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Jodoigne (Municipality, Province of Walloon Brabant, Belgium)


Last modified: 2011-05-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: jodoigne | geldenaken | castle (red) |
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[Flag of Jodoigne]         [Flag of Jodoigne]

Municipal flag of Jodoigne - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 4 August 2007
Left, flag in use
Right, flag proposal, not used

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Presentation of Jodoigne and its villages

The municipality of Jodoigne (in Dutch, Geldenaken; 12,644 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,331 ha) is located 45 km east of Brussels. The municipality of Jodoigne is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Jodoigne, Dongelberg, Jauchelette, Jodoigne-Souveraine (in Dutch, Opgeldenaken), Lathuy, Mélin (Malen), Piétrain (Petrem), Saint-Jean-Geest (Sint-Jans-Geest), Saint-Remy-Geest (Sint-Remigius-Geest) and Zétrud-Lumay (Zittert-Lummen).

Jodoigne was already settled in the Neolithic; the site of the Bombard Wood seems to have been settled by a late Neolithic tribe of hunters and fishers also able to grow crops, breed animals, weave and make pottery. There are several Gallo-Roman remains on the municipal territory, not systematically excavated yet. Villae from the 2nd-3rd centuries AD were found in Bronne and Sainte-Marie-Geest. Close to the Tree's Chapel, aerial photographies have revealed three lined concentric circles, msot probably levelled tumuli. On the place called Chasselon, remains of a fortification (explaining the place name via the Latin name castellum) from the 2nd century were found near an old road later called the Monks' Path. The name of Jodoigne seems to be of Gallo-Roman origin: J. Ruelens has related it to the Geidumii tribe, mentioned by Caesar, while R. Hanon has related it to a landlord called Geldo.
There is neither a single archeological artifact or a written mention of Jodoigne during the Frankish and Carolingian periods. Jodoigne reemerged in the history in the 12th century as the center of a feudal domain that had grown up around a castle built by Gilles of Duras, the St. Médard church and a small agricultural market. In 1184, Duke of Brabant Henri I incorporated Jodoigne to his state and founded, north of the old village, a new town (villa nova), organized according to a geometric pattern around the ducal's castle and protected by a wall and three gates. Quickly settled, the new town was listed among the nine towns of the Duchy of Brabant in 1194; a new hall was built in 1234, followed by a grain hall in 1278. The town was known as Geldonia Forii, Jodoigne-the-Market, as soon as the end of the 12th century. While the 1211 chart was most probably granted to the old village of Jodoigne, the new town was granted its own franchises before 1217. In 1288, the militia from Jodoigne helped Duke of Brabant Jean I to defeat the Duke of Limburg and the Archbishop of Cologne in the famous battle of Woeringen.
In the 14th century, clothing industry even increased the wealth of Jodoigne. At the end of the century, Jodoigne, with 1,300-1,500 inhabitants, was the second biggest town in Brabant after Nivelles. Like most other towns in Belgium, Jodoigne was severely damaged during the 16-18th centuries. A thunderstorm wiped out the St. Médard borough in 1561, while the church and the whole town were burned down by the Prince of Orange in 1568 and 1578, respectively. The Dutch plundered again the town in 1588 and 1635 and besieged it in 1638, while the withdrawing Spaniards destroyed the Market's chapel in 1632. The black plague hit Jodoigne in 1597, 1632 and mostly 1668, when 154 were killed, that is 10% of the population. In 1624, nine "witches" were burned at the stake, which was the base of the legend of the Gadale and the nickname of "Gadale Town" given to Jodoigne. In 1658, the King of Spain granted the domain of Jodoigne to Philip of Ligne, Duke of Aarschot and Aremberg, succeeded in 1664 by Count Winant of Glimes, in 1700 by Marquis Louis de Borgia de Tarazena, Governor of Antwerp and Philip of Ligne's nephew, and in 1729 by Count of Romrée.
In 1798, the region of Jodoigne was an important center of the farmers' revolt against the French rulers known as the Boerenkrijg. Led by Antoine Constant, aka Constant de Roux-Miroir, the insurgents seized Jodoigne two times, in October and November 1798, respectively.

Dongelberg is built on a hillside (in Dutch, berg) of the valley of Orbais. "Dongel-" was probably derived from the Dutch donkel or the German dunkel, "dark". The chart setting up the chapter of Incourt, dated 1036, lists Incourt and Brombais as parts of the comitatus of Dongelberg, probably an early subdivision of the County of Leuven rather than a genuine feudal domain. Dongelberg was later a feudal domain, with a castle mentioned in 1495 but already ruined in 1659 and rebuilt in the 19th century by Baron Osy.
Dongelberg is the birth village of Guillaume of Dongelberg (d. 1242), a Cistercian monk elected Abbot of Villers and later Abbot of Clairvaux in 1236/1237. When Abbot of Villers, Guillaume ordered the foundations of the two daughter abbeys of Grandpré in the County of Namur and Saint-Bernard near Antwerp.

Jauchelette, lit. "The Smaller Jauche" ("Petit-Jauche"), received its name as opposed to Jauche (today part of the municipality of Orp-Jauche), aka "The Greater Jauche" ("Grand Jauche"). Jauchelette might indeed have been founded by the lords of Jauche; later, the village was transferred to the abbey of Nivelles. Abbess Helewide, the daughter of lord Gérard of Jauche, founded the Cistercian abbey of La Ramée in the beginning of the 13th century; the monastery was settled by nuns who had left the convent of Kerckom, founded near Tienen in 1207 but abandoned because of the poor soil. In 1216, the body of Gérard de Jauche, who had died during the Crusade, was brought back to La Ramée. In 1568, a violent battle opposed in Jauchelette the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Alva; the Spaniards won but several houses of the village were burned down.

Jodoigne-Souveraine is located upstream from Jodoigne, therefore its name, souveraine meaning here not "sovereign" but "upper" (supérieure). During the French Revolution, the name of the village was changed to Jodoigne-la-Libre. In the Middle Ages, the village was shared between the Duchy of Brabant and the domain of Jauche. It was the home of two important families, the Jodoigne and the Glimes.
The Jodoigne emerged in the 13th century as a lineage related to the Dukes of Brabant. Arnoul of Jodoigne signed the treaty of alliance of the bastards of Brabant in Tervuren in 1403. Abraham of Jodoigne fought in the battle of Woeringen in 1288; in 1294, Walter of Jodoigne "The Crossbowman" was listed among the direct vassals of Duke of Brabant Jean II. One of his grand-sons sold his domain to Jacques of Glimes. Engelbert of Jodoigne, the last member of the lineage, was commissionned by Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold to perceive the fine imposed to the revolted inhabitants of Liège; he revolted later against Maximilian of Austria and was Captain of the garrison of Tienen in 1488-1489.
Jacques of Glimes, Bailiff of Jodoigne from 1464 to 1466, fought against Liège in the army commanded by the Duke of Nassau. After his death in 1482, his son Jacques of Glimes Jr. inherited his domains and offices; he was appointed Bailiff of Nivelles and Walloon Brabant from 1470 to 1498. His son Jacques of Glimes III revolted against the Spanish rule and was appointed chief of the Brabant infantry formed by Guillaume of Hornes. On 4 September 1576, he entered Brussels with 300 armed soldiers and arrested the members of the State Council appointed by the King of Spain. Defeated in the battle of Viessenaeken, he lost popular support and rallied Spain; the Prince of Parma appointed him Governor of Nivelles. In 1638, the Dutch attempted to seize Jodoigne but were repelled by the burghers commanded by Winant and Jacques of Glimes. On 22 December 1643, Emperor Ferdinand III erected Winand Hereditary Count of Glimes, of Hollebeke and of the Holy Roman Empire.

Lathuy, known as Latuwit around 1075, might have meant in Germanic "the manager (laet)'s hamlet" (wyc, derived from Latin vicus). Most of the village belonged to abbeys and chapters, which were in permanent conflict with the Duke of Brabant for the local sovereignty. In 1794, General Beaulieu, born in Lathuy and serving Austria, had his castle of Brocuy plundered by patriots; short after, the castle was completely burned, probably upon order of the French General Dubois, who had been expelled from Bouillon by Beaulieu the year before.

Mélin might have got its name from an old justice court (mallum) but old written forms of the name of the village, such as Meylen, do not support this hypothesis. A Merovingian tomb was found in 1834 on the hillside of Gobertange. In the 13th century, the village belonged to Brabant. In 1284, Duke Jean I founded the domain of Mélin for Gérard de Luxembourg, lord of Durbuy. The domain of Mélin was once considered as one of the richest in the Low Countries. In 1568, the domain was placed on hold by Duke of Alva since lord Thierry Bouton had joined the rebellion against the Spanish rule. The village was plundered in 1568 by the Prince of Orange and completely destroyed by Louis XIV's troops in 1689.

Piétrain has the same etymology as Piétrebais (incorporated into Incourt in 1976), "a poor (in French, piètre still means "mediocre") settlement". In the 13th century, Piétrain belonged to the Barony of Jauche. Herbais and Piétremeau, incorporated into the municipality of Piétrain in 1794, depended directly on the Duke of Brabant.
Piétrain has given its name to a pig bred in the village around 1920, famous for its impressive set of muscles (culard type, with a meat yield representing 80% of the total weight of the animal). Nearly extincted after the Second World War, the Piétrain reemerged in the 1950s; it constitutes today 25% of the Belgian pigs and is widely bred in the north of France. The Piétrain herd-book was set up in 1963. It is often crossed with other pigs, such as the Large White and the Landrace Belge.

Saint-Jean-Geest was already mentioned as Geest-Saint-Jean in 1138; for long, it has been simply known as Jean Geest. The neighbouring village of Sainte-Marie-Geest was incorporated into the municipality of Geest-Saint-Jean by Imperial Decree in 1811. Geest is the Dutch name of the river Gette, whose Walloon name is Jauche. Until the 13th century, the three villages (Saint-Jean, Sainte-Marie and Saint-Remy) were simply named Geest.

Saint-Remy-Geest belonged in 1034 to the County of Leuven and was later granted a franchise by a Duke of Brabant, probably Henri I. In the 17th century, the village became an independent domain and the lords were locally known as the Counts of Saint-Remy.

Zétrud-Lumay was once a disputed enclave of the County of Namur within the Duchy of Brabant. The northern border of the former municipality is the linguistic border between French and Dutch. The lords of Zétrud were powerful: René of Zétrud founded in the beginning of the 12th century the abbey of Heylissem, while his brother Gérard was Abbot of Florennes and joined later the Cistercian order. At the end of the 12th century, Zétrud-Lumay was eventually recognized as a part of Brabant. However, on 5 February 1785, the Governor General of the Low Countries decreed that Zétrud-Lumay should be ran only by the Council of Namur; the Magistrate of Leuven was forbidden to exercize any jurisdiction on the village. In 1786, there was a big dispute between the lord and the villagers, who sent their cows grazing the Broeck pastures, in spite of the lord's ban. The quarrel was solved only on 9 June 1791.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 4 August 2007

Municipal flag of Jodoigne

The municipal flag of Jodoigne is vertically divided black-yellow.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], this is the traditional flag of the town, using the colours of Brabant.

The Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community proposed to add in the middle of the flag a red castle, as shown on a municipal seal dated 1224. The municipal administration has confirmed they have retained the simple flag, as can be seen on a photography of the town hall shown on the municipal website.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 August 2007