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Soumagne (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Soumagne and its villages

The municipality of Soumagne (15,562 inhabitants; 2,714 ha) is located east of Liège. The municipality of Soumagne is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Soumagne, Ayeneux, Cerexhe-Heuseux, Évegnée-Tignée, Melen and Micheroux.

Soumagne was mentioned for the first time on 25 August 915, as Solmania, when King of France Charles the Simple transferred to the St. Lambert Chapter in Liège a forest bordering the "river of Soumagne". From the XIIIth to the XIXth century, the village was called Soumagne-les-Moines (The Monks' Soumagne), recalling that Norbertine monks from Liège owned most of the village and once appointed the parish priest. All the villages forming Soumagne, except Tignée, were, soon or late, transferred to the Prince-Bishop of Liège.
Soumagne was transferred by Henri II to the St. Adalbert Chapter of Aachen, which swiftly sold the domain to the local Fécher lineage. The Prince-Bishop purchased Soumagne in the XIIIth century, transferred it to the Norbertine abbey of Cornillon, and reincorporated it to his domain in 1288.
Coal was already extracted in Soumagne at the end of the XVIth century by the Crahay family, who sold it to the local nail makers for their forges. The few, small concessions set up in the XVIIIth century formed in the XIXth century two big collieries, "Maireux-Bas-Bois", owned by the Crahay family, and "Le Hasard-Micheroux". Only the "Bois de Micheroux" colliery remained independent until closed in 1958.
The tunnel of Soumagne, built from 2001 to 2005 for a cost of 144,000,000 € and to be used by the high-speed line Brussels-Liège-Cologne, is the longest railway tunnel in Belgium (6,405 m; difference in level, 120 m).

Ayeneux, granted to the Chapter of Aachen by Charlemagne, was purchased in 1613 by the lord of Bucquoy, who sold it to the Prince-Bishop of Liège in 1626. The domain of Wégimont, located in Ayeneux, was purchased in 1756 by the d'Oultremont family. Sold in 1920 to the Province of Liège, it was transformed in 1937 in a recreation center and used from 1943 to 1945 by the Germans as a Lebensborn, a maternity hospital aimed at the Aryanization and Germanization of the race.

Cerexhe-Heuseux, today the place of a famous festival of country music, belonged to the St. Peter chapter of Liège, who transferred it on 1300 to the lords of Dalhem; the Prince-Bishop of Liège had to wait until 1700 to incorporate the domain to the Principality.

Évegnée and Micheroux, once part of the domain of Jupille transferred by Emperor Henri II to the Bishop of Verdun in 1088, were transferred in 1266 to the St. Lambert Chapter of Liège, which sold them in 1288 to the Prince-Bishop of Liège.

Melen was owned by the St. Denis Chapter of Liège, there in charge of the control of the border of the Principality. The Chapter transferred the village to the Prince-Bishop of Liège after the incorporation of the Duchy of Limburg to the Duchy of Brabant.

Tignée, transferred to the Überwasser monastery of Munster in the middle of the XIth century, became a "free and independent domain" in 1593, then ran by Mathieu de Monsen, and remained so until the French Revolution.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 17 November 2007

Municipal flag of Soumagne

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

Pascal Vagnat, 17 November 2007