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Braives (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

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

Municipal flag of Braives - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 23 March 2006

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Presentation of Braives and its villages

The municipality of Braives (5,619 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,402 ha) is located in the region of Hesbaye, 35 km west of Liège and 25 km north-east of Namur. The municipality of Braives is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Avennes, Braives, Ciplet, Fallais, Fumal, Latinne, Tourinne and Ville-en-Hesbaye. All the villages are located in the valley of Mehaigne, except Tourinne, which is located on the plateau of Hesbaye and the valley of Geer.
On 28 February 1991, the municipalities of Braives, Burdinne, Wanze and Héron constituted the Parc Naturel des Vallées de la Burdinale et de la Mehaigne (c. 11,000 ha). Most of the territory of Braives (83%) is dedicated to agriculture (crops and pastures).

Several prehistoric remains were found in Braives and mostly in Latinne, where the place called "Aux Golettes" was carefully excavated. In the Neolithic, new populations coming from Eastern Europe settled in Hesbaye between the valleys of Mehaigne and Geer. They founded several villages, found in the XIXth century in Omal, Latinne and Tourinne, and were called "Omaliens". Around 4400 BC, Avennes became an important center of flint extraction. Around 700 BC, new settlers coming from Bavaria brought iron technology; dozen of pits, of non-funerary use and filled with ceramic artefacts, were found in Pitet, Fumal and Avennes.
Remains of Gallo-Roman villae from the IInd centuries have been detected in Latinne, Brivioulle, Ville-en-Hesbaye and Ciplet. A defensive wall was built at the end of the IIIrd century and increased in the IVth century, as a part of Emperor Constantine's strategy against the German invaders. Massive invasions started in 406 and lasted all along the Vth century. At the end of that century, agriculture resumed and new villages were founded, which are the nuclei of the present villages.

Braives is the administrative center of the municipality. It is a grouped village without a well-defined shape. It includes the hamlet of Brivioulle and the Republic of Trou Potier, self-proclaimed in 1973. The St. Donat's chapel was built in 1790 by a farmer of Val-Notre-Dame, Louis Dethienne, whose daughter was abducted by two Austrian soldiers and miraculously saved by thunder.

Avennes is a rectilinear village that developed around an old fortified square farm. In the XIXth century, a new borough was created west of the main street. In the north, an isolated borough was created around the ancient railway station. The neo-Romanesque St. Martin's church was built in 1905 by Auguste Van Assche. Nothing was kept from the former, XIIth-century church but a few capitals and the Mosan baptism tank dated 1609.
The tumulus of Avennes is one of the oldest excavated in Belgium. It is dated to the Flavian emperors and yielded crockery, a folding seat, a candelabra and a coin showing Vespasian, all shown in the Curtius Museum in Liège.
Avennes was located on the border between the Duchy of Brabant and the Principality of Liège. None of the milestones limiting feudal domains and pastures has been kept until now.

Ciplet is a scattered village, built on the right bank of the Mehaigne (but quite far away from the river to avoid flooding). The croix d'occis (dead's cross) built in 1895 near the village church recalls Baronness de Potesta de Waleffe, killed in a car accident.

Fallais is a rectangular village built on the north-eastern hillside of the valley of Mehaigne. The castle of Fallais was built in the XIth century by the Beaufort family. It is a rectangular fortress protected by circular angle towers added in the XIVth century. In 1465, the burghers of Liège, allied with Louis XI, seized the castle; Charles le Téméraire seized back the castle in December. There he abolished the privileges of Liège and prepared the looting of the town. During his stay from 3 to 9 July 1675, Louis XIV ordered the destruction of the so-called Burgundy Tower and the Grignard Tower in order to avenge the affront made to his ancestor Louis XI.
The hamlet of Pitet, located on Mont Saint-Sauveur hillock, was until 1793 the place of the jet de la poire (the pear's throwing). A fiery young man from Pitet threw two pears from the top of the hillock, one towards the Robert wood and one towards the brook that limited the domains of Fallais and Fumal. The places were the pears landed were the new limits of the two domains. There is also in Pilet a volcanic rock outcrop, something exceptional in Belgium and nicknamed Typhon de Pilet by the geologist Dumont.

Fumal is a star-shaped village surrounded by woods and built on the two banks of the Mehaigne.

Latinne is a rectiliinear village built on the hillside of the Mehaigne. The St. Désiré church was built in the XVI-XIXth century on the site of a Roman sanctuary. The St. Maur chapel was built near a Merovingian necropolis. The Belle-Thérèse farm was portrayed by Hubert Krains in his novel Le Pain Noir (The Black Bread).
The hamlet of Hosdent has remained isolated from Latinne until now.

Tourinne, grouped around its church in the middle of the fields, is the smallest and least inhabited village of the municipality of Braives.

Ville-en-Hesbaye is a triangular village built on the right bank of the Mehaigne. The Rose farm was a dependency of the abbey of Salzinne; its big barn was built in 1763 by Dame Ange Rosard, Abbess of Salzinne.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 23 March 2006

Municipal flag of Braives

The municipal flag of Braives is red with a white fortress in the middle.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 24 April 2002 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 15 July 2003, with the following description:
Rouge chargé au centre du château fort de l'écu.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 23 March 2006