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Thuin (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2005-12-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: thuin | ducks: 3 (white) | martlets: 3 (white) |
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[Flag of Thuin]

Municipal flag of Thuin - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 23 July 2005

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Presentation of Thuin

The municipality and town (Ville) of Thuin (14,491 inhabitants; 7,638 ha) is located 15 km south-west of Charleroi and 25 km north-east of Maubeuge (France). Thuin, built on and around a rocky spur on the confluency of the Biesmelle and the Sambre, is the capital city of the small region of Thudinie. The municipality is made since 1977 of the former municipalities of Biercée, Biesme-sous-Thuin, Donstiennes, Gozée, Leers-et-Fosteau, Ragnies, Thuillies and Thuin.

The rocky spur of Thuin was settled in the Neolithic times. A Gallo-Roman necropolis was found in 1963. In 868, a list of the goods of the neighbouring abbey of Lobbes known as the Lobbes polyptich mentions Tudinio, a group of 38 houses grouped around a castle. Thuin was ceded to the Principality of Liège in 888 and remained there until the French Revolution and the suppression of the principality. Thuin was one of the bonnes villes (good cities) of the Principality. Prince Bishop Notger built a first stone wall in 972 around the fortress (castrum). In the XIIth century, the increase in the population of the city caused the building of a larger city wall, which was increased again in the XVth century.

Thuin was often besieged by the Counts of Hainaut, who seized the city in 1053, 1298 and 1408, when they definitively suppressed the castle. In 1655, the Prince of Condé, serving Spain, besieged the city, to no avail. In 1675, Thuin was seized by the French, helped by burghers of the city. By the treaty of Nijmegen, signed in 1678, France withdrew from Thudinie, which constituted then a Liège enclave within French conquered territories.

The lower city of Thuin, near the Sambre, has kept its old river borough with a river port and barges. In the upper city, several ancient buildings have been transformed, for instance the refuge built by the abbey is Lobbes in the XVIth century transformed into the central post office. The city walls of the XVth century have also been preserved, with Notger's tower as the only remain from the Xth century. The S-shaped viaduct over the Sambre is the only one of that shape in Europe.


Ivan Sache, 23 July 2005

Municipal flag of Thuin

The municipal flag of Thuin is vertically divided blue-white with three white martlets (birds without beaks and legs) placed horizontally in canton.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 2 February 1993 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 26 October 1993, with the following description:

Parti bleu et blanc, la laize bleue chargée de trois merlettes blanches rangées à sa partie supérieure.

The colours of the flag are those of the arms:

D'azur au château-fort d'argent accosté de deux écussons du même au lion couronné de sable, celui de dextre contourné.

That is:
Azure a castle argent accosted by two escutcheons of the same a lion crowned sable.
The three martlets are taken from the arms of the abbey of Aulne, which depended on the abbey of Lobbes.

Neubecker [neu97a] claims that the martlet was designed from elements of larks, swallows and swifts. He says that martlets can be seen on seals from 1185 onwards, but were already described as the charges of the shield of Lancelot du Lac by Chrétien de Troyes in his tale of chivalry, written before 1172.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 23 July 2005