Last modified: 2011-07-16 by ivan sache
Keywords: ham-sur-heure-nalinnes | nalinnes | hame-sur-heure | cross:moline (red) | merode |
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Municipal flag of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 1 November 2005
The municipality of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes (13,383 inhabitants on 1
January 2007; 4,568 ha) is located 10 km south of Charleroi, on the border wit the Province of Namur. The municipality of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes is made since 1976 of the
former municipalities of Ham-sur-Heure, Nalinnes, Cour-sur-Heure, Jamioulx and Marbaix-la-Tour.
Ham-sur-Heure is named after the ancient toponym Ham, "a pasture surrounded by water", and the river Eau d'Heure, which flows into the Sambre a few kilometers south-west of Charleroi. The river is said to be so mighty that it can burst its banks within one hour (in French, heure).
Ham belonged to the abbey of Lobbes (listed as Ham super Hur among 174 villages in the abbey's Polyptich made in 868-869) and was incorporated
into the principality of Liège from 889 to 1794. Its early lords belonged to the family of Morialmé. In 1096, Godescald de Morialmé went
on the First Crusade with Godefroid de Bouillon (and he came back, since he
signed in 1127 the act of foundation of the abbey of Solières, near
Huy); in 1189, Godefroid III de Morialmé went on the Third Crusade with King of France Philippe-Auguste. The castle and domain of Ham were
transferred in 1256 to the Condé family, in 1441 to the Enghien family, and in 1487 to the Merode family. Ferdinand de Merode, Count de
Montfort (1638-1687), built a 5 km long wall around the park and
decorated the bastions with votive niches.
The castle was often sacked and burned, especially in the 17th century (1667 and 1689). In 1667, Louis XIV stayed in the castle and ordered to suppress one of its five towers because a castle was not allowed to have more than four towers. Joachim-Maximilien de Merode rebuilt the castle completely in 1700 and transformed the old fortress into a smaller but more comfortable castle. The castle was not destroyed during the French Revolution because it was used as a military hospital. It was abandoned from 1806 to 1896, when Countess Louise de Merode spent 2 million francs to revamp it and bequeathed it to her daugther and her son-in-law, Count Jean d'Oultremont. The castle was eventually purchased by the municipality of Ham-sur-Heure in 1952
Nalinnes is listed on the aforementioned Polyptich of Lobbes. The succession of the lords of Nalinnes is very complicated until the village was ceded in 1489 to Richard de Merode, whose family kept it until the French Revolution. Nalinnes was originally a clearing and has still a lot of woods on its territory.
Cour-sur-Heure belonged to the abbey of Lobbes and later to the family of Morialmé. In 1512, the domain was sold to the family of Glyrnes, which kept it until the French Revolution. Cour was a free domain, and its inhabitants did not pay taxes to the States of Brabant. Until the First World War, the main crop in Cour was sugar beet, processed in the sugar house of Ham. Stone quarries were exploited at the end of the 19th century on the banks of the Eau d'Heure. Cour was far from Charleroi and developed less in the 1830-1900 than the average in Hainaut. Rural exodus increased until the 1960s.
Jamioulx also belonged to the abbey of Lobbes in the 9th century; the abbey lost the domain but bought it again in 1309 and kept it until the French Revolution. Jamioulx belonged to the châtellenie of Thuin and to the sauvement (protected area) of Beaumont, in spite of being located quite far from the fortress of Beaumont. There were in the 19th century a few industries in Jamioulx such as a small colliery (closed in 1876), a tannery and a clog workshop.
Marbaix-la-Tour belonged to the abbey of Lobbes and later to the Principality of Liège. The full name of Marbaix-la-Tour appeared in 1765 but there is no evidence that a tower (tour) existed then in the village. On 15 June 1815, Napoléon, on his way to Waterloo, stopped at Marbay (and not at Thy-le-Château as often reported).
Ivan Sache, 1 November 2005
The municipal flag of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes is vertically divided
yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow with a blue
engrailed border and a white shield charged with a red fer de moline in
It follows the proposal made by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community, described in Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], as:
Neuf laizes transversales alternativement jaunes et rouges avec une bordure engrêlée bleue et, au centre, un écusson blanc chargé d'une anille rouge.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.
The municipal arms of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes combine the former arms of Ham-sur-Heure and
The arms of Ham-sur-Heure were granted by Royal Decree on 4 September 1910 as D'or à quatre pals de gueules un écu d'argent à une anille de gueules en abyme ("Or four pales gules in the middle an escutcheon argent a fer de moline gules").
The arms of Nalinnes were granted by Royal Decree on 3 January 1911 as D'or à quatre pals de gueules brisé d'une bordure engrêlée d'azur (Merode) ("Or four pales gules a border engrailed azure"). The banner of arms of Merode is also used as the municipal flag of Westerlo (Province of Antwerp); the neighbouring municipality of Herselt has added a blue "H" for differentiation.
Merode is one of the oldest Belgian nobler lineage; there were Counts
of Merode in the Middle Ages, as well as Barons of Merode and
Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and Princes of Merode in 1759. The
current titles of the Merode are:
- Prince of Rubempré, in the Holy Roman Empire (1759);
- Prince of Rubempré, in the Kingdom of Belgium (1846);
- Prince of Everberghe, in the Holy Roman Empire (1759);
- Prince of Everberghe, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1827);
- Prince of Grimberghe, in the Kingdom of Belgium (1842);
- Prince of Merode, in the Kingdom of Belgium (1929).
The head of the House of Merode is since 1980 Charles-Guillaume (b. 1940), third Prince of Merode, Marquis of Westerloo, Prince of Rubempré and Grimberghe. Prince Alexandre of Merode (1934-2002) was Vice President of the International Olympic Committee and President of the Royal Association of the Historic Houses of Belgium. Princess Baudoin de Merode (b. 1948), née Nathalie van den Abeele, is the unique lady-in-waiting of Queen Paola since 1997.
Count Frédéric de Merode (1792-1830) fought during the Independence War of Belgium in 1830; injured during the battle of Berchem on 25 October 1830, he died in Antwerp ten days later and became a national hero, being the first noble of higher rank to die for the new Belgium. His brother, Count Félix de Merode (1791-1857) was one of the political leaders of the War; appointed member of the Provisory Government and then of the National Congress, he refused the throne because he was not a Prince and was member of the delegation that proposed the throne to Prince Louis d'Orléans, to no avail, in Paris on 3 July 1831. King Leopold I appointed him State Minister in 1831 but he resigned in 1839 because he did not want to sign the treaty of abandon of parts of Luxembourg and Limburg by Belgium. His son, Count Xavier de Merode (1820-1874), served in the French Army in Kabylia (Algeria) in 1844-1847 and then was ordained priest. Pope Pius IX appointed him Director of the Pontifical Prisons and Minister of War in 1860. After the defeat of Castelfidardo against the Piemontese troops, Merode carried on the reorganization of the papal army and also contributed to the modern urbanization of Rome. Forced to resign in 1865, Merode was appointed Archbishop of Mytilene (in partibus) in 1866. After the seizure of Rome by the Piemontese in 1870, Merode withdrew with the pope into the Vatican.
Arnaud Bunel's Héraldique Européenne website shows the arms of
several branches of the Merode lineage.
The House of Merode bears "Or four pales gules a border engrailed azure", whereas the House of Scheiffart de Merode, the senior branch extincted in 1733, bore "Or four pales gules".
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 14 July 2007
Like many villages of the region of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse, Ham-sur-Heure has its folkloric march, called Marche Saint-Roch, whose origin dates back to the 1635 black plague epidemic. The Marche Saint-Roch is considered as one of the oldest and nicest folkloric marches; its specificity is a torchlight procession. The companies involved in the march are the Garde d'Honneur, the Volontaires Réunis de la Révolution Branbançonne, the Flanqueurs de la Garde, the Jeune Marche, the Compagnie Royale Les Vrais Sapeurs, the Fanfare Royale, the 11e Légers and the 1er Régiment de Zouaves.
The Compagnie royale des volontaires réunis de la révolution brabançonne was founded on 7 September 1957. Its goal is to revive, as accurately as possible, a
company of patriotic volunteers raised in Mons during the Brabantine Revolution, 1787-1790.
The "colour" of the company was granted by Count Charles-Henri d'Oultremont on 6 July 1958 for the first public performance of the company. Involved in 213 performances (excluding the limited presentations of the colour and its guard), the colour was replaced by a replica on 22 September 1984; since then, it has been involved in 164 performances.
Since nothing was found on the historical flag of the local volunteers, a brand new flag was designed in 1958. The flag is white with a border made of black, yellow and red triangles on the free sides of the flag (15 triangles on each side). The shield in the middle of the flag is borrowed from the former municipal arms of Ham-sur-Heure, "Or four pales gules in the middle an escutcheon argent a fer de moline gules". The shield is flanked by two rose branches with seven red flowers each. The Latin motto written in black capital letters on a white scroll placed under the shield, "Nobilitas virtute nititur" (The nobility shines through virtue") belongs to the Oultremont family.
Source: Blog of the company, including a big photo of the modern flag and photos of the first flag
Ivan Sache, 14 April 2009