Last modified: 2007-11-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: ellezelles | elzele | la hamaide | hamaide |
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Municipal flag of Ellezelles - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2002
The municipality of Ellezelles (in Dutch, Elezele; 5,711 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,469 ha) is located on the linguistic border between French and Dutch, 10 km east of Ronse. The municipality of Ellezelles is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Ellezelles, La Hamaide and Wodecq.
Ellezelles is located in an hilly region called the Hills' Country (Pays des Collines), its equivalent in Flanders being the Flemish Ardennes (Vlaamse Ardennen). The sandstone hills, which can reach a height of 150 m asl, are the result of the erosion of the sandy plateau. In June 1997, the Walloon Government created the Natural Park of the Hills' Country (Parc Naturel du Pays des Collines), with its administrative seat in Ellezelles, encompassing the municipalities of Ellezelles, Flobecq, Frasnes-lez-Anvaing, Mont-de-l'Enclus and Ath (pro parte), that is an area of more than 23,000 ha.
Ellezelles was in the past fiercely disputed by the Count of Flanders, the Count of Hainaut and the Duke of Brabant. The village was very
isolated and its inhabitants lived poorly from agriculture, with a
strong emigration to France. In the 1870s, workshops with modern looms
were set up, which slightly improved the local conditions. Around 1880,
new crops were promoted, such as tobacco and chicory.
The wooden Cat Sauvage windmill is located at 116 m asl on a hill between Ellezelles and Ronse. The mill was built around 1750 for the Princess of Rohan-Soubise and purchased in 1789 by Pierre François Van Lierde. It was eventually purchased by the Tourism Federation of the Province of Hainaut in 1952; its current owner is the municipality of Ellezelles.
The brewer Philippe Gérard founded in 1983 the Brasserie ellezelloise, producing the famous Hills' beer called Quintine, awarded in international contests in Belgium and in the USA.
A recent cleaning operation in the municipal archives allowed the recovery of the genuine and authentic birth certificate of the famous private detective Hercule Poirot, born in Ellezelles on 1 April 1850. Some say he never existed but in Agatha Christie's novels, but everybody in Ellezelles knows that is not true.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 18 June 2007
The flag of Ellezelles is a gyronny of eight pieces, yellow and red.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 29 May 1990 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 6 January 1992, as Gironné de jaune et de rouge de huit pièces.
The flag is based on the municipal arms, Gironné d'or et de gueules de huit pièces, chaque giron du second chargé d'une mâcle du premier, à un écusson d'or à la hamaide de gueules posée en abîme (Gyronny or and gules of eight pieces, every giron of the second charged with a mascle of the first, overall an escutcheon or a hamaide gules).
The escutcheon represents the former arms of La Hamaide, D'or à trois
hamaides de gueules ("Or three hamades gules"), that were used unofficially. La Hamaide is presented on the Heraldus website as a Barony
of Hainaut, known as Hamedia (1094), Vicus aux Hamaides (1120), Le
Hamaide (1127), Hamedium (1161), Hamaide, Hameye or Lahamaide. The
name of the village might come from the Latin lama, "a mire", in Lower
Latin, lamina, "a place with reeds", or from the Frankish hamitha, "a
barrier", which gave the heraldic term "hamade". This heraldic charge - indeed three bars couped - is extremely rare, even not listed as an English term in A.C. Fox-Davies'
massive Complete Guide to heraldry [fox96].
It is not known if the village was named after a knight bearing a shield with a hamade or the reverse; anyway, the miles of La Hamaide became a lord in 1216. In 1397 Arnoul IV de La Hamaide added a bezant or in the first hamade of his arms. The lineage extincted in 1530; another La Hamaide family emerged in Ath in 1732 with Louis I, who added a crescent sable above the first hamade of the arms of the old family.
The Gelre Armorial shows "Or three hamades gules" for Jean, lord of La Hamaide (Die Hemeyden, #1050, folio 84r) and La Hamaide (Die He. v. Hameye, #1538, folio 106v).
The Lalaing Armorial shows the same arms for La Hamaide (Hamaide, #168, folio 80v).
Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens, James Dignan & Ivan Sache, 18 June 2007