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Tintigny (Municipality, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2005-11-12 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Tintigny]

Municipal flag of Tintigny - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 16 May 2005


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Presentation of Tintigny and its villages

The municipality of Tintigny (3,423 inhabitants; 8,179 ha) is located in the south of the province of Luxembourg (Gaume), not far from the border with France. It is made of the former municipalities of Bellefontaine, Rossignol, Saint-Vincent and Tintigny.

The origin of the name of Tintigny is disputed. Some say it comes from the Germanic word Tintingen, refering to a kind of esplanade where the assemblies took place; other say it was formed after the name of a Roman estate (villa Tintinacum); and other say it was formed in the Middle Ages when a dyer's workshop (tincterie) was set up. A poetical etymology relates Tintigny to the jingling (tintement) in forges which might have worked along the river Semois.
Anyway, the site of Tintigny has been settled since the early Age of Iron (Hallstatt period, 850-750 to 475 BC); the cremation cemetary found in Saint-Vincent and the fortress of Gros Cron, in Lahage, are remains of that period. The four groups of burial mounds of Saint-Vincent are the only Hallstatian cemetaries found in the province of Luxembourg.
A village seems to have emerged along the Roman way Reims-Trier, as shown by several remains found on the municipal territory. The way was built under Emperor Claude (45-54), as written on a milestone reused as a wall elements of the donjon of Montauban.

In 1097, Tintigny is listed (as Tintiniacum, then Tintigni in 1173, Tintignei in 1230 and Tintegney in 1327) in the chart founding the St. Walburg's priory in Chiny. Some hamlets and isolated farms are listed later, in 1258, in the chart granting the Beaumont law to Tintigny. In Luxembourg, the northern communities were granted the Ardenne law, whereas the southern communities were granted the Beaumont law. The Beaumont law was granted to Beaumont-en-Argonne in 1182 by Guillaume, Bishop of Reims, and later extended to the Counties of Chiny and Bar, the Duchy of Bouillon, and, to a lesser extent, to the Duchy of Luxembourg and the Principality of Liège. In 1383, 180 villages and hamlets followed the law; it was confirmed in the XVth century by the Arche of Beaumont. The law of Beaumont suppressed serfdom, emancipated people from the military duties and, in most cases, made the commnities owner of their woods. It is the origin of the "common woods", managed by the communities themselves. Maria-Theresa suppressed the law of Beaumont in 1775 but the "common woods" have remained until now as bois d'aisances. Wauthoz says that Tintigny was chartered before 1257, Rossignol before 1383 and Saint-Vincent before 1300.
In 1320, Gilles de Weez was lord of Villemont. Important nobles families settled in Tintigny and stayed there until the end of the XVIIIth century. The Weez were succeeded by the Barbanson around 1400. On 22 June 1530, the titles of Beaudoin de Barbanson, lord of Villemont, were confirmed by patent letters by Charles V. Later, Villemont was owned by the Merode (1612-1676) and Trazegnies (until the Revolution) families.

In the XIIth-XIIIth centuries, the forest of Chiny was cleared along the river Semois and several new settlements emerged. Among those new villages, Rossignol was the biggest village in the provostship of Chiny and a local trade center, with fairs.
The strategical location of Tintigny, near the castle of Villemont and the river Semois, was the cause of several destructions. In 1542, the village was trashed and burnt down by Duke d'Orléans during the invasion of Luxembourg. In 1558, Tintigny was again occupied by Hautecourt, lieutenant of the Duke de Nevers; the troops seized the castle of Villemont and burnt it down. The region was regularly occupied and trashed by French, Croat, Polish, Austrian and Hungarian troops until the end of the XVIIIth century. In 1636, black plague nearly suppressed the village of Tintigny. In 1766, Tintigny had 89 houses and 392 inhabitants.
The castle of Villemont was rebuilt in 1713 and transformed in 1718 by Gerard de Trazegnies.

After the French Revolution, Tintigny was incorporated in 1795 in the department of Forests; it was confered the municipal status in 1823. During the fight of Bellefontaine and Rossignol, on 22 August 1914, 3,500 German and French soldiers were killed. The French 3rd Division of Colonial Infantry was nearly suppressed by the VIth Silesian Corps. A memorial to the Colonial Troops was inaugurated in 1927 by Mr. Feunette, whose son Gaby had been killed during the battle; Feunette committed suicide on the tomb of his son short after the ceremony. Among the victims of the battle of Rossignol is the writer Ernest Psichari (1883-1914), a Greek-born who converted to Christianism aged 29. Psichari was member of the mystic circle including French writers such as Jacques Maritain, Georges Rouault, Charles Péguy and Léon Bloy. On 22 August 1914, the German burnt down Tintigny, because of the alleged presence of franc tireurs and shot 92 civilians. The Germans completely destroyed the castle of Villemont, which was rebuilt in 1922 by Baron d'Huart. On 26 August, another 126 "franc tireur" were arrested in Rossignol, sent to the railway station of Arlon and executed. In 1920, the remains of the martyrs of Arlon were brought back to Rossignol; the funeral cortege left Arlon on 18 July, in the presence of King Albert I; the next day, more than 25,000 people attended the inhumation into the vault of Rossignol.

Bellefontaine is named (at least since 1251) after the numerous sources and fountains found on its territory. The legend says that the daughters of a local lord used to perform their ablutions in one of these fountains, which was nicknamed fontaine des belles. In 1797, Bellefontaine became a municipality including the villages of Bellefontaine, Saint-Vincent and Lahage; Saint-Vincent seceded on 2 July 1887.

Rossignol was found in 1097 when Count de Chiny Arnoul II built in a clearing a fortress, a mill and an oven. Rossignol means in French nightingale, and there were probably several of those birds there. The successive names of the villages consistently refer to the bird, either under its French or Latin (Philomela) name: Locenol in 1265, Philomela in 1271, Losignot and Losignol in 1274, Philomena in 1279-1295, and Lossignot in 1327.

Saint-Vincent does not seem to have been named after Saint Vincent but after a Roman soldier named Savinus. The successive names of the village are Sainvinsart in 1068, Savinsart in 1207 and Saint Vieusart in 1344.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 16 May 2005


Municipal flag of Tintigny

The municipal flag of Tintingy is horizontally divided red-yellow with a white triangle charged with a red flame placed along the hoist.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, it was adopted on 4 June 2003 by the Municipal Council, with the following description:

Deux laizes longitudinales rouge sur jaune avec à la hampe un triangle blanc chargé d'une flamme rouge.

The flag is a derivation from the municipal coat of arms, which are:

Tiercé en pairle; en chef, d'argent à trois flammes de gueules, 2 et 1; à dextre, de gueules à trois pattes de lions, les griffes en haut, 2 et 1, accompagnées en chef d'une étoile six rais, le tout d'or; à senestre, d'or à trois bandes de gueules; en abîme sur le tout, d'or au chef de gueules.

That is:
Tierced per [...], a chief argent three flames gules placed 2 and 1, dexter gules three lion paws claws up in chief a six-rayed star all or, sinister or three bends gules, an escutcheon or a chief gules.

According to the municipal website, the components of the coat of arms recall the arms of the local lords:

  • dexter - Henri de Bellefontaine (XIVth century)
  • chief - Gilles de Saint-Vincent (XIIIth century)
  • sinister - Jean de Rossignol (XVth century)
  • escutcheon - Jean de Weez (XIIIth century)

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 15 May 2005