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Enghien (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)


Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: enghien | edingen | crosses: 15 (yellow) | crosses: crosslet (yellow) |
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[Flag of Enghien]

Municipal flag of Enghien - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 26 May 2005

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Presentation of Enghien

The municipality and town (Ville) of Enghien (in Dutch, Edingen; 12,294 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,057 ha) is located in northern Hainaut, 30 km south-west of Brussels, on the border with Flemish Brabant. The municipality of Enghien is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Enghien, Marcq and Petit-Enghien.

The village of Petit-Enghien is older than the town of Enghien and its area is 20 times bigger as the area of the town. It was known in the past as Vetus Aenghien (Old Enghien, 1114) and Enghien-le-Château (Enghien-the-Castle, 1167).
The town of Enghien sensu stricto was founded by Englebert d'Enghien in the XIth century. It was an important fortified town in the beginning of the XIIIth century, later used as a pleasure residence by the families of Luxembourg and Bourbon. Its most famous owner was King of France Henri IV, who neglected the town and sold the domain to the Arenberg family in 1607.

In the XVth century, Pierre de Luxembourg laid out the forest bordering his castle and designed a park. In 1630, the family of Arenberg created the famous park of Enghien, which was achieved in 1665 under the gudiance of Father Charles de Brussels, né Antoine d'Arenberg. A legend says that the young engraver Romeyn de Hooghe was able to draw all the landscapes of the park within seven days in 1666. It was said that the view on the gardens from the Seven Stars' Pavilion, built in 1656, was "one of the most beautiful in the world".
In the beginning of the XXth century, the domain and its ruined park were purchased by the industrial and banker François Empain. He built a neo-classical castle and housed there his collection of bronze and stone statues, including Le Dénicheur d'aigles by Jef Lambeau and Diane, déesse de la chasse by Houdon.
In 1986, the municipality of Enghien bought the park and revamped it. Among the gardens to be visited are the Flowers' Garden (in Italian Renaissance style), the Dahlia Garden (today the European Dahlia Reference Collection), the Rose Garden and the Aquatic Garden.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 21 June 2007

Municipal flag of Enghien

The municipal flag of Enghien (Belgium) is nearly square (13:15), with a gyronny of ten white and black pieces. In each black piece, there are three yellow crosses crosslet on the three top arms.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 18 June 1992 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 3 May 1993.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The municipal arms of Enghien are Gironné blanc et noir de dix pièces, chaque pièce noire chargée de trois croisettes recroisettées au pied fiché de jaune, ce pied dirigé vers le centre du tablier.
According to the Hainaut Armorial, available on the Heraldus website, the municipal arms of Enghien were granted by Royal Decree on 17 November 1838. These arms were used by several former municipalities in Hainaut:
- Bassily (incorporated to Silly in 1976): arms of Enghien granted by Royal Decree on 19 August 1911;
- Ecaussines-d'Enghien (incorporated to Ecaussines in 1976): escutcheon of Enghien on the arms granted by Royal Decree on 24 April 1912;
- Marcq (incorporated into Enghien in 1976) arms of Enghien granted by Royal Decree on 17 November 1838;
- Petit-Enghien (incorporated to Enghien in 1976): arms of Enghien granted by Royal Decree on 25 February 1924;
- Solre-sur-Sambre (incorporated to Erquelinnes in 1976): fourth quarter of the arms of Enghien on the arms granted by Royal Decree on 11 January 1927.
They are currently used as the municipal arms of Pepingen (Brabant) and shown on the matching municipal flag.

These arms are the arms of the lords of Enghien, once a powerful lineage challenging with the Duke of Brabant and the Count of Hainaut, as explained on the Heraldus website.
The legendary origin of Enghien states that lord Engle, from Charlemagne's court, was commissioned to exile Saxons in Flanders around 800; this explains the local toponyms of Enghien, Herfelinghe, Bellinghe etc... We know, however, that the -inghe or ingen suffixes are form the Germanic root *haima, "an estate". Enghien was indeed known as Aingham (956), Adenghien (1092), Adengen (1147), Anglien (1163) and Adenghem (1185), therefore, "Ado's estate" or "Aha's sons' estate", or even "Odin's estate". The first lord of Enghien known with some certainty is Hugues d'Enghien, mentioned in 1121; in 1167, he built a fortress that housed a Brabantian garrison and was suppressed by Count Baudouin V of Hainaut, a few years before the incorporation of Brabant to Hainaut. Hugues bore "Argent and sable of ten pieces ieronnez, moult richement eslevés et dedans chaque pièce de sable furent semées croisettes d'or recroisetées (gyronny in each piece sable a "semy" of crosses crosslet or)".
Hugues died in 1183; it is not known whether his elder son Gossuin succeeded him, but there is evidence that his second son Engelbert was lord of Enghien (and therefore considered as the second of the lineage). Engelbert started to rebuild the castle and rallied the Duke of Leuven, then at war with the Count of Hainaut. However, he was forced to give back the castle to Hainaut. He died in 1245 and was succeeded by his son Siger (Soyer / Zeger), who married a heir of the powerful family of Avesnes, therefore increasing significantly the domain of Enghien.
In 1254, the lord of Enghien refused to acknowledge the suzereignty of Charles d'Anjou, brother of King of France Saint-Louis, to whom Marguerite de Constantinople had transferred Hainaut. Charles besieged Enghien, to no avail. In 1261, Siger was succeeded by his son Walter (Wauthier), who increased the castle during a period of peace; in 1267, he signed the peace convention of Cortenberg, stating the reconciliation of the town of Leuven and the Duchess of Brabant. Walter II succeeded his father in 1290, purchased the domain of Grimengh (Grimbergen) in 1309 and died the next year.
Walter III, nominal lord until 1316, supported King of England Edward III against King of Scotland Robert Bruce; he was invited to the festival inaugurating the Order of the Garter in 1343. Siger II succeeded his father in 1346 and inherited in 1358 of the titles of her mother, that is Count of Brienne, Duke of Athens and Count of Conversano. Siger was Constable of France and was always in trouble with the Counts of Flanders and Hainaut; in 1366, Albert of Bavaria, Regent of Hainaut, captured nightly Siger in the castle of Baisieux, near Quiévrain. Siger was transfered to Le Quesnoy and beheaded on 21 March 1366. The murder launched a civil war that ruined Hainaut.
Walter IV succeeded his father and was dubbed knight in 1379; in 1380, commanding 300 lancers, he expelled the Ghent militia that had seized the abbey of Ename. Killed in 1381, Walter was succeeded by his uncle Louis, who had only daughters and emigrated to Italy to help the Count of Anjou to seize the Kingdom of Naples. The domain of Enghien was transferred to Jean de Luxembourg, Louis' son-in-law, and then successively to the families of Clèves, Nassau, Bourbon and Arenberg.

The Bourbons kept the title of Enghien and had it augmented into that of Duke. Several Bourbons such as the Great Condé were styled "Duke of Enghien".
The most famous Duke of Enghien, Louis-Antoine Henri de Bourbon -Condé (1772-1804), was the son of Louis-Joseph, Prince of Condé. Bonaparte ordered his capture in Germany and Enghien was shot in the ditches of the fortress of Vincennes after another mock trial. Bonaparte's idea was to suppress any hope of Bourbonic restoration, but the assassination of Enghien was immediately percieved as a huge political mistake.
A few centuries earlier, Duke Henry II of Montmorency revolted with the serial plotter Gaston d'Orléans against Richelieu; the plot failed, Montmorency was executed in 1632 and his Duchy was transferred to the Condé. Louis XIV decided to rename the Duchy of Montmorency, located north of Paris, Duchy of Enghien (to complicate the matter, there are still two different, neighbouring towns called Montmorency and Enghien!). The change of the name was not popular; in 1688, Madame de Sévigné wrote to his cousin Bussy-Rabutin: "Therefore we should call the cherries of Montmorency the cherries of Enghien [...) Cousin, I wouldn't get used to that". Therapeutic waters were found in 1773 and the village of Enghien-les-Bains started to develop in 1821 with the building of a spa. Enghien became a municipality in 1850 and is today a posh town, with a lake (hardly visible because of the wealthy houses built on its shore), a horse race track and a casino.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 21 June 2007