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Faimes (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2014-01-12 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Faimes and its villages

The municipality of Faimes (3,541 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 2,848 ha) is located in Hesbaye. The municipality of Faimes was formed in 1970 by the merging of the former municipalities of Borlez, Celles (including the village of Faimes, see below) and Les Waleffes. The former municipalities of Aineffe and Viemmes were incorporated to Faimes in 1976.

Celles is made of the four villages of Celles, Saives, Faimes and Termogne; in 1970, the new municipality was named after the village of Faimes, which had never been a municipality. All the villages were located east of the Roman way Bavay-Cologne and near the ancient road to Liège. Celles belonged to Count Arnould de Valenciennes, who bequeathed it to Bishop of Liège Baldéric, who himself transferred it to the St. James abbey in Liège. In 1623, the domain of Celles, including Saives, Sainte-Anne, Labia and Termogne, was transferred to Jan van den Steen. Faimes belonged once to the local family "de Ferme", who built a donjon watching the village. The patron saint of Celles is St. Madelberte, whose cult is not common in the region. The legend says that the convey transferring a relic of the saint from Maubeuge to the St. Lambert cathedral in Liège stopped in Celles, whose church was given the name of the saint. St. Madelberte (d. 705) was the daughter of St. Waudru, Abbess of Mons, and the sister of St. Adeltrude and of St. Landry, Bishop of Meaux.

Aineffe, often mistaken for Haneffe (today in the municipality of Donceel), probably belonged to the County of Moha before its incorporation into the Principality of Liège. The St. Sulpice chapel, which still shows Romanesque parts from the XIth century, was never upgraded to a church and always depended on the parish of Borlez. Aineffe has alwyas been a rural village with no industry.

Borlez was in the Middle Ages a "mother parish", ruling the neighbouring villages of Aineffe, Chapon-Seraing and Vaux-et-Borset. The parish itself depended on the St. Lawrence abbey in Liège, whereas the domain was under the direct rule of the Prince-Bishop of Liège. In 1619, it was transferred to Heman de Lierneux, and then to Baron van den Steen in 1764. Borlez was also a rural village, the main productions being grains and sugar beets. In the beginning of the XXth century, the village still had a pond in the middle of its square.

Les Waleffes is made of the two ancient villages of Waleffe-Saint-Pierre and Waleffe-Saint-Georges. In the past, they belonged to different lords: Waleffe-Saint-Pierre belonged to the Prince-Bishop of Liège whereas Waleffe-Saint-Georges belonged to the Prince-Abbot of Stavelot. The latter domain was eventually transferred in 1807 to the de Potesta, who built the beautiful castle still there. In 1339, the village had a mill grinding the plants used in dyeing in the cloth-producing towns. In the XIXth century, the village experienced a limited industrialization, with two breweries; in 1896, it had 17 sewing workshops and a weaver.
Les Waleffes is the birth place of the writer Hubert Krains (1862-1934). After having spent his youth in his poor birth village, Krains started his professional life as a post-office clark. He was later appointed Secretary of the Universal Postal Union (1895-1911) and Director General of the Belgian Posts (1925-1928) but never forgot his early years. His novels are lively documents on the rural life at the turn of the XIXth and XXth centuries. The young writer published his first tales in the symbolist review La Wallonie and was encouraged by the famous writer Mockel to carry on writing; another famous writer, Georges Eekhoud, advised him to read the Anglo-Saxon and Russian writers, and the two novelists founded the review Le Coq Rouge in 1895. Krains moved to Bern for his job at the UPU; far from his homeland and feeling "exiled", he published his best works, such as Le pain noir (The black bread, 1904). He published several articles in international reviews and encouraged beginners. Back to Belgium in 1911, he experienced the war and the infuriating linguistic quarrel between the Walloons and the Flemings. After the war, Krains was nationally recognized as a novelist and critique; he chaired the Association of the Belgian Writers from 1918 to 1934 and was elected at the Royal Academy of French Language and Literature, but refused to preside it. The end of his life was rather sad since he was progressively forgotten; his last two books were commercial failures. Krains died crushed by a train in a Brussels station (as did the inn-keeper Jean Leduc in Le pain noir, after having been ruined by the set up of the railway).

Viemme belonged in the Middle Ages to the Notre-Dame chapter in Huy. It was a rural village with spelt as the main crop. It developed around eight big farms built along the Huy-Waremme road, which also had an inn used as a post house. Viemme had once a wind mill, two breweries and an oil mill powered by eight horses. In 1896, a sugar beet grating workshop employed 112 workers.


Ivan Sache, 2 July 2007

Municipal flag of Faimes

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03],, there is no municipal flag used in Faimes.

Pascal Vagnat, 2 July 2007