Our beautiful village - Montignies-Lez-Lens

MONTIGNIES-LEZ-LENS is a charming rural commune belonging to the town of Lens.
With an area of 1128ha 67a 30ca, Montignies is located on the LENS-NEUFVILLES road, approximately 12 km from SOIGNIES and more or less 15 km from MONS and ATH.

Its altitude, at the level of the Dendre, 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 scattered in the hamlets, however, some older dwellings are made of rubble. Its hilly terrain, where plains and hillsides follow one another, is made up of very fertile loamy soil.

Montignies-Lez-Lens is crossed by the Dendre, a river with a winding course, which takes its source in Erbaut according to some and according to others, in Herchies. It is enriched at Montignies by the waters of numerous small tributaries: Avenal, Mouligneaux, Couturelle, Brincheuil, Marquette, Ruisseau du grand Colas.

Her name

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 charcoal forest, so named because of the charcoal that was made there with beech wood (charcoal). from "fau").

At that time, Bavay had been chosen as the capital of NERVIE. In the center of this city, a stone with 7 faces was placed, each of which corresponded to a Roman road.

The 1st crosses our regions to reach Utrecht and forms the limit between Montignies and Neufvilles. This road then crosses Louvignies, Chaussée ND, Graty, Hoves, Enghien, Brabant and Antwerp to arrive in Utrecht in Holland. It is called ""Chaussée Brunehault"". The name ""Chaussée"" comes from ""Caus"", the dialect 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 this time, Montignies produced a lot of wheat; Numerous cattle and large herds of sheep and pigs were also raised there, which were supplied to Rome. Needless to say, Montignies-lez-Lens later became the cradle of the world-famous Belgian horse breed?

In the Middle Ages , Montignies was one of the localities called "Onze towns" 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 nothing more than a farm bathed by the Marquette. This castle subsequently 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. Remains of it remain in the house (rue Val de la Marquette) still recently occupied by the Decrucq-Permanne family. As for the castle farm house, it is currently inhabited by the Stennhaut family. (Note in passing that the ""Bourgeois"" and ""Marais"" farms also belonged to the Abbey of Cambron).

At the time of the Crusades, Baldwin 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 note the knight Evrard de Montignies.

Then came the period of the Commons (1168-1384). It was in 1246 that Marguerite de Constantinople, countess of Flanders and Hainaut, granted the "11 cities" an important charter regulating the right of grazing that the inhabitants of the villages of Masnuy, Jurbise, Erbaut, Erbisoeuil, Casteau (where there are always the street of eleven towns), 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 each year, on the Sunday following St John's Day, in the sacristy of the church of Montignies, (probable origin of the ducasse for the month of June) in front of the mayor and aldermen of Montignies. This therefore also proves that municipal power was already exercised in Montignies in 1246. (In the name of the Hasnon Abbey which owned this stronghold).

NB: This charter is reproduced "in full" in the historical overviews of Abbé Notté and Brother Nicolas. You will find all of it in the 'History' section of this site.

It is during the Austrian period (1714-1795) that the Abbey of St Denis had the Parc farm built (which we will talk about 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 (burned by the Germans in 1914). During the Spanish period (1494-1714), under Charles V, legislation respecting the ancient customs specific to the city of Mons was given to the Hainaut and extended to the entire region of which Montignies was a part. The numerous wars of Louis

The ""little story"" of Montignies obviously does not end at this time in history. Many other heroic mountain deeds 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.

Mountain heritage

The church

We know nothing 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"), we can read: Montignies-lez-Lens, parish of the diocese of Cambrai, deanery of Chièvres, is cited in all the "pouillés" (parish register in the 14th century) which proves the existence of a church at that time. A box of holy oils, which disappeared in the fire of the rectory in 1914, bore this inscription: "Mr Guillaume CAPPEL, priest, 1616". (Originally from Ladeuze and 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 built a Tuscan church. The bell tower has a semi-circular 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 vessel, made of stone cut in one 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 floor of the church, we discover numerous slabs (12) dating from 1671 and going up to 1776. Others are discovered in the walls of the church and the cemetery. As for the furniture, we find the statue of St Martin, and the pulpit of truth from the 16th century. We can also notice the painting representing the "Descent from the cross".

At the beginning of the 1950s, restoration work was necessary because it was raining in the church. They were completed 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 note in passing that part of the necessary funds were raised by the "Lutines" concerts. We will not return to the presbytery rebuilt in 1919 and which, with its "mansard" roof that we know, is completely surrounded by walls. This is where Father Hubert, priest of the Lens entity, lived.

The Chapels

They are numerous on the territory of the municipality and of different interests. We cannot list them all. There are, in fact, 18 public chapels including the ND cave of Lourdes, famous for its pilgrimage on August 15, and 18 private chapels.

In the History of the Church of Belgium (from "de Moreau"), the monument to the dead was erected after the 14-18 war, in memory of the victims of this conflict, opposite the house of Alphonse Permanent and brought in 1938 near the main entrance to the cemetery.

The Windmill of the Park, probably built by monks in 1640, along the Dendre à la Roche, was a real communal industry. Its last owner was Désiré Peltier, the last miller in the village.

Château Cogels

Château Cogels

The Château de la Marquette , currently occupied by the COGELS family, was built around 1760 on wooded land attached to the castle. Of the castle's furniture, only 2 life-size statues remain, the work of a Mons resident (LERRICHE) who worked at the Sèvres factory. In the park, there is a pillory purchased from the abbey of Cambron Mme MALHERBE (mother of Mr Jo. PREUD'HOMME, penultimate owner of the castle) who purchased this property in 1923.

The town hall and schools were built in 1870. Before this date, school was held in the teachers' homes. 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.

source: https://www.montignies-lez-lens.be/