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Hamoir & the parish of Xhignesse...Their stories

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Hamoir is essentially a rural commune. The Ourthe valley crossing the commune from south to north contributes to its tourist development mainly in Hamoir and Comblain-la-Tour ( SNCB stations, campsites, hotels, restaurants). The Ourthe successively receives the Néblon at Hamoir, the Bloquay at Fairon and the Boé at Comblain-la-Tour. Hamoir also has a dairy product processing factory and numerous shops (mainly on rue du Pont). The town is crossed by National Route 66 which serves as a landmark. In Huy, we talk about the ""Route de Hamoir"".

The commune is part of four different natural regions: theArdenne in the woods east of Filot, the Calestienne in Filot, the Famenne in a large part of Hamoir, Fairon and Comblain-la-Tour and the Condroz in Sparmont and Lawé .

The commune is part of the Regional Economic Group of the Ourthe, Vesdre and Amblève valleys ( GREOVA ) as well as the Pays d'Ourthe-Amblève tourism center.

The commune of Hamoir is made up of three former communes and four villages:

Comblain-Fairon , commune which consisted of two villages:

Comblain-la-Tour , which had its jazz festival for eight years; the festival was relaunched in 2009 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the first edition,

Fairon village concentric around its church,

Filot village by composer Édouard Senny (1923-1980)

It also has a few hamlets
Xhignesse , Tabreux , Lassus , Comblinay , Lawé ,

Sparmont , Chirmont , Insegotte .

Description of the village

The village of Hamoir is essentially concentrated at the bottom of the Ourthe valley at its confluence with the Néblon as well as on the west side of the hill, at approximately 119 m altitude at the bridge, 12 km away. upstream of the confluence of the Ourthe and the Amblève , 39 km from Liège and 24 from Huy . Located mainly in Famenne , the former commune of Hamoir brought together three ""entities"":Xhignesse on the right bank downstream, Hamoir-center, and Hamoir-Lassus upstream, also on the right bank.

Old houses on the banks of the Ourthe.

The parish: from Xhignesse to Hamoir

The constitution of parishes at the beginning of the medieval period is of an importance which goes beyond the religious character on which they are dependent. Indeed, with the transition from an urban society to a rural society, they structure the rural world and constitute a relay for the dissemination of the faith, of which the parish church constitutes the center of a materialized territory. Evangelized by Saint Remacle , the region of Hamoir keeps a lasting memory of its passage during the Middle Ages thanks to the pilgrimage to the fountains located in Filot. It is to him that we owe the desire to establish parishes in our regions. Establishments attested by a diploma, in particular, from the king of the Franks Sigebert , a pious man, granting land to Saint Remacle for the establishment of a monastery.

The foundation of the ancient parish of Xhignesse is also closely linked to the abbey of Stavelot . A popular tradition has it that it is Plectrude , wife ofPépin de Herstal, who was at the origin of this foundation at the end of the 7th century, as it was for the neighboring parish of Lierneux . This tradition is attested by a disputed manuscript by a certain Laurenty, prior of the monastery of Malmedy , in a diploma from the 17th century. Other sources indicate that a monastic community, dependent on Stavelot, settled in Xhignesse, and whose remains would be the 12th century Romanesque church which served as an abbey and where the abbot of Stavelot Saint Angelin would have been buried . This thesis is supported by the discovery not far from the center of the village of a primitive church whose only remains are traces on the ground of ancient walls and posts, as well as a series of ancient tombs dated from the 8th-9th centuries, destroyed by the Normans.

The church of Hamoir is in the ogival-Mosan style of the 19th century.
Jean-Lambert Blandot

Nevertheless, Xhignesse as the spiritual capital of a vast territory extending between the parishes of Stavelot, Lierneux, Tohogne and Ocquier , is attested from the end of the 7th century. But from the 12th century, the parish was dismembered by the establishment of new churches in neighboring villages, such as Lognes or Ferrières. Finally, in the 18th centurycentury, all that remains of the ancient parish of Xhignesse are the villages of Hamoir and Filot, Xhignesse, Lassus and Sy. But in 1737, the Notre-Dame de Lorette chapel was built in the center of Hamoir, and although the church of Xhignesse kept the monopoly on masses for major holidays, this did not prevent the church from losing its parish rank in 1803 for the benefit first of Filot and then of Hamoir in 1842.

From an architectural point of view, the church of Xhignesse belongs to the Mosan style, but the Rhine influence is clearly felt. The building is built of limestone rubble and sandstone, materials originating from the region. The plan is described as basilical. The nave is made up of a central nave with three bays and side aisles, as well as a transept, where, under the triumphal arch hangs a polychrome Christ on the cross dated without certainty to the 17th century, which opens onto the choir. We will specifically note the presence of a presbyterywhich precedes the apse, itself characterized by the presence on the exterior of a remarkable ornamentation of seven blind arcades surmounted by nine niches intended to lighten the vault. Some see in ""this architectural process the start of an evolution which will lead to the Dwarf or Rhine galleries. »

The church of Hamoir was built by the will of Jean Del Cour whose inheritance was intended for the construction of a chapel, known as Notre-Dame de Lorette. It was thanks to the sale of around a hundred paintings by the famous painter and sculptor that the construction of the church still visible today could be undertaken, and begun in 1869 on the site of the missing chapel. Dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary, the church is said to be ""ogival style"". Inside we find the real portrait of Saint Luke by Jean Del Cour, as well as a tabernacle door carved by the same artist.

Jean Del Cour: a figure of Hamoir and the Liège landscape

Copy of the Virgin and Child in front of the church.
The original is found in Vinâve d'Île in Liège .

Jean Del Cour was born in 1631 in Hamoir, died in 1707 in Liège ,rue Sœurs-de-Hasque where his workshop was established, and buried in thenow disappeared church of Saint-Martin-en-Île . Inspired by his carpenter father, he was a highly sought-after sculptor, proof that he enjoyed a certain reputation in his time. Many of his works can be found in the churches of Liège or Belgium. Let us cite for example the series of statues of the Saint-Jacques church in Liège, made of lime wood, a material for which he was a master, and painted to imitate marble, those of the church of the minor friars, the chapel of the Saint Sacrament of St. Martin's Collegiate Church , the funerary monument of the 9th Bishop of Ghent in St. Bavo's Cathedral, or the altar of the abbey church of Herckenrode today in the Church of Our Lady in Hasselt . But his best-known works in the Pays de Liège undoubtedly remain The Virgin and Child which sits at the top of the Vinâve d'Île fountain, the Three Graces at the top of the Liège Perron on Place du Marché and the work which revealed, the bronze Christ from the Pont des Arches, today kept at Saint-Paul Cathedral . After his death, his reputation did not diminish, except in the Romantic era, more passionate about the medieval era, and under the pen of a few critics. His greatest admirers will see him meetBernini during a trip to Rome – although he would probably only have visited his workshop or a few of his collaborators from whom he would have drawn inspiration – and Vauban who would have ordered a statue of Louis XIV from him. Two monuments in his honor should be mentioned: that of Place Saint-Paul erected in 1911 and that of Place Del Cour in Hamoir in 1927 where a bronze Virgin and Child sits.

Other personalities linked to Hamoir

the painter Henri Théatre (1913 - 1985) born in Hamoir.


Hamoir Bridge over the Ourthe seen from the mouth of the Néblon

Old houses on Quai du Batty

Interior of the Sainte-Virgin-Marie church

Path from the banks of the Ourthe to Tabreux

A click

Source: Wikipedia: Hamoir