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Pepinster (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-03-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: pepinster | lions: 3 (green) | fers de moline: 4 (yellow) | franchimont | soiron | flag throwing |
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[Flag of Pepinster]

Municipal flag of Pepinster - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 24 November 2005

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Presentation of Pepinster and its villages

The municipality of Pepinster (9,574 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,479 sq. km) is located a few kilometers west of Verviers, on the confluency of the rivers Vesdre and Hoëgne. The municipality of Pepinster is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Pepinster, Cornesse, Wegnez and Soiron.

The territory of Pepinster was settled by Mesolithic hunters, whose remains have been found in Wegnez, Cornesse and Les Mazures. However, no remains of agricultural activity in the Neolithic, Gaul or Roman times have been found yet, although Soiron and Wegnez were crossed by the Roman way linking Tongeren to Trier. The first rural communities seem to have been set up in the upper Middle Ages when the feudal system emerged.

Under the Ancient Regime, Pepinster belonged to the community of Theux, itself part of the Marquisate of Franchimont, in the Principality of Liège. The old village of Pepinster was set up on the rivers' banks, where pre-industrial metallurgic workshops were established. In the XIXth century, the textile industry boomed in Verviers and spread to Pepinster, where a lot of space was still available. Some big manufacturers set up their factories and residences in Pepinster and funded the building of the Vesdre road, which links Liège to Verviers and Theux via Pepinster; the international railway line crossing Pepinster was built a few years later. Due to the demographic and economic development of the town, the inhabitants of Pepinster required municipal autonomy, which was granted on 1 January 1850.

Cornesse, Wegnez and Soiron, located north of the Vesdre on the plateau of Herve, belonged to the Duchy of Limburg. They formed a single parish but belonged to different domains. Soiron was a Barony that included Cornesse, whereas Wegnez belonged to the domain of Grand Rechain. The three villages mostly lived from agriculture, but several of its inhabitants worked in the local nail and textile factories as early as in the XVIth century.
Soiron is member of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie. The castle of Sclassin is located there, and the beeches of its park house a lot of raven nests. As explained by Marcelin Lagarde, the origin of these nests is linked to the legend of Jonas the Raven. In the early XVIIIth century, the wealthy Miss de Woestenraedt de Falhez lived at Sclassin; her frivolous and bankrupted nephew Christian d'Aisomont invited her in his castle of Wanne for a few days. When she left her castle, a raven followed the coach, screaming Louke à ti, louke à ti (Take care, take care). When arrived at Wanne, the old maiden lady remembered the raven and swapped her room with her servant, who was found killed in her bed the next morning. The crime was alledgely committed by rascals, but Miss de Woestenraedt went back to her castle with the raven; she named it Jonas and awarded it a rich collar, so that Jonas became famous among the ravens. When visiting her rich aunt some time later, Christian d'Aisomont was chased by Jonas screaming Louke à ti, louke à ti. He climbed into the ravens' tower and fought against the birds; Chritian was found unconscious on the ground with gouged eyes, holding strangled Jonas in his hand. He died later in poverty while the ravens never left the castle of Sclassin.

Source: Municipal website, including Histoire de Pepinster, by Henri Balverlin

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2007

Municipal flag of Pepinster

The municipal flag of Pepinster is horizontally divided blue-white with the municipal arms in the middle.
Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones describes the flag as Coupé bleu sur blanc chargé au centre de l'écu de la commune.

The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms, which are:
Coupé, en chef d'argent à trois lions de sinople, armés et lampassés de gueules, couronnés d'or, en pointe d'azur à quatre fers de moulin d'or rangés 3 et 1 ("Per fess, in chief argent three lions vert armed and langued gules crowned or, in point azure four fers de moline or placed 3 and 1").
The chief of the shield shows the arms of Franchimont, and is similar to the chief of the arms of Thieux. The point of the shield must represent the three villages formerly part of the Duchy of Limburg.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Santiago Dotor & Ivan Sache, 9 May 2007

Flags thrown during the Soiron dans de beaux draps festival

[Flag thrown in Soiron]

Flag thrown in Soiron - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 May 2007

The municipal website shows photographies of the Soiron dans de beaux draps festival, taken on 4 September 2006. Several images feature flag throwers with vertically divided black-violet-yellow flags. There is no text appended to the images, and it is therefore not possible to decide if these flags are related to Soiron.

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2007