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Hamois (Municipality, Province of Namur, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-12-02 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Hamois and its villages

The municipality of Hamois (6,645 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 7,642 ha) is located in the upper valley of the Bocq, in the region of Condroz. The municipality of Hamois is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Hamois, Achet, Emptinne, Mohiville, Natoye, Schaltin and Scy.

Hamois is watched by the remains of the old Roman watch post of Hody; Frankish tombs have been found in Alvaux and Mars-aux-Frênes, whereas the pillars of the chapel of Hubinne date from the same period (VIIIth century). In the Middle Ages, Hubinne was one of the 32 upper domains (hauteurs) of Ciney; Hamois and Asneux also depended on Ciney, whereas Buresse depended on the Principality of Liège. These domains were part of the belt of defense of Ciney. In May 1318, the militia from Dinant destroyed 11 villages in Condroz, together with the castle and the church of Hubinne, to punish the burghers of Ciney who had refused to support their revolt against the Prince-Bishop of Liège.

Achet has several Merovingian tombs but was most probably settled very earlier. Depending in the Xth century of the St. Paul Chapter of Liège, the village was involved in the neverending conflicts that opposed the Dukes of Brabant, the Princes-Bishops of Liège, the Counts of Luxembourg and the Counts of Namur. The most famous of them was the Cow's War, that broke out in 1276 because the lord of Goesnes, from Namur, had plundered villages depending on Liège. The castle of Tourlouette was probably suppressed during that war. Its ruins, along with other limestones, were used in lime kilns set up in Monin and later superseded by the industrial kilns of Achet, linked to the station of Hamois by a private railway. Achet and Hamois were separated in 1898.

Emptinne was already settled in the Gallo-Roman times. The villa of Rosdia and its heating system (hypocaust) are one of the best examples of Roman architecture in Belgium. A Frankish cemetary was excavated in Sur le Mont. Emptinne belonged to Natoye whereas Fontaine belonged to the Municipality of Ciney and therefore to the Principality of Liège. In 1589, Baron of Grosbeeck, Bailiff of Condroz, lived in Fontaine. Laurent Jacquier, lord of Rosée, purchased Emptinne in 1700 and split it into two domains (Natoye, Francesse and Lez-Fontaine; Emptinne, Champion, Emblinne) for each of his two children. In 1728, the Austrian rulers built the Namur-Arlon road; Emptinne became a famous post house on the Luxembourg-Namur-Brussels road. Emperor Josef II is said to have spent the night of 4 to 5 June 1781 in Emptinne. In 1877, the coach service was superseded by the railway, whose inauguration boosted again the development of the village, as did the exploitation of limestone quarries.

Mohiville, as well as the hamlet of Scoville, were originally Roman estates (villae) located on a diverticulum (secondary way). Mohiville belonged in the Middle Ages to the Municipality of Ciney, but included an enclave, the wood of Thiroul, belonging to the Provostship of Poilvâche. Located on the border with Luxembourg, the village was often plundered. Ry was one of the 32 hauteurs of Ciney; the castle of Ry is still inhabited by the Aspremont-Lynden family.

Natoye was once crossed by the Namur-Ciney Roman way; in the Frankish times, King Childéric and the Abbot of Stavelot swapped goods in Natoye and Maibes. In the XIVth century, the Ban of Natoye, made of Natoye, Lez-Fontaine, Francesse, Champion, Emptinne, Spange and Emptinal, was incorporated into the Provostship of Poilvâche, allocated to Countess of Namur Marie d'Artois. It was later transferred to the families of Argenteau, Corswarem, Momal and Rougrave. Mouffrin was one of the 32 hauteurs of Ciney; its castle, built around 1450 on a rocky spur watching the Bocq, was besieged by the militia of Ciney at the end of the XVth century, to no avail.
Knight Godfroid de Skeuvre was appointed in 1227 Marshal of Liège, whereas Skeuvre was incorporated into the Provostship of Poilvâche in the XIVth century and ruled by the lords of Gesves in the XV-XVIIth century. Knight Godefroid's famous successor is Pacôme Hégésippe Adélard Ladislas, Count of Champignac, created by the famous cartoonist André Franquin and living in a castle modelled on the modern castle of Skeuvre, rebuilt in neo-classical style after its destruction by the Germans in May 1940. Considered as a rocket scientist by the villagers of Champignac, the Count appears in several books of the Spirou et Fantasio series, in which he makes several interesting inventions, all based on natural substances produced by mushrooms, but unfortunately handicapped by odd side effects. X-1 provides a miraculous strength for the few hours following its ingestion, but also the profuse growth of mushrooms into the ears and body luminescence at night; X-2 accelerates ageing up to 70 years within one hour; X-4 is a brain accelerator. Other famous Champignac's inventions are a soporific gas, cameleon pills for circus artists, the anti-cold vaccine and the Metomol, a product that instantaneously smoothens the tightest metal.

Schaltin was founded by St. Remacle, who let a source gush fourth in the village. The village was indeed transferred in 742 to the abbey of Stavelot, founded by St. Remacle, by Carloman, Mayor of the Palace of the last Merovingian king, Childéric II. Marie d'Artois, Countess of Namur, purchased the village in 1342. Until the First World War and the building of a steam tramway, Schaltin remained a very isolated village.

Scy, located in the middle of the wood where the Bocq has its source, was most probably the vicus secaricus, "the village where wood was sawn" (in French, scier). The village belonged in the XIIth century to the Count of Luxembourg, who sold it in 1342 to Countess of Namur Marie d'Artois, and was enclaved inside the Principality of Liège. In 1421, Scy was transfered to the Duke of Burgundy, later to Emperor Maximilian, Kings Philip IV and Charles II, who eventually sold it in 1671 to Godefroid Lebeau, Magistrate in Namur. The village has kept half-timbered houses, whose unusual presence in the region can be explained by the local presence of timber.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 13 July 2007

Municipal flag of Hamois

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, there is no municipal flag used in Hamois.

Pascal Vagnat, 13 July 2007