Last modified: 2006-01-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: ittre | itter | lion (white) |
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Municipal flag of Ittre - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 21 April 2005
The municipality of Ittre was formed in 1976 by the merging of the three former municipalities of Ittre, Haut-Ittre and Virginal-Samme.
Ittre was named Ittrae (spa town) in the Gallo-Roman times. A tradition says that the church of Ittre was built in 642 by Sigebert III, King of Austrasia, but the first written source for Ittre dates back to 877. In the Middle Ages, the domain of Ittre belonged to the Chapter of Nivelles and was later divided into smaller domains, the most important of them being Ittre and Fauquez (then spelled Facuweis). The lords of Ittre (houses of Ittre, Rifflart and Trazegnies d'Ittre) and Fauquez (Houses of Ittre, Enghien, Fauquez and Herzelles) were in constant struggle until the beginning of the XVIIIth centuries for all kinds of excuses: the jurisdiction, the sovereignty and even the precedence in the city hall and church of Ittre. The domains of Fauquez and Ittre became a Marquisate in 1689 and 1703, respectively. Guillaume-Philippe d'Herzelles, the first Marquis de Fauquez was appointed in 1690 State Councillor and Chancellor of Brabant by King of Spain Charles II. Ambroise-Joseph d'Herzelles, the third Marquis de Fauquez was appointed Superintendant and Director General of the Finances and Domains of the Low Country by Empress Maria-Theresa.
The church of Ittre hosts the miraculous statue of Notre-Dame d'Ittre
(XIIIth century). In 1336, the statue, then owned by the abbey of
Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, was trailed from village to village in order to
stop black plague; the disease disappeared when the statue was in
Ittre, and the inhabitants of the village refused to give it back to
Bois-Seigneur-Isaac. The ecclesiastical courts confirmed several times
the rights of Ittre on the miraculous statue.
The 15 August procession was set up in 1384 and never stopped since then; Notre-Dame d'Ittre is invoked against rupture, called in Walloon c&acric;ssur. In 1796, nuns from the abbey of Aywières were expelled and settled in the castle of Fauquez in 1804; as a reward, they placed Ittre under the protection of their first abbess, St. Lutgarde (1182-1246) and offered the saint's relics to the parish of Ittre in 1819; the saint's shrine, made in Liège in 1624, is kept in the St. Rèmy's church (XIXth century) of Ittre, as well as a Sedes Sapientiae from Bois-Seigneur-Isaac. I won't be surprised if this "Wisdom Chair" were used to transport the miraculous statue during the procession, since it was "borrowed" from the abbey in 1336 too.
Ittre has preserved the village smithy, active since 1701. The smithy is now a Museum, where you can organize your wedding (Mariage à la forge) and receive the official Happiness' Recipe (Recette du Bonheur). Near the smithy stands the former brewery (XVIth century), which hosts today the Folklore Museum.
Virginal already existed in the Roman times as the village of Versus
Altum, this name stressing the elevated location of the village.
Hundreds of medals and bronze artefacts, as well as terracotta vases
have been excavated. Around 655, St. Renelde, daughter of Count of
Hainaut Waubert III, bequeathed Virginal and Saintes to the abbey of
Lobbes. Since the abbey belonged to the Principality of Liège,
Virginal was an enclave. For a long period, Virginal remained free of
any tax and its inhabitants developed their own habits. Since the XIVth
century, Virginal and Fauquez shared the same lord, representing the
abbey of Lobbes as its intendant (avoué) (houses of Virginal, Enghien, Fauquez,
The domain of Samme belonged to Ittre until 1796. After a few years of autonomy, Samme was incorporated to Virginal on 22 January 1808. Samme belonged to the Chapter of Nivelles, which built there the Tower of Asquempont at the end of the XVth century. The tower is one of the few remaining isolated towers that watched and defended Brabant. The tower watched the ford on the Senette and Hainaut. The avoué of Samme belonged to the houses of Enghien and Fauquez.
Glassworks were founded in Fauquez in the beginning of the XXth century by Arthur Brancart. Brancart promoted social capitalism and built row of houses for his workers, a chapel dedicated to St. Lutgarde and a theater, whose gate bears the motto Bien travailler, bien s'amuser (Working well, having great fun!). The factory was closed in 1979.
Haut-Ittre (Upper-Ittre) was formerly located in Hainaut. Ittre was then named Bas-Ittre (Lower-Ittre). Braine-le-Château and Haut-Ittre were given to the Canonesses' Chapter of Mons by its founder, St. Waudru around 650. The Count of Hainaut, as the Abbot of the Chapter, was represented by an avoué. Haut-Ittre was indeed a dependency of Braine-le-Château, ruled by the powerful families of Hornes and Tour et Taxis. The members of the latter family were hereditary Grand Masters of the Postal Service of the Empire; in 1681, their domain of Braine-le-Château and Haut-Ittre became a Principality.
Ivan Sache, 22 April 2005
The municipal flag of Ittre is green with a white lion armed, langued and crowned yellow. According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, its official description is:
Vert au lion blanc, armé, lampassé et couronné de jaune.
The flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 17 July 1998 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 11 September 1998.
The coat of arms of the municipality of Ittre is:
Parti au 4 de gueules au chevron d'or, au 2 de sinople au lion d'argent, armé, lampassé et couronné d'or, à une pointe retraite d'argent brochante sur la partition et chargée d'une clé de sable posée en pal, le panneton évidé en losange et tourné à senestre.
These arms are made of the former arms of the Marquisate of Herzelles
(Gules a chevron or, used today by the municipality of Herzele) and of the Barony of Ittre (Vert a lion argent...), granted to the
municipality of Ittre in 1951, and of the arms of Virginal (Argent a key sable),
granted in 1838 on the basis of arms granted by Charles V.
The arms of Ittre were officialized in 1951. Servais shows two shields side by side, "Gules a chevron or" and "Vert a lion argent armed langued and crowned or chief argent three eagles sable".
The arms of Virginal were granted by the abbey of Lobbes. They are. The key belongs to St. Peter, the saint patron of the abbey and the village. The arms were confirmed by a Royal Decree in 1838.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 23 April 2005