Last modified: 2005-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: rouvroy | staff: pilgrim (blue) | scallop (red) |
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Municipal flag of Rouvroy - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 9 May 2005
The municipality of Rouvroy (1,924 inhabitants, 2,768 ha) is made of the former municipalities of Dampicourt, Harnoncourt, Lamorteau and Torgny. It is located in the south of the province of Luxembourg (Gaume), between Virton and the border with France. Rouvroy is the southernmost municipality in Belgian and it includes the "little Belgian Provence", the part of the country with the highest number of sunny days per year. The new municipality includes the seven villages of Couvroy, Dampicourt (municipality until 1977), Harnoncourt (municipality until 1977), Lamorteau (municipality until 1977), Montquintin, Rouvroy and Torgny (municipality until 1977). Unlike several other municipalities, the new municipality set up in 1977 did not retain the name of a former municipality. The hamlet of Rouvroy gave its name to the new municipality because it is located at its geographical center.
Couvreux is a small village hidden in the valley of the Fauchois and protected by a castle. The name of Couvreux might come from Latin colobra, grass snake (in French, couleuvre), indicating a place settled by such snakes or a snaking brook. The name of the village might also come from couvert, covered, refering to the location of the village. In 1790 a family living in Couvreux set up by a notarial deed a school managed by the community and open to all children of the village.
Dampicourt follows the typical pattern of organization of the villages in Gaume : the houses are lined along a main street. An earlier municipal reform merged the two municipalities of Dampicourt and Mathon-Aigremont into the municipality of Dampicourt. A quarry opened for the building of the current vilage church yielded the skeleton of a plesiosaurus, a huge sea dinosaur. The head of the animal is missing, and it is believed it is hidden somewhere in the church wall.
Harnoncourt is built near a source where St. Roch, suffering from black plague, washed and was healed. The miraculous water of Harnoncourt was widely used in the past during epidemics. In the XVIIth century, the noble family de la Fontaine, from Marville (today in France, some 10 km south of Rouvray), settled in Harnoncourt. The Austrian conducer and musician Nikolaus Harnoncourt (b. 1929) is a descendant of that family. From 1952 to 1969, Harnoncourt was a cellist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra; in 1953, he fouded with his wife Alice the Concentus Musicus Wien as a specialist ensemble for the performance of early music on authentic instruments of Baroque and Classical music. A major project, shared with Gustav Leonhardt, to record all Bach's sacred cantatas was launched in 1971 and completed in 1990. Since 1970 Nikolaus Harnoncourt has worked as a conductor both in the opera house, conducting a repertory ranging from Monteverdi to Johann Strauss, and in the concert hall, where he has worked with the great European orchestras. His recording activities have expanded since 1970 to include the operas, oratorios and symphonic works of the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Bruckner. Dvorak, Strauss...)
Lamorteau (lit., la morte eau, the dead water) is built near the river Ton. For years, the river overflowed and water stagnated on large areas like still water. In the XIth century, the Count de Chiny felt sick in the forest of the village. The legend says he was healed by the parish priest and founded an hermitage and a priory in Radru (indeed an ancient watermill). Louis XVI and the royal family were expected to stop for the night in Monsieur de Franque's house when they fled France in June 1791; we will never know if this was true or not since the King was identified by postmaster Jean-Baptiste Drouet in Varennes-en-Argonne and arrested. Located on the border with France, Lamorteau had in the past a customs house and was therefore a popular place of smuggling.
Montquintin is built on a geological outlier, from which it watches the whole municipal territory of Rouvroy. There might have been there a Roman camp ruled by Quintinus. The village church was built in the XIIth century and is famous for having resisted to storms and strong winds. The castle of Montquintin belonged to Jean-Nicolas de Hontheim, Bishop of Trier. The bishop had several problems with his hierarchy because of his avant-gardist ideas. The castle was besieged five times and destroyed in 1869 by a fortuitous blaze.
Source: Municipal website.
Most information quoted there is from Bernard Joannès.
Ivan Sache, 9 May 2005
The municipal flag of Rouvroy, as communicated by the municipal administration, is horizontally divided yellow-blue.
Proposed municipal flag of Rouvroy - not used - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 12 May 2005
Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones gives the proposal made by the Heraldic and Vexillological Council of the French Community, which added to the canton of the flag two blue pilgrim's staffs crossed in saltire surmonted by a red scallop. These elements come from the municipal arms, which are:
D'or à deux bourdons de pélerin d'azur passés en sautoir accompagnés en chef d'une coquille de gueules.
Or two pilgrim's staffs azure in saltire a scallop gules in chief.
The arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 11 January 1977 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 16 September 1977.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 9 May 2005