Last modified: 2006-01-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: sambreville |
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Municipal flag of Sambreville - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 21 April 2005
On 1 January 1977, the seven municipalities of Auvelais (today the
administrative center of Sambreville), Arsimont, Falisolle, Keumiée,
Moignelée, Tamines and Velaine-sur-Sambre were merged into the
municipality of Basse-Sambre (Royal Decree of 17 September 1975,
article 461, ratified by the law of 30 December 1975).
Emile Lacroix, Mayor of Falisolle since 1965, was appointed Mayor of the new municipality. During the inaugural Municipal Council, Lacroix proposed to rename the municipality Sambreville; the proposal was adopted (22 yes and 7 abstentions). The Municipal Council argued that the name of Basse-Sambre (lit., Lower Sambre) was misleading since it already designated an economical region much larger than the new municipality. The epithet Basse was also deemed derogative, following the well-known examples of the French departments whose name was changed for the same reason (Basses-Pyrénées and Basses-Alpes).
The proposal was forwarded to the Senate on 6 January and adopted on 24 February (151 yes, 16 abstentions). It was then forwarded to the Chamber of Representatives, where it was discussed and adopted (162 yes) only on 14 June 1978. The law changing the name of the municipality from Basse-Sambre to Sambreville was signed by the King on 4 July 1978 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 26 July 1978. The new municipality was inaugurated on 14 October 1978. Emile Lacroix was appointed Governor of the Province of Namur in 1980 and retired from political life in 1987.
Sambreville is the only Belgian municipality to have changed its name.
Sambreville is now the second biggest municipality in the province of Namur (after Namur) and the 18th largest municipality in Wallonia. The most important industrial facilities of the province are located in Sambreville, which looks more and more like a single town. Accordingly, the Deputies Claude Eerdekens and André Frédéric have tabled on 21 May 2004 a bill granting the title of town (ville) to the municipality of Sambreville, as follows:
La présente loi règle une matière visée par l'article 78 de la constitution.
La commune de Sambreville est autorisée à porter le titre de Ville.
La présente loi entre en vigueur au 1er janvier 2005.
This law shall cover a topic described in article 78 of the constitution.
The municipality of Sambreville shall be allowed to bear the title of Town.
This law shall come into force on 1 January 2005.
The law does not seem to have been adopted yet.
The villages consituting Sambreville were located in the past on the borders of the County of Namur, the Principality of Liège and the Duchy of Brabant. They were shared among these three administrative divisions in several feudal domains, often owned by powerful religious institutions.
Auvelais (7,872 inhabitants; 7.12 sq. km) has been known as Nauloiz,
Navloiz and Avoloit (1113), Auvlois and Avuloit (1138) and Avelois
(1229). The latter name was used until the middle of the XIXth century.
Avelois was transformed in Auvelais to match the local pronunciation
and the evolution of French written language, oi being replaced by
ai when pronuciation required it.
In his Toponymie Namuroise, Canon Roland claims that the name of Auvelais is related to the Celtic root *aval, meaning apple. Auvelais could have been named after an apple orchard located on the right bank of the Sambre. Archeological excavations have confirmed that the place was an important Gallo-Roman settlement in the IInd century: urns, saucers, vases, trays, flasks, coins and a big bronze statue representing Roman Emperor Antonin the Pius (138-161) found there are kept in the Archeological Museum of Namur.
Auvelais is watered by the Biesme, a tributary of the Sambre. In a document dated from the Xth century, the river is named Bebrona, which means in Celtic the beaver's river.
In the middle of the XIIth century, one half of Auvelais belonged to Arnould of Morialmé. The other half probably belonged to another branch of Florennes or Morialmé, and was later divided into two domains: in 1138, one quarter of Auvelais was granted to Hugh of Foreselle, aka Rampart, and a second quarter was granted to the Canons' Chapter of Fosses, which hold it until 1721. In 1401, Count of Namur abolished the formorture right, which allocated to the Chapter's representative the goods of someone who had died without a legitimate heir. The rest of the domain of Auvelais was progressively purchased by the abbey of Floreffe, founded in 1121 by Count of Namur Godefroid; in 1721, Floreffe completely owned Auvelais, following an exchange with the Chapter of Fosses. Before the French Revolution, Auvelais was administratively shared between the County of Namur and the Principality of Liège: Auvelais-Centre and Arsimont (domain of Auvelais-le-Comté) depended on Namur, whereas Auvelais-le Voisin, la Larronerie and la Sarthe (domain of Auvelais-le Voisin) depended on Liège. In the XIXth century, agriculture was replaced by industry in Auvelais (colliery and glass factory).
Arsimont (2,089 inhabitants; 4.16 sq. km) has been known as Marchimont
(1246), Harchimont (1296, 1480, 1519), Harcimont, Arcimontet and
Harsimont (XVIIth-XVIIIth centuries), Orchimont and Argimont (old maps
of the County of Namur), and also Orsimont.
According to Canon Roland, the name of Arsimont means "the mount where flexible wood used to make bonds was cropped". The Roman word harz (hars, arz) is cognate with the low Latin words harcia and arces, meaning bonds for bundles of sticks; harcia gave hart in French (but Grand Robert de la Langue Française gives for the origin of hart a Frankish root meaning tow), haurt in Walloon and (h)archelle in the patois spoken in Mons. Other authors say that Arsimont comes from Arcis Mons, the entrenchment mount. Arsimont was a dependency of Auvelais until the XIXth century; under the Ancient Regime, Arsimont belonged to Auvelais-le-Comté. Following the industrial development and the increase of its populations, the municipality of Arsimont was incorporated on 15 June 1887.
Falisolle (3,448 inhabitants; 4.83 sq. km) is build on rocks, locally
known as vieilles falaises (old cliffs). The French word falaise
comes from Germanic falis, little rocks (but Grand Robert de la
Langue Française says the origin of falaise is obscure); with the
diminutive suffix ol, it gave Phalisolis and Faliseolas (XIth
century), Falizoles (1227), Falisuel (1248), Falisoul (1372) and
eventually Falisolle (1664).
Around 650, Itte, widow of Pépin I, ceded Falisolle and her other domains to the monastery of Fosses; the Chapter of Fosses owned Falisolle until the French Revolution. Therefore, Falisolle was administratively dependent of the Principality of Liège. The chapter appointed an intendant (avoué), who protected and ran the domain and was granted a part of its feudal goods and rights. In 1219, Arnould de Morialmé was avoué in Falisolle, Vitrival and Auvelais-le-Voisin: his wages were one third of the fines if he had to dispense justice, and one peace of bread, one chicken and one setier of oats per home if he had to join the ost (militia) of the Prince-Bishop of Liège.
Until the late 1960s, Falisolle was renowned for its contest of singing roosters, which took place on Sunday morning. The roosters were locked in small wooden boxes and a "time-keeper" noted the number of cock-a-doodle-do emitted during a period of 30 minutes. Each rooster was entered in the contest for a number of cock-a-doodle-do given by its owner (the limite, limit). The rooster that matched exactly its expected limit was the winner. The "hauts-coqs (upper-roosters) had a limit of 200, whereas the bas-coqs (lower-roosters) had a limit of only 30. The contest was a matter of betting. It was strictly forbidden to speak and smoke during the contest.
Keumiée (Cominiacae terrae, Cominius' domain; 910 inhabitants; 2.22 sq. km) is listed in 1289 as a dependency of Velaine, owned by the Count of Namur. The domain was later incorporated to the Duchy of Brabant. In 1531, Keumiée was a dependency of Ligny; Keumiée, Ligny and Tongrinne constituted a fief administrated by the feudal court of Aarschot. In 1536, the owner of the fief was Renard d'Argenteau. The family of Looz-Corswaren was allocated the fief in 1682. The municipality of Keumiée was incorporated by Royal Decree on 19 June 1821. It always depended on the parish of Velaines and has therefore no church.
Moignelée (2,097 inhabitants; 1.63 sq. km) was built on a diverticulum (secondary way) of the main Roman way Bavay-Cologne. In the Middle Ages, Moignelée belonged to a thin stripe of land which extended the Duchy of Brabant through the County of Namur until the Sambre; the domain of Moignelée was a dependency of Aiseau. Under the Austrian rule, Moignelée was administratively shared between Lambusart (County of Namur) and Marbais and Aiseau (Duchy of Brabant). After the French Revolution, Moignelée was incorporated into the department of Sambre-et-Meuse, and annexed in 1809 to the municipality of Tamines. The municipality of Moignelée was reestablished in 1819 and lost in 1850 a part of its territory, allocated to Lambusart.
Tamines (7,510 inhabitants; 6.14 sq. km) has been known as Thaminne, Taminnes and Tamine. The origin of the name of the village is obscure: Tamines might come from Domin, the short form of Dominicus; from the name of lord Tamno or Tamni; or from a fight (Latin, certamen). In the Middle Ages, Tamines was divided into three domains. The domain of Les Alloux depended on Namur; it belonged to the monastery of Fosses until the Xth century, to the Waha family in 1628 and from 1711 onwards to the priory of Oignies. The second domain was granted by the Bishop of Liège to the lord of Loverval and purchased in 1282 by the priory of Oignies. The third domain directly depended on the Bishop and the St. Lambert's Chapter and was also absorbed by Oignies in 1711. In the XVIIIth century, the priory of Oignies owned both Tamines-Liège and Tamines-Namur.
Velaine-sur-Sambre (3,293 inhabitants; 8.76 sq. km), known in the past as Veslansa, Velaynes and Velaines, was probably founded on the site of a Gallo-Roman estate (villa). Several Neolithic and Roman remains have been found in Velaine. In 1627, Philip IV of Namur ceded the domain of Velaine and Boignée to Charles d'Argenteau, lord of Ligny, Tongrinne and Keumiée. In 1682, the domain was transfered to the Looz-Corswaren family through a marriage. The domain of Ligny, Tongrinne, Humerée and Velaine-Boignée was transformed in 1779 by Empress Maria-Theresa in a Marquisate granted to her Chamberlain, Charles-Louis-Auguste, Duke of Looz-Corswaren.The seven villages constituting Sambreville, especially Auvelais, Arsimont and Tamines, were severely damaged during the "battle of the Sambre" (1914). A monument to the civil war victims was erected in Tamines by the sculptor Louis Mascrée. The Germans destroyed it in 1940 and it was rebuilt after the Liberation.
Ivan Sache, 21 April 2005
The municipal flag of Sambreville is diagonally (per bend) divided red over black. Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones claims that the municipal coat of arms is placed in the middle of the flag, but the drawing of the flag in that book does not show the coat of arms (as confirmed by the municipal administration). The colours of the flag, however, are the main colours of the coat of arms.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 21 April 2005