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Municipal flag of Héron - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 January 2006
The municipality of Héron (4,530 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,838 ha) is located in Hesbaye near the valley of Meuse, 10 km west of Huy and 25 km north-east of Namur. The municipality of Hé is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Héron, Couthuin, Lavoir and Waret-l'Évêque. The municipal territory is crossed west to east by the Autoroute de Wallonie (E42, Liège-Namur); Couthuin is located in the south of the highway, whereas the three other villages are located in the north of the highway.
Héron is known for its Roman tumulus, dated Ist-IInd century. This is a
square grave supported by wooden planks and protected by a conic heap
of earth (the tumulus proper), which was progressively colonized by
vegetation. The ashes of the dead were placed into a funerary urn
surrounded by earthenware, glassware and bronze artefacts.
The architect from Huy Jean-Lambert Blandot (1835-1885) designed the former town hall of Héron in 1866. The building includes two classrooms (one for the boys and one for the girls), the court of first instance (four rooms) and the flats of the schoolmaster and the schoolmistress (six and four rooms, respectively). Blandot specialized in the design of municipal schools and published a book of scale maps of schools, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. He was commissioned by the Belgian govenment to design a "model class", which was shown at the Philadelphia International Education Exhibition.
The hamlet of Boingt was in the past the seat of a feudal court, whose remain is the Farm of the Porte-Rouge. The three patron saints of Boingt are the Three Saint Sisters Bertille, Eutropie and Geneviève.
Couthuin is famous for its building stone, once extracted in the
quarries of Longpré (today in the municipality of Wanze) and Couthuin. The white stone is called "florid limestone" because it includes
several fossil shells.
The isolated hamlet of Marsinne has three farms known as among the oldest in Hesbaye (XVI-XVIIth century). In the XIIth century, this domain belonged to the Notre-Dame church in Huy and was known as la Derlière de Marsinne, probably referring to the local clay called derle.
On 1 September 1830, King William I granted by Royal Decree to the John Cockerill company, from Seraing, the concession for the iron mines located in the municipalities of Couthuin, Lavoir and Huccorgne (today in Wanze), that is an area of 503 bonniers and 21 perches, c. 450 ha. The aim of the Decree was to boost the development of big industrial companies for the extraction of ore. The concession was split into the concession des Propriétaires de la Surface (Couthuin and Bas-Oha, today in Wanze) and the concession des Maîtres de Forges (Huccorgne and Lavoir).
Lead was also extracted in the hamlet of Roua, where remains of the mine are still visible. The first shaft was opened in 1835, with three lateral galleries, tow big sheds for housing the carts and horses, and a forge. Exploitation started in 1849 and the ore was carried to the mill of Tramaka-Seilles. Water started to flood the galleries in 1874 and the mine was closed the next year.
The hamlet of Surlemez has preserved its traditional carnival's fire set up by witches.
Lavoir is known for its picturesque chapel built on the top of a hill.
The Farm of Ver, formerly known as the Cense of Verve, belonged to the
abbey of Floreffe since the XIIth century; it was purchased by two
canons at the end of the XVIIIth century. Its former cowshed, with a
roof structure from the XIIth century, is today an art gallery.
Louis Tinson, known as the thief of Porte-Rouge, was hung near the farm of Ver in 1781, according to a story reported by M. Baron. On Saturday 17 November 1781, Louis Tinson drank too much at Joseph's pub in Boingt with his buddy Antoine. The same night, two cows were stolen in the Farm of Porte-Rouge. The cops followed the footsteps and arrested Tinson, who had hidden in the wood of Bolette with the cows. The court of Boingt sentenced him to death.
The mill of Ferrières, known since the XIth century, was rebuilt in the XVIIth century on the brook Hérédia. There were in the past limestone quarries and iron mines in Lavoir, whose name is said to come from lavatorium, colloquially laveu, the place where washing takes place. In French, a lavoir is a washing-place or a washhouse. Iron was indeed washed in Lavoir in big tanks set up near the brook.
Waret-l'Évêque has kept a square well from the XIXth century. The well is made of four rectangular limestone flagstones rang with iron and has kept its wooden arm and its iron pulley.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 18 January 2006
The municipal flag of Héron is quartered red-white-white-blue.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 28 December 2001 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 15 July 2003.
The flag is based on the municipal arms of Héron. In the arms, the fourth quarter is charged with a gold miner's pickaxe and a scythe crossed in saltire.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 January 2006
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