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Seneffe (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

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

The municipality of Seneffe (10,625 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 6,277 ha) is located 20 km north-west of Charleroi, on the border with (Walloon) Brabant. The municipality of Seneffe is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Seneffe, Arquennes, Familleureux, Feluy and Petit-Rœulx-lez-Nivelles.

Seneffe, probably named after the river Samme, was the place of a bloody battle that opposed on 11 August 1674 the Prince of Condé and the Prince of Orange. Some 27,000 soldiers died and were buried in the neighborhood. Jean Constant, born near Colmar on 4 June 1649, took part to the battle with the regiment of Vieille-Marine, to which he belonged since 1671. After the siege of Barcelone in 1697, Constant retired, having been injured 22 times during his 25-year career. Constant died in Paris on 15 January 1763, aged 113 years 7 months and 11 days; his solemn funerals were paid by the Prince of Conti.
On 2 July 1794, the French troops invading the Low Countries faced the Austrian troops near Seneffe; General Marceau noticed that the Austrian artillery could aim very precisely at his troops. He realized later that the sails of the mill of Seneffe took different positions and were of different colours during the battle. The miller, indeed a spy, was hanged to a sail of the mill, which was eventually burned. This is indeed a legend, but the mill was probably destroyed during the battle to prevent its use as an observatory.
Built in 1763-68 for Julien Depestre, Count of Seneffe, by the architect Dewez, the castle of Seneffe house today the Goldsmith Museum of the French Community.
Seneffe developed in the XIXth century after the building of the Brussels-Charleroi canal (1827-1832-, which has two branches in Seneffe.

Arquennes, once known as Arken or Arkenne, developed around a fortress (in Latin, arx, arcem) built to watch the valley of the Samme. In 1830, it was decided to excavate a bunch of ruins locally known as "The Turks' Castle"; spear irons, arrows and javelines proved that the Turks' castle was in the past the citadel of Arquennes. The oldest known lord of Arquennes is Francon d'Arquennes, who took part to the First Crusade in 1096, together with Godefroid de Bouillon. Father Dawant writes that Francon took part to the Fifth Crusade in 1220 and, back home, took the coat as a Cistercian monk in 1220. Further studies, published in La Nouvelle Gazette, 1 December 1949, showed that the good father mixed biographic elements on three lords of Arquennes called Francon. Francon "the Crusader" died indeed in 1238 at the abbey of Villers; he could not have joined the Fifth Crusade, unless he had died aged nearly 200 years! An official document states that Francon II died in 1198, therefore Francon "the Crusader" can only be Francon III, born in 1149, who took part to the Third Crusade in 1192 with his two elder sons. After the death of his sons in Syria, Francon III won there a single combat against a gigantic Moor, came back home and transferred in 1209 his fief of Thynes-Les-Nivelles to the Knights Templars, to which he belonged.
Philippe-Joseph Demoulin, born in Arquennes on 28 December 1809, took part to the battle of the Park of Brussels in 1830, during which the Dutch troops were repelled from the town. Back to Arquennes, he exploited a café and had 11 children. On 15 January 1912, King Albert I visited Demoulin, who was the last survivor from the War of Independence. Demoulin told the king, in Walloon, that he could never had expected to be introduced to three kings; he had indeed be already introduced to Leopold I and Leopold II. A few days later, on 14 February 1912, Demoulin passed away, aged 102. The king sent an official letter of condolence and the national flag hoisted over the town hall of Arquennes was half-staffed.

Familleureux was probably not named after a happy family (in French, famille heureuse) but after the two Romanesque words fameillus, "hungry" (see affamé in French, after faim, "hunger") and roelx, "a fallow land". The castle of Familleureux, built in the XIIth century, was burned, revamped and rebuilt several times.
The church of Familleureux houses a bas-relief made of oak and relating a miracle made by the Blessed Virgin in 1404. After having purchased the domain of Familleureux, Wauthier de Bousies "Fier àBras" ("Braggart", d. 1411) made his joyeuse entrée ("merry introduction") in the village but was insulted by people from Houdeng. Envoys from Houdeng came to the castle of Familleureux to ask for pardon; Wauthier killed the first of them but the other ones prayed the Blessed Virgin, who convinced Wauthier to calm down and to pardon the insult.
On 16 October 1887, Florian Adam, butcher and café-owner was elected Mayor of Familleureux; he was the first Socialist mayor in Belgium, when suffrage was still at property qualification.

Petit-Rœulx-lez-Nivelle belonged in 1137 to Guislard d'Arkennes, the son of Francon. On 7 March 1285, the domain was transferred by Duke John of Brabant to Knight Wauthier de Wafreze. It was owned successively by the lords of Arquennes (back), Orley, Rubempré and Trazegnies (1687). The last lors of Petit-Rœulx, Gillion Charles Adrien de Trazegnies, exiled to Maastricht after the French Revolution, and died there in 1793.


Ivan Sache, 3 November 2007

Municipal flag of Seneffe

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, Seneffe does not have a municipal flag.

Pascal Vagnat, 3 November 2007

Kayak Club Charleroi

Founded in 1985, dedicated to kayak polo (that is, kayaking and water polo, simultaneously), very active internationally, the Kayak Club Charleroi (KCC) is established at Seneffe near the canal linking Brussels and Charleroi. Since 1997, the club also engages in straight kayaking and organizes youth initiation drives.

The flag of KCC is yellow with the club logotype in full colour, and (probably) the club name added to it along with country name: BELGIUM above and KAYAK CLUB CHARLEROI below, the whole in red.
The club logotype shows a kayaker in a shark-like boat (or boat-like shark) above seething waves, driving a ball before him - all in cartoon style - and the club name KAYAK CLUB CHARLEROI in a bow above.

Source: KCC website

Jan Mertens, 5 March 2007

SNEF Yachting

Founded in 1969, SNEF Yachting has expanded over the years, has its own club house now (the first structure was made up of train cars) where entire families gather, courses are organized, and competitions held. There are sailing, wind surfing, and motor boating sections.

The club rules say:

V. (Naval) Flags, Burgees - Uniforms
Art. 35: Burgees:
The distinctive club burgees have a triangular shape. The burgee is coloured and bears an adapted design. As regards flag usage, boats will conform to naval etiquette.

The burgee of SNEF, as seen on a photography on the club website, is horizontally green-white-green, a green logotype in the white stripe bearing, in white, stylized sails and a screw. The logo largely resembles the one presented on the website of the FFYB, which adds 99 to the sail and also invokes wind surfing. The burgee shown here was officially brought forward very recently.

The photo album of the yearly boat outing La Balade des Ascenseurs, organized by SNEF Yachting, shows the specific flag of the event. The flag is divided per descending diagonal white above green, sloping white letters on green BALADE / DES / ASCENCEURS, the SNEF symbol on white, and a year added (simply 2005 black on white, vertical at end of fly; 2006 being a jubilee year, very small under 25 surrounded by olive leaves, all in black, in the green triangle to the left of DES.
The SNEF symbol itself, quite different from the one used on the club pennant, is circular, mentioning the club's name in black between two green rings S.N.E.F. (top) and YACHTING (bottom). Inside the rings is a sky blue field with a yellow industrial gearwheel behind a white, diagonally placed anchor which in its turn juts out in front of the Seneffe coat of arms (gules a key or in pale between two mullets of six points argent).

Source: SNEF website

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2007