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Mont-de-l'Enclus (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-03-29 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus]

Municipal flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 2 September 2007

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Presentation of Mont-de-l'Enclus and its villages

The municipality of Mont-de-l'Enclus (3,417 inhabitants - Enclusiens - on 1 January 2007; 6,080 ha, including 600 ha of woods) is located 20 km north-east of Tournai. The Mont de l'Enclus / Kluisbergen, mightily towering at an elevation of 141 m, marks the border between Hainaut and East Flanders, Flanders and Wallonia, and the municipalities of Mont-de-l'Enclus and Kluisbergen. A "three land point" where the borders of West Flanders, East Flanders and Hainaut join, is also located in the neighborhood.
The municipality of Mont-de-l'Enclus is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Amougies (in Dutch, Amengijs; 1,030 inh.), Anserœul (1,027 inh.), Orroir (810 inh.) and Russeignies (in Dutch, Rozenaken; 555 inh.) Amougies, Russeignies and Orroir, which depended in the past of the Country of Aalst, belonged until 1963 to the province of East Flanders.

Mont de l'Enclus is the place of the legend of Liedericq / Liederieck. Around 620, a caravan led by Prince Salvaert, from Dijon, was attacked in the woods by Count Phinaert. Everybody was killed except Salvaert's wife, Ermengarde de Roussillon, who gave birth to a child. She could hide the child under a bush before being captured by Phinaert. An hermit found the child, called him Lidericq and raised him. There are several versions of the Liedericq's legend, who is reported to have moved to England and then came back to Flanders, where he founded the towns of Lille (the local giant is called Liedericq) and Bruges and was the root of the Counts of Flanders. One of his descenders, Liedericq II, settled in Harelbeke, where his statue still watches the main square.
The legend was popularized by writers such as Alexandre Dumas, Hendrik Conscience and Cécile Ameye. It has, however, some historical roots since Mont de l'Enclus means the Hermitage's Mount (from enclos or kluis, "an enclosure") and several places listed in the legend are still existing, such as the Beste Beek (sacred fountain) located in Russignies. It was reported in 1148 that the place was settled by counterfelters led by an hermit; two Flemish lords coming back from the Crusade and spending the night in the hermitage watched the old hermit, who turned into a young man and disappeared through a trap door. They followed him and found the counterfelters; the lords warned the Count of Flanders and arrested the rascals, who were hung in the castle of Ghent. On 11 June 1724, the procession with St Hermes' shrine was attacked by the rascal known as the Egyptians. Around 1748, the priest of Amougies complained to the dean of Ronse that the hermits lured his flock and went overboard. Until the beginning of the XIXth century, several groups of rascals were reported to scour the place. One of their famous leaders was Jean-Baptiste Lefèbvre, known as "Sans-Doigts" (Fingerless).
Mont de l'Enclus is today a popular place for hiking, biking and riding; it is often visited by more than 10,000 on Sunday. They can gather at the Maison des Randonneurs (Hikers' House), located in Orroir.

Amougies, the seat of the municipality, has an industrial activity. The St. Bavo church keeps the tombs of nine dukes of Montmorency in a vault located under the altar; including the recumbent statutes of lord Antoine de Montmorency (d. 21 March 1529) and his second wife Jeanne de Beaufort (d. 11 June 1532).
On 24-28 October 1969, the music festival Actuel moved to Amougies from Saint-Cloud, where it had been forbidden by the French authorities (the May 1968 event was still in the memories!). For one week, the festival welcomed some of the most famous pop musicians (Frank Zappa - jamming with Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, East of Eden, Yes, Captain Beefheart, Keith Emerson, Soft Machine - a non-stop 1 h 03' 23'' performance - and the unforgettable French groups Martin Circus, Gong and Zoo) and free jazz musicians (Steve Lacy and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Joachim Kuhn, Jean-François Jenny-Clark) of the time.

Anserœul is a rural village, the only in the municipality to be located on the left bank of river Rhosnes. The Great Cross Farm (Ferme de la Grand Croix) was built on the site of the feudal castle of Anserœul, suppressed in 1633-1635. The castle existed in the XIVth century and belonged to Gérard de la Croix.

Orroir might have been named after an oratory (in Latin, "oratorium"). A Gallo-Roman treasure made of 80 coins from the IInd century and tombs were found in 1980. The mill of Orroir belonged to Charles Béghin, who was expelled from France together with his father during the Revolution. The mill was located in a windy place, near a café called Le Drapeau Français (The French Flag) and should have been very successful; unfortunately, access to the mill was made difficult by a bad path not usable by animals. Accordingly, the mill was ruined and suppressed in the beginning of the XXth century. The tower of Orroir was built on the probable site of a former chapel, itself built on the site of a former hermitage. It was used by the Gueux as a stand during the Religious Wars and as an observation and semaphore post during the Napoleonic wars. In the beginning of the XXth century, the tower was famous for providing the widest panorama in Belgium, up to Lille, Tournai and Ghent. Since then, tree have grown up!

Russeignies is the birth place of Right Reverend Théophile Meerschaert (1847-1924), who moved to the USA in 1872. He was appointed Bishop of Sidyma on 11 July 1891. On 17 August 1905, the Diocese of Oklahoma (formerly a Vicariate Apostolic) was erected by Pope Pius X. Bishop Meerschaert was appointed as first incumbent of the new Episcopal See of Oklahoma on 23 August 1905.


Ivan Sache, 2 September 2007

Municipal flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus

The municipal flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus is green with a white horizontal diamond and a white saltire overall.
Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones describe the flag as Vert à une frette blanche, greenwith a white fret.
In 1983, the municipality decided to adopt a flag with the green and white colours and whose design recall the green mounts and valleys of the region.

[Flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus?]

Tourism flag of Mont-de-l'Enclus? - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 2 September 2007

The municipal website showed a photography (no longer online) of the town hall, with another flag, most probably the local tourism flag.

Pascal Vagnat, Lewis Nowitz & Ivan Sache, 2 September 2007