Quick overview (For impatients...)
MONTIGNIES-LEZ-LENS is a charming rural town belonging to the town of Lens.
Covering an area of 1128ha 67a 30ca, Montignies is located on the LENS-NEUFVILLES road, about 12 km from SOIGNIES and more or less 15 km from MONS and ATH.
Its altitude, at the level of the Dender, is 50m; at the threshold of the Church, 78m and, at Blanc Ronsart, (Courette-Quesniau) 103m.
Its approximately 780 inhabitants (2007) are housed in often restored houses, grouped in the center of the village, but dispersed in the hamlets, however, some older dwellings are made of rubble. Its hilly terrain, where plains and hills follow one another, is made up of very fertile loamy soil.
Montignies-Lez-Lens is crossed by the Dender, a winding river, which has its source in Erbaut according to some and according to others, in Herchies. It is enriched in Montignies by the waters of many small tributaries: Avenal, Mouligneaux, Couturelle, Brinchoel, Marquette, Ruisseau du Grand Colas.
The name of this charming village has changed over the ages: Montinium (in 1017) - Montiniacus (in 1086) - Montiniacum (in 1090) - Montigni or Montigny (in 1550) - Montigny-lez-Lens (in 1815) and finally, Montignies- lez-Lens , in 1845. Its origins and history
A little history
During the Roman period (57 BC to 445 AD) , the country of Lens, of which Montignies is a part, was covered by a vast coal forest, so named because of the coal that was made there with beech wood (coal of "false").
At that time, Bavay had been chosen as the capital of NERVIE. In the center of this city, was placed a stone with 7 faces, each of which corresponded to a Roman road.
The 1st crosses our regions to end in Utrecht and forms the boundary between Montignies and Neufvilles. This road then crosses Louvignies, Chaussée ND, Graty, Hoves, Enghien, Brabant and Anvers to end in Utrecht in Holland. It is called "Chaussée Brunehault". The name "Chaussée" (caussée) comes from "Caus", the patois name for "lime", the material used in its construction. As for Brunehault, it is the name of the queen, regent of Autrasia (534-613) who repaired several Roman roads to which she left her name.
Already at that time, Montignies was producing a lot of wheat; a large number of cattle and large flocks of sheep and pigs were also raised there, which were supplied to Rome. Is it necessary to recall that Montignies-lez-Lens later became the cradle of the world famous Belgian horse breed?
In the Middle Ages, Montignies was part of the localities called "Onze ville" which was given by the Countess of Hainaut to the monks of Hasnon at the end of the 11th century. Montignies was also the capital and had a feudal castle which left some remains of towers, underground passages, surrounding ditches... Today it is no more than a farm bathed by the Marquette. This castle later became the residence of the monks of the Abbey of Cambron-Casteau who acquired this property and connected it to Cambron by an underground passage. There are vestiges of it in the house (rue Val de la Marquette) still occupied not long ago by the Decrucq-Permanne family. As for the castle farmhouse, it is currently inhabited by the Stennhaut family. (Note in passing that the "Bourgeois" and du "farms
During the Crusades, Baudouin of Constantinople (4th Crusade) brought together a large number of knights from our region to go and deliver the tomb of Christ. Among them, we notice the knight Evrard de Montignies.
Then came the period of the Commons(1168-1384). It was in 1246 that Marguerite of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders and Hainaut, granted the "11 cities" an important charter regulating the right to pasture that the inhabitants of the villages of Masnuy, Jurbise, Erbaut, Erbisoeuil, Casteau (where there are always the street of the eleven cities), Lens, Herchies, Saisinne (hamlet of Thieusies, Queen of Hungary-Thieusies road), Nimy, Maisières and Montigny-lez-Lens have in the forest of Broqueroie and this, in return for a fee which was paid every year, on the Sunday following St Jean, in the sacristy of the church of Montignies, (probable origin of the ducasse for the month of June) in front of the mayor and the aldermen of Montignies. This therefore also proves that communal power was already exercised in Montignies in 1246. (In the name of the Abbey of Hasnon which owned this stronghold).
NB: This charter is reproduced "in extenso" in the historical overviews of Abbé Notté and Brother Nicolas. You will find all of it in the 'History' section of this site.
It was during the Austrian period (1714-1795) that the Abbey of St Denis had the Parc farm built (which we will discuss later) as evidenced by the year appearing on the bell tower (1778-1779), the Bourgeois farm where tithes were paid (destroyed in 1876), and the Montignies cure (burnt down by the Germans in 1914). specific to the city of Mons was given to Hainaut and extended to the whole region of which Montignies was a part. The many wars of Louis XIV (1667-1715), King of France (the Sun King), allowed the French armies to often occupy our region and to distinguish themselves there by various criminal acts: fires, looting, requisitions.
The "little story" of Montignies obviously does not stop at this time in history. Many other heroic mountain feats have illustrated the last two centuries, but it is not possible to relate them all on this page.
Go to the additional pages relating to the history of Montignies Lez Lens.
Heritage of Montignies
Nothing is known of its origins, but it could go back to St Martin, bishop of Tours in the 4th century, who is its Patron. In the history of the Church of Belgium (from "de Moreau"), one can read: Montignies-lez-Lens, parish of the diocese of Cambrai, deanery of Chièvres, is cited in all the "pouillés" (register of parishes in the 14th century) which proves the existence of a church at that time. A box with holy oils, which disappeared in the fire of the cure in 1914, bore this inscription: "Mr Guillaume CAPPEL, priest, 1616". (Native of Ladeuze and parish priest of Montignies). In the annals of the Archaeological Circle of Mons, we learn that, on the site of the old church, the monks of Hasnon and St Denis had a Tuscan church built. The bell tower is pierced by a round arched door above which we read 1791.
The bell tower houses 2 bells: a small one dating from 1820 and a large one (900 Kg) from 1948.
Inside the church, we notice the columns of the nave, in stone cut from a single piece, the altars of the Virgin and St Martin and the confessionals which probably come from the abbey of Cambron. The octagonal stone of the baptismal font dates from the 16th century. In the pavement of the church, we discover many slabs (12) dating from 1671 and going until 1776. We discover others in the walls of the church and the cemetery. With regard to the furniture, we find the statue of St Martin, and the pulpit of truth of the 16th S. We can also notice the painting representing the "Descent from the cross".
At the beginning of the 1950s, restoration work proved necessary because it was raining in the church. They were finished in 1955. As for the interior restoration, it was entrusted (from December 1955 to March 1956) to various craftsmen from the region, including several from Montignies: Jules Bette, François Berlanger, Franz Gilquin... Let us point out in passing that part of the necessary funds were collected by the concerts of "Lutines". We will not come back to the presbytery rebuilt in 1919 and which, with its familiar "mansard" roof, is completely surrounded by walls. This is where Father Hubert, parish priest of the entity of Lens, lives.
They are numerous on the territory of the municipality and of different interests. We cannot name them all. There are, in fact, 18 public chapels, including the ND cave in Lourdes, famous for its pilgrimage on August 15, and 18 private chapels.
In the History of the Church of Belgium (by "de Moreau"), one The monument to the dead was erected after the war 14-18, in memory of the victims of this conflict, in front of the house of Alphonse Permanent and brought in 1938 near the main entrance to the cemetery.
The Moulin du Parc , probably built by monks in 1640, along the Dender at La Roche, was a real communal industry. Its last owner was Désiré Peltier, the last miller of the village.
The Château de la Marquette , currently occupied by the COGELS family, was built around 1760 on wooded land attached to the fortified castle. Of the castle furniture, there are only 2 life-size statues left, the work of a man from Mons (LERRICHE) who worked at the Sèvres factory. In the park, there is a pillory bought from the abbey of Cambron Mrs MALHERBE (mother of Mr Jo. PREUD'HOMME, penultimate owner of the castle) who had bought this property in 1923.
The town hall and the schools were built in 1870. Before this date, the school was in the homes of the teachers. Opposite these buildings is the Free Guardian School.
The water tower , pumping station, was built in 1950 on the heights of Bouloirs and sends, with its 2 pumps, drinking water as far as Flanders.
Montignies still had around fifty farms at the end of the 1950s. Today, there are barely ten left. Some of them should, by their style, hold the attention:
The farm of Mr Georges ROCQ, a small fenced complex from 1772, with porch-dovecote, trapezoidal courtyard, low house with steps, cart shed and other agricultural utensils, barn from 1796;
La Ferme du Parc , (Mr VANDEVELDE) near the river, is a remarkable quadrangle dating from 1778, a former outbuilding of the Abbey of St Denis in Broqueroie, whose buildings are dominated by a high square tower in bricks and blue stones, pierced by a classical arched portal under a triangular pediment, with dovecote.
The Marais farm (formerly H. SEMETTE-J. VANDERMEULEN) currently occupied by Mr. VERCRUYSSE, which belongs to the French abbey of Hasnon. Isolated, this farm forms a vast quadrangle from the end of the 18th century, exceptional for the homogeneity of its constructions. It is marked by a square tower-dovecote on 3 levels guarding a porch with a straight lintel on a lowered harp arch from 1790. The house, of the Tournaisian type, has a double body and the barn is supported by buttresses.
Cambron-Saint-Vincent, Chaussée-Notre-Dame-Louvignies, Neufvilles, Lens, Masnuy-Saint-Jean and Masnuy-Saint-Pierre
Districts of Montignies Lez Lens - Bouloirs, Cavée, Hubermont, Long Bridge, Marsh, Park, Patte, Quesniau, Extensions, Rasteleurs, Roche, Val de la Marquette