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La Bruyère (Municipality, Province of Namur, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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[Flag of La Bruyere]

Municipal flag of La Bruyère - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 17 September 2005

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Presentation of La Bruyère and its villages

The municipality of La Bruyère (8,379 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,298 ha) is a rural municipality located between the urban areas of Namur and Gembloux, in the region of Hesbaye namuroise (Hesbaye in Wallonia becomes Haspengouw in Flanders). The municipality of La Bruyère was formed in 1976 by the merging of the former municipalities of Bovesse, Émines, Meux, Rhisnes, Saint-Denis, Villers-lez-Heest and Warisoulx.
The name of the municipality (lit., The Heather, from Latin brucaria and brucus, maybe from Gaulish *bruko) refers to the former Commanderie of the Order of the Temple, which was located on the site of the present farm of La Bruyère, in the village of Saint-Denis. When Philippe le Bel suppressed the Order, its goods were transferred to the Hospitalier Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The domain of La Bruyère was inhabited until his death by Count Capelle, private secretary of King of the Belgians Léopold III.

Bovesse (906 inh., 465 ha) is the smallest of the villages forming La Bruyère; however, the biggest industry of the municipality, the joiner's workshop Balau is located in Bovesse.

Émines (1,395 inh.) is one of the biggest villages forming La Bruyère but its houses are very scattered. In the Middle Ages, the village was divided into three domains, Saint-Martin-Huglisse, Huy-la-Planche and Émines. In the middle of the XIXth century, Émines was known for its quarries of black marble and sandstone and its lead and iron mine. The name of the village might come from Latin Ex mina, "out of the mines"; iron mines located near Frizet have been known for centuries but were fully exploited only in the XVIIth century. The patron saint of the village is St. Lambert, who is said to have blessed the village fountain.

Meux (1,637 inh.; 1,218 ha) is the biggest of the villages constituting La Bruyère. The origin of the name of the village is controversial: some say that Meux comes form low Latin meulis, "a millstone" or "a mill", whereas other claim it comes from a Germanic word meaning "a marsh". The lowlands of Meux were indeed made of marshy areas watered by brooks, which were drained long time ago. In 1830, a great part of the municipal forest (100 ha) was used for the production of charcoal. Black marks on the soil are the only remains of this activity.

Rhisnes (1,881 inh.) is the administrative center of the municipality of La Bruyère. The village is located close to Namur and is the most industrialized of the municipality, with a business park housing big companies such as Kraft, Siemens and Ciger, now incorporated into the Greater Namur.

Saint-Denis (1,107 inh.; 901 ha) is located 10 km from Gembloux. The river Mehaigne has its source there near the hamlet of La Spaumerie. Saint-Denis was known in 805 as Villare Sancti Dionysii and its inhabitants are still called Dionésiens. The village is made of two parts separated by a three-curve road.
The Roman tower of the church of Saint-Denis is one of the oldest buildings in La Bruyère. It was built in the beginning of the XIth century as a shelter for the population in wartime.

Villers-lez-Heest (451 ha; 417 ha) is the second smallest of the villages constituting La Bruyère. It is a typical street-village with most houses lined along the provincial road Namur-Perwez. The name -lez-Heest most probably refers to a beech (hastria; in French, hêtre). Villers-lez-Heest seceded from Warisoulx in 1887. The castle of Villers, built in the XVIIIth century in classical style, belongs to the family de Pitteurs de Buddingen.

Warisoulx (627 inh.; 595 ha) is located off the center of the municipality of La Bruyère; it was initially not planned to incorporate Warisoulx in La Bruyère. The river Houyoux has its source in Warisoulx, whose name refers to marshy places used for cattle grazing. There is also a hamlet called Warichet in Meux.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 17 September 2005

Municipal flag of La Bruyère

The municipal flag of La Bruyère is diagonally divided, per bend sinister, yellow on green.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag is similar to the proposal made by the Heradlry and Vexillology Council of the French Community, Taillé jaune à la hampe, vert au large.
The flag is based on the municipal arms of La Bruyère, De sinople au château-ferme de La Bruyère d'argent, chapé d'or à deux branches (ou brins) de bruyère au naturel.
The branches de bruyère are canting twigs of heather.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2005