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Ramillies (Municipality, Province of Walloon Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Ramillies

The municipality of Ramillies (5,856 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,868 ha) is located in the region of Hesbaye, in south-eastern Brabant, 15 km north of Namur. The municipality of Ramillies is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Ramillies-Offus, Autre-Eglise, Bornal, Geest-Gérompont-Petit-Rosière, Grand-Rosière-Hottomont, Huppaye and Mont-Saint-André.
Ramillies-Offus is twinned with the French municipality of Ramillies, located near Cambrai in the north of France.

On 22 May 1706, during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Battle of Ramillies opposed the French army, commanded by Marshal of Villeroy (70 infantry battalions, 132 cavalry squadrons, 60,000 men and 70 cannons) to the Allies (Brits, Dutch, Germans and Imperials), commanded by Duke of Marlborough (74 infantry battalions, 123 cavalry squadrons, 62,000 men and 120 cannons). Marlborough expected a decisive victory while Louis XIV expected to restore his prestige after the defeat of Blenheim (13 August 1704).
While the French stood on the heights of the battlefield, Marlborough ordered a diversion attack on the left wing of the French troops. Villeroy threw a lot of men against the assaulters, withdrawing units from its right wing. Marlborough then sent the main attack against that wing, which could not resist too long and collapsed. The final, general attack completely desorganized the French army, which had no other solution but withdrawing in great disorder.
The French lost 8,000 soldiers (killed or injured) while another 7,000 and 50 cannons were captured. The Allies lost "only" 1,066 (killed or injured) while another 3,633 were captured.
When building the railway between Tamines and Landen in 1862, the Scottish public ocntractor insisted to have the line crossing the municipality of Ramillies and a station built there, later named "Croix de Hesbaye".
The new municipality formed in 1976 was also named Ramillies, even if its administrative seat is located at Gérompont.

There was also a famous Ramillies wig. Quoting a defunct website:

In Europe in the year 1706 the Battle of Ramillies was fought between the French and the English. The soldiery, with the evident intention of freeing themselves of the cumbersome full wigs, are said to have plaited them in a queue. They then placed a black tie at the top, also one at the bottom of the plait. This wig was known as the Ramillies wig. It had quite a vogue in Europe, and soon, due to its comfort and popularity, found its way into the colonies. The Ramillies wig, which must have appeared in America as early as 1706 or 1707, is one of the earliest forms of the plaited queue. The queue was tied with a fair sized bow at the nape of the neck, while the end of the plait was tied with a smaller one.

More on the Battle of Ramillies and its historical context can be read in the Thesis defended by Clément Oury in 2005 at Ecoles des Chartes, entitled Blenheim, Ramillies, Audenarde. Les défaites françaises de la guerre de Succession d'Espagne (1704-1708).
The Ramillies 1706 website shows several photographies of the reenaction of the battle from 27-28 May 2006, with some flags:
- a Scottish colour, with the saltire and the thistle;
- a French colour, blue with a white cross and a yellow fleur-de-lis placed diagonally in each quarter;
- the same flag, rectangular instead of square;
- a French colour, quartered blue (or green) and yellow by a white cross
- a St. George's Cross flag.

The battleship HMS Ramillies (1917-1949) was named after the battle of Ramillies.

Ivan Sache, 11 October 2007

Municipal flag of Ramillies

The municipal flag of Ramillies is horizontally divided by a wavy stripe, the upper half horizontally divided yellow-black and the lower half white.
Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones describes the flag as Divisé longitudinalement par un trait ondé, la partie supérieure redivisée jaune sur noir, la partie inférieure blanche and states that "the flag combines the colours and the geometry of the municipal coat of arms".

The arms of Ramillies are Coupé ondé, au premier de sable au lion naissant d'or, armé et lampassé de gueules, au deuxième d'argent à deux épées de gueules garnies d'or passées en sautoir ("Per fess wavy; first, sable a lion issuant or armed and langued gules; second, argent two swords gules garnished or crossed per saltire").

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 11 October 2007