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Antoing (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2020-04-25 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Antoing]

Flag of Antoing - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 22 May 2005

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Presentation of Antoing

The municipality of Antoing (7,533 inhabitants on 1 January 2007, 3,113 ha) is located on the river Scheldt (in French, Escaut), 10 km south-west of Tournai, close to the border with France. The municipality of Antoing is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Antoing, Bruyelle, Calonne, Fontenoy, Maubray and Péronnes.
Antoing is the capital of the pays blanc (White Country), where limestone has been extracted since the Roman times. Limestone is used in lime kilns and cement works, which belch out a white dust all around. The pays blanc is opposed to the pays noir (Black Country), the coal mining basin. The main cement works was located in Vaulx, near the railway Tournai-Antoing.
Antoing is also the Walloon capital of pumpkin, which is celebrated, along with the other Cucurbitaceae, in the fête des courges every year in September. The heaviest pumpkin and the most distant from Belgium pumpkin are awarded during the festival.

Antoing is listed in the Polyptich of the abbey of Lobbes (868) as Antonium, that is Antonius' estate. The estate and the town are located near the Antoing hole (trou d'Antoing), a place where the Scheldt has a one-m fall requiring the unloading of the boats and, accordingly, the paiement of a toll. The fortress of Antoing was set up in the 10th century by the Count of Flanders after he seized the right bank of the Scheldt. The garrison captains progressively self-styled lords of Antoing.
The first known lord of Antoing is Armoricus (11th century). Among his early followers are Zefer (Sohier, Soyer), whose brother Gilbert (Ailbert) took part to the First Crusade and died in 1122. Zefer was succeeded by Goscelin (Hugues) I, Walter (Gautier), Hugh II, and Alard II.
The succession of Alard II is not very clear. It seems that his young brother Goscelin (Hugh) despoiled Alard's children and proclaimed himself lord of Antoing. He took the party of Hainaut and became a powerful lord, avoué of the chapter of Antoing and the abbey of Saint-Amand, despoiler of the abbey of Liessies, avoué of the Saint-Martin church in Tournai, owner of the toll on the Scheldt, Bailiff (1235) and then Mayor (1241) of Antoing.
Alard III d'Antoing, lord of Briffœil, listed on the Gelre Armorial, was the son of Hugues III, himself Alard II's son. Hugh VI d'Antoing was killed during the Battle of the Golden Spurs in Groeninghe on 11 July 1302. His daughter Isabeau d'Antoing had three husbands, the last one (1327) being John, Viscount of Melun de Tancarville, Lord of Blandy and Grand Chamberlain of France. They had no children and the castle of Antoing was transferred to the family of Melun. In the 16th century, Hippolyte-Anne de Melun married Philippe de Ligne d'Arenberg, Duke of Aarschot and Croÿ.

The battle of Fontenoy took place on 11 May 1745, during the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). This war opposed on land Prussia, France, Bavaria, Saxe and Spain to Austria, and at sea and in the colonies France and Prussia to England and Austria. The origin of the war was the succession of Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg (1711-1740) in 1740, promised to his daughter Maria Theresa (1717-1780) by the "pragmatic sanction" of 1713. Austria ceded Silesia to Prussia in 1742 and defeated Bavaria in 1745. The same year, Maria Theresa's husband, Francis of Lorraine (1708-1765), was elected Emperor and Maria Theresa took the title of Empress. France carried on war into the Austrian Low Countries and conquered them after the victory of Fontenoy. However, France had to withdraw from all the conquered territories after the treaty of Aachen (1748), which recognized the "pragmatic sanction" and the incorporation of Silesia to Prussia. Marie Teresa later fought in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) againt Frederic II of Prussia but could not reincorporate Silesia to Austria.
In 1744, the French troops invaded Flanders and conquered Menen, Ieper, Knokke and Veurne. In May 1745, King Louis XV decided to besiege Tournai, whose fortress controlled the valley of Scheldt and was defended by a big Dutch garrison. An army made of Dutch, English, Hanovrian and Austrian regiments was formed at the end of April in Brussels to help the besieged. This army was commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), the Austrian Marshal Königsegg and Prince of Waldeck. On 9 May, they met the French army and seized easily the village of Vezon and the hamlets of Bourgeon and Vezonchaux on 10 May. They were prepared to defeat easily the rest of the French troops. However, the French commander was Maurice, Count of Saxe (1696-1750), aka Marshal of Saxe, the natural son of Elector of Saxe and King of Poland Augustus II and Countess Aurora von Königsmarck; Saxe is considered as the best strategist of that time. As soon as he saw the enemy, Saxe ordered the withdrawal of most of his troops into the zone Antoing-Fontenoy-Gaurain; on the evening of the 10 May, the French positions were closed by three redoubts set up between Antoing and Fonteny, and Saxe waited for the enemy to rush.
The battle of Fontenoy started on 11 May at 5 AM and ended around 2 PM. Waldeck's Dutch troops emerged from the haze and were caught two times by the French artillery positioned in Antoing, Fontenoy and in the mill of Bruyelle; demoralized, they gave up the fight. Cumberland's Anglo-Hanovrian batallions attempted to break through the French lines in the north of Antoing around 11 AM. Count of Anterroches said to the English his famous sentence: Messieurs, nous ne tirons jamais les premiers ; tirez vous-même, often shortened as Tirez les premiers, Messieurs les Anglais (Shoot first, English Gentlemen). The English shot and broke through the line to the plain of Fontenoy, where Saxe was prepared to welcome them. Cumberland's soldiers formed the famous "Fontenoy column", a rectangle protected on three edges. They resisted to the assaults of the French and Irish battalions and of the cavalry until the attack by the French reserves commanded by Lowendal. Lacking the Dutch support, Cumberland had to withdraw.
The losses were very heavy: 5,000 were killed and 9,000 injured; 2,000 horses were killed, injured or escaped. The Irish brigade, made of the regiments of Clare, Dillon, Bulkeley, Roth, Berwick and Lally, significantly contributed to the French victory. The regiment of Dillon was commanded in Fontenoy by Colonel Jacques Dillon, Knight of the Order of Malta, who was killed during the battle.
The French army captured only one colour, the flag of the 2nd Regiment of English Guards, captured by Sergent Wheelock, from the regiment of Bulkeley. The Irish had 657 dead or injured. The cavalry regiment of Fitz-James lost half of its squadrons. An Irish cross was erected in the center of Fontenoy in 1907 to commemorate the battle.
In 1907-1908, another famous French strategist studied elementary mathematics at the Sacré-Coeur College in Antoing; his name was Charles de Gaulle. In May 1908, aged 18, he published an article on the Jesuits (La Congrégation) in the review Hors de France published by the College of Antoing.

The hermitage Notre-Dame-aux-Bois took part to most significants events of the history of Antoing. A chapel named Notre-Dame-des-Hauts-Arbres (Our Lady of the High Trees) was built in 1435 in a clearing already settled by pilgrims coming back from Jerusalem. A men's convent was built in the clearing, as listed in the municipal account of Tournai dated 1513; the convent was plundered in 1566 by the Iconoclasts, but was still settled in 1705. Afterwards, life was so difficult that the last monks left Antoing; in 1745, the hermitage was settled by a gamekeeper hired by the Prince of Ligne. During the battle of Fontenoy, it was used as a field hospital; Louis XV and the Dauphin stayed not far from there. Later, the hermitage was used as a shrine and then a farm. At the end of the 19th century, the Prince of Ligne took stones from the chapel to rebuild the main entrance of his castle in Antoing.
Notre-Dame-aux-Bois was an important place of pilgrimage, with a miraculous source (still there) and a statuette of the Blessed Virgin made of oak wood in the 16th century. There were several conflicts between Antoing and the neighbouring village of Ramecroix for the rights on the chapel and the statuette, which disappeared in 1914. Accordingly, Canon Doye, priest in Antoing from 1882 to 1889, nicknamed the chapel Notre-Dame-du-Diable (Our Lady of the Devil).


Ivan Sache, 17 May 2007

Flag of Antoing

The municipal flag of Antoing is made of six wavy diagonal stripes, alternatively red and white.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 28 May 1990 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 18 December 1991, with the following official description:
Bandé ondé de six pièces rouges et blanches, or, Six laizes diagonales descendantes ondées alternativement rouges et blanches.

The stripes symbolize the six former municipalities merged into Antoing, the waves symbolize the river Scheldt. The colours come from the arms of the former lords of Antoing, used as the municipal arms of Antoing since 12 December 1953, De gueules au lion d'argent (Gules a lion argent).
The Gelre Armorial shows for Antoing:
- "Gules a lion argent", for Hugh d'Antoing (Die Heer van Antoenge, #1728, folio 3r)
- "Gules a lion argent crowned or", for Boury (Antoing) (Die Here v. Bury, #406, folio 49r)
- "Quarterly; 1 and 4, azure nine bezants a chief of the same (Melun) a merlette sable in canton; 2 and 3, gules a lion argent (Antoing)", for Hugh de Melun, lord of Antoing (H. Hue de Melluun, #456, folio 51r)
- "Quarterly; 1 and 4, azure nine bezants a chief of the same (Melun); 2 and 3 gules a lion argent (Antoing)", for Hugg de Melun, lord of Antoing (H. Hue de Melluun, #456, folio 51r) and for Hugh de Melun, lord of Antoing Die He. v. Antoengen, #1014, folio 83r)
- "Gules a lion argent (Antoing) a label azure", for Alard III d'Antoing, Lord de Briffœil (Die He. v. Briffœl, #1060, folio 84v)
- "Gules a lion argent", for Henry, Lord of Antoing (H. Henric v. Antoenge, #1072, folio 85r).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 May 2007

Flag over the castle of Antoing

[Ligne banner of arms]

Ligne flag over the castle of Antoing - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 May 2010

The present-day castle of Antoing dates from the 13th (outer walls) and 15th centuries (fortified gate, barbican and donjon) and was redesigned in Neo-Gothic style by the French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879).
Transferred in the 16th century to the family of Ligne, the castle is still inhabited by the family; a photo taken on 10 September 2007 by Astrid Lafalize shows the banner of the arms of Ligne, a yellow flag with a red descending diagonal, hoisted over the entrance of the castle.

The Gelre Armorial shows "Or a bend gules" for Michel of Ligne (Die Here v. Lynge, #1729, folio 3r) and for Michel III, Lord of Ligne (Die He. van Lynge, #1023, folio 83v).
The arms of Ligne are the source of two Belgian municipal flags, Belœil and Brunehaut via the arms of the former municipality of Laplaigne.

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2010

Péronnes Yacht Club

Péronnes Yacht Club (PYC), based on the artificial lake Grand Large de Péronnes, was founded in 1999. The club is not only active in sailing but member of a tennis league as well.

The burgee of PYC, as shown on a photography (no longer online), is horizontally divided blue-yellow, bearing the club logotype in the hoist and, probably, the words PERONNES and YACHT CLUB on the respective fields, in counterchanged colours.

Jan Mertens, 1 March 2007

Tournai Yacht Club

Tournai Yacht Club (TYC) was founded in 1962 to enjoy the Grand Large de Péronnes. Given its geographic position, half of its members hail from nearby France.

The burgee of TYC is red with blue triangles placed near the hoist, a white tower in the fly and the white letters TYC placed vertically near the hoist, the V in the red triangle. The tower represents Tournai, as well as the colours of the burgee, comes from the municipal cota of arms.

Source: TYC website

Jan Mertens, 13 February 2007