp argent".

The shield features the arms of the feudal lords of Creutzwald:
- Abbey of Bouzonville;
- Nassau;
- Condé de La Croix.
The escutcheon recalls the collieries.
[Union des Cercles Généalogiques de Lorraine]

The Benedictine abbey of Bouzonville was founded around 1030 by Albert of Alsace, Count of Metz, and his spouse, Judith. Consecrated in 1034, it was dedicated to the Holy Cross since it kept a relic brought back by the count from the Holy Land. Burned down by Charles V in 1552, the abbey was restored in 1612 during the Saint-Vanne's reform, but subsequently looted between 1630 and 1641 and in 1683. Restored again in 1692, the abbey housed in 1790 13 monks, who left the next year, while the abbey was sold in 1798.
The abbey church is the present-day parish church of Bouzonville while the abbey buildings were transformed into a hospital.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2020

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