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Brunstatt-Didenheim (Municipality, Haut-Rhin, France)

Last modified: 2022-07-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: haut-rhin | brunstatt-didenheim | horseshoe (red) |
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Presentation of Brunstatt-Didenheim

The municipality of Brunstatt-Didenheim (8,107 inhabitants in 2018; 1,410 ha; municipal website) is located in the southern outskirts of Mulhouse. The municipality was establihsed on 1 January 2016 as the merger of the former municipalities of Brunstatt (seat) and Didenheim

Olivier Touzeau, 17 October 2020



Flag of Brunstatt - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 17 October 2020/P>

Brunstatt is of unknown origin. A document listing the village among the possessions of the monastery of Hohenbourg, located on Mont-Saint-Odile, dated from the beginning of the 9th century, was indeed written near 1200. However, a village might have existed very early near brook Burnenbach and the fortress built near the brook. In 1310, the German Emperor granted Brunstatt to the Count of Ferrette. A few years later, Jeannette, last Countess of Ferrette, married Albert II of Habsburg, and Brunstattwas transferred to Austria until the Treaty of Westfalia (1648), which retroceded the Austrian possessions in Alsace to the King of France.
The old village developed inside two successive walls surrounding the fortress built in 1295 by Cuno of Berckheim, vassal of Count Theubald of Ferrette. The fortress, built at the entrance of the valley of the Ill, was an outpost protecting the County of Ferrette. In 1321, Werner of Berckheim was granted the domain, fortress and village of Brunstatt by Ulrich III, last Count of Ferrette. In 1459, Emperor Friedrich III granted to Brunstatt two yearly fairs on St. George's day and 15 days after St. Michel's day, respectively, as well as a weekly market hold on Monday. During the so-called "War of the Six Deniers" opposing Mulhouse and the Confederated Town to the nobility supported by the Habsburg, the village of Brunstatt was seized on 13 June 1468 by Mulhouse. At the end of June of the same year, the Confederated attacked again the village and sacked the fortress. In 1523, the fortress was purchased by the Count of Ortenburg-Salamanca, of Spanish origin and owner of the village of Ortenburg in Carinthia. The family went into bankrupt and sold its goods, including the castle of Brunstatt, to Martin Besenval in 1644-1657.

The merchant Martin Besenval (1600-1660), aka Boessen or Besenwald, was appointed member of the Grand Council in Solothurn (Switzerland) in 1636; Salzwalter (salt manager) in Solothurn and Baillif of Lugano (1648), he was made Baron by King of France Louis XIV. The tradition says he was buried in the parish church of Brunstatt. The Besenval lineage split later into three branches; several Besenval served the King of France as officers of the Swiss guards, including Pierre Joseph Victor, last lord of Besenval (1721-1791). Solothurn was indeed known as the "Ambassador's Town", mainly because of the ambassadors of the king of France. The former Busenval palace is still standing in Solothurn near river Aar. After the French Revolution, the lords of Busenval withdrew to Solothurn, where they welcomed priests who had fled Alsace.
In 1807, Besenval rented the castle of Brunstatt to the wrights from Mulhouse Wagner and Litschy, who set up a factory in 1808. The Besenval were made Counts in 1820. The castle was later purchased by the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer (Railway Company) and demolished in 1857 during the building of the Mulhouse-Belfort railway. The last member of the Besenval lineage died in 1927. When the train struggled on the curve on the former site of the castle, old people of Brunstatt used to say: "Hear how the train struggles, the Grand Duke does not allow it to go".
[Paul Stintzi. Brunstatt-Didenheim, Faits d'Histoire d'une commune de Haute-Alsace]

In September 1913, a Roman well was found in the place called Croix du Burn, located in Brunstatt near the Burn source. The well yielded several Roman coins dated from emperors Trajan (98-117), Marcus Aurelius (161-180), Constantine (323-337) and Gratian (161-180). According to L.G. Werner, the coins were threwn into the well in order to calm down the source deity. In the Christian times, the source became a baptistry. A village called Burnen was built near the source, which was a popular place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Burnen was listed as an important parish in the diocese of Basel in the Liber Marcarum (Parish Index) in the beginning of the 15th century. The Liber Marcarum still mentioned Burnen in 1468 but no longer in 1500. Surprisingly, there are no remains of the village and the cause of its suppression has not been recorded.
The St. Blasius chapel in Burnen, already known in the 15th century and suppressed after the French Revolution, was the seat of a pilgrimage and horses' blessing on 3 February, St. Blasius' day. A century after its destruction, Priest Fritsch decided to rebuild the chapel; funds were provided by two ladies from Mulhouse but nothing happened because of lax management of the project by Fritsch. Twenty years later, on 8 October 1882, the rebuilt chapel was eventually inaugurated in the presence of 4,000-5,000 people and renamed the Cross' Chapel.
[Antoine Steck, parish priest, 1982]

The municipal fountain known as St. George's Well was erected in 1872 after plans drafted by architect from Mulhouse Rissler-Tournier. Water coming from the Burn source is released into the fountain by four dolphin's heads. Since it inauguration 132 years ago, water supply in the fountain has never stopped.

The flag of Brunstatt, sill used at the Town Hall of Brunstatt-Diedenheim (the former Town Hall of Brunstatt; photo) is vertically divided red-white, charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms, "Argent a horseshoe gules with seven nail holes f three dexter and four sinister".
The horseshoe was used as its emblem by Brunstatt as soon as the 17th century; in 1655, Louis XIV granted to Martin Boesenwald (Besenval) arms whose fourth quarter is "Or a horseshoe sable". The present-day's design of the arms was fixed in the Armorial Général (Bronstat).
[Armorial des communes du Haut-Rhin]

Pascal Vagnat, & Ivan Sache, 18 October 2020



Flag of Didenheim - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 October 2020

Didenheim was first mentioned in 796 as Tudinhaim.

The flag of Didenheim, sill used at the former Town Hall of Diedenheim (photo, photo) is a banner of the municipal arms, "Azure a mermaid argent holding dexter a fleur-de-lis scepter or and sinister a crampon argent."

The arms of Didenheim, created in 1975, feature the two emblems used by the village in the 17th century. The Z-shaped crampon was registered in the Armorial Général (image) as the arms of the community of the inhabitants of Didenheim. The second emblem featured a mermaid whose breasts, in Alsatian, Dütte, evoke the Alsatian pronunciation of the first two syllables of the village's name. In 1655, Didenheim was represented by a quarter "Per pale azure and sea a mermaid argent holding dexter a fleur-de-lis or and sinister a crampon argent" in Martin Besenval's Letters Patented of nobility.
The Besenval were lords of Didenheim from 1654 until the French Revolution.
[Armorial des communes du Haut-Rhin]

& Ivan Sache, 18 October 2020