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Nassogne (Municipality, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2004-06-19 by
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Presentation of Nassogne

The municipality of Nassogne (4,536 inhabitants; 11,193 ha including 5,000 ha of forest; elevation 197-561 m a.s.l.) is located on the border between the regions of Fammenne and Ardenne. The municipality is made of eight components, Ambly, Bande, Forrières, Grune, Harsin, Lesterny, Masbourg, and Nassogne. The city developed around a collegiate church dedicated to St. Monon, a Scottish ermit murdered in Nassogne in the VIIth century.

In the Celtic times, there was in the forest of Arduina (later Ardenne) a fountain called Nassonia. The village which was built near the fountain was called Nassonia, Nassoigne, Nassonacum and eventually Nassogne. In the Roman times, Nassogne was located on the Roman way Bavay-Trier. Emperor Valentinian (321-375, emperor in 364) stayed in the Villa Nassonia, where he signed decrees in 372.

Around 600, a Scottish monk called Monon was ordered by an angel to evangelize the pagans living near the fountain Nassonia. Monon decided to go fisrt to Rome to ask for the assistance of Sts. Peter and Paul. On his way to Rome, he met John the Lamb, then bishop of Tongeren and became his friend. Back to the place allocated to him by the angel, Monon started clearing and evangelization. Monon used a small bell found by a pig to call his flock to prayer in a small oratory later replaced by the Coumont chapel. The bell was probably a Gallo-Roman tintinnabulum lost by a convoy on the Roman way. After Monon had destroyed their idols, the local woodcutters allied with thieves in order to suppress him. Monon was murdered in his oratory with a spear or a wood wedge around 636.

John the Lamb, who had ben appointed bishop of Maastricht, built a church paying hommage to his friend Monon, and ordered the canons of Huy to celebrate mass there every week. In the VIIIth century, king of the Franks Pépin le Bref (715-768, king in 751), who enjoyed hunting in the Ardenne forest, was impressed by St. Monon's miracles. He donated the church his royal hat decorated with jewels set in fine gold and appointed a college of canons, who perceived the tithe in the region limited by the rivers Lesse and Ourthe. Once in Nassogne. Thirsty, Pépin hit a rock with his sword and water gushed forth. Since then, that place is called Pépinette.

In 825, Walcand, bishop of Liège, ordered the transportation of St. Hubert's body to Andage (today Saint Hubert) and submitted the church of Nassogne to the prebends of St. Hubert's abbey. The chapter of Nassogne rejected in 1086 the authority of the abbey but still recognized his preeminence in the assemblies convened by the pope. To solve the conflict, the bishop of Liège transfered the Nassogne prebend to the Sts. Peter and Hubert's church in Liege but acknowledged the independence of the church of Nassogne. However, discipline got lax in the independent church and the bishop had to sent legates in 1253 and again in 1254 to rectify the situation.

In January 1274, Gerard of Luxembourg proclaimed the freeing of the domain of Nassogne and granted a chart of rights to its inhabitants. Duke Wenceslas confirmed the chart and sold Nassogne to the count of Namur in order to wipe off his debts. On 1 August 1536, Collard Malaize, St. Hubert's abbey, signed a new chart prescribing the respective rights of the abbey, the lord and the inhabitants of Nassogne. The chart includes a detailed description of St. Monon's procession, called remuages (from remuer, to move). During the procession, the parishioners were arranged alphabetically by two halberdiers, starting with the parish of Ambly. When reaching letter F, the helberdiers shouted: "Stand back, people of Forrières who killed St. Monon!".

The rights of Nassogne were confirmed by Ferdinand of Bavaria, prior-bishop of Liège on 30 August 1634, and again on 25 January 1650 by prince-bishop Maximilian-Henri. The chapter founded by Pépin le Bref still existed but started to divide, so that pope Clement XI (1649-1721, pope in 1700) had to sent an apostolic nounce on 10 May 1709 to rectify the situation. The chapter was suppressed in 1794 by the French and the goods of the abbey were sold.

The collegiate church of Nassogne was completely rebuilt in 1661 and restored in1673, 1782 znd 1949, after blazes.

Source: Nassogne website (non-official)

Ivan Sache, 12 April 2004

Flag of Nassogne

The flag of Nassogne is horizontally divided red and yellow with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

Source: Flags of the Low Countries

Jarig Bakker, 19 November 2001

Coat of arms of Nassogne

The coat of arms of Nassogne is:

Per fess barry of five argent and azure a lion emerging gules langued armed and crowned or a label with five pendants or, gules a clog or.

The upper part of the coat of arms seems to recall the coat of arms of Luxembourg, with a mark of cadency.

Source: Flags of the Low Countries

Ivan Sache, 12 April 2004