Last modified: 2008-03-29 by ivan sache
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The municipality of Neupré (9,748 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,169 ha) is located south-east of Seraing, in the Liège conurbation. The municipality of Neupré was made in 1976 by the merging of the former municipalities of Neuville-en-Condroz, Plainevaux, Rotheux-Rimière and Ehein. The name of the new municipality is an acronym made of the first three letters of Neuville and the first letter of the three other former municipalities; it sound in French like "new meadow".
Neuville-en-Condroz, once known as "Nova villa in condrosio", probably
emerged in the early XIIIth century as a domain founded by Renier of
Dommartin, son of Thomas of Hermalle and grandson of Othon of Warfusée.
In the XVth century Isabelle Marteau de la Neuville married Arnold of
Warnant; in 1724, Aldegonde Louise Françoise of Warnant married Damien
Adrien Ernest de Lannoy de Clervaux, whose family kept the domain until
the Revolution and the castle until 1854, when Count Adrien de Lannoy
died, all his goods being transferred to his wife, Baroness of Tornaco.
Neuville is the place of one of the 14 Amercian permanent cemetaries set up outside the national territory. Several of the soldiers buried there were killed during the Battle of the Bulge in winter 1944-1945.
Plainevaux, once known as "Plana vallis", "the flat valley", belonged to
the abbey of Val-Saint-Lambert. In 1188, Count Gilles of Clermont gave
Estriveal (Strivay), Plainevaux and Rosière to the abbey of Signy to
set up a Cistercian abbey; founded in 1192, the abbey did not stay for
long in Rosières because the place was deemed unpleasant by the monks.
Count Gilles transferred all his goods to Duke of Limburg Henri III and the monks moved to the today's site of the abbey of Val-Saint-Lambert.
In 1316, the domain of Plainevaux was transferred to Jacques of Tongeren, a vassal of the Duke of Brabant; however, the Principality of Liège kept some rights on the village, which depended on the two courts of Brabant and Liège. In 1649, the abbey of Val-Saint-Lambert purchased the whole domain for 105,000 guilders and kept it until the French Revolution.
Rotheux belonged to the domain of
Source: Municipal website
However, the most famous place in Neupré is most probably the hamet of
Houte-Si-Plout. The mill of
Hoûte-s'i-Ploût was built in 1559 in a small, isolated valley of the
domain of Esneux, on the border of the Duchy of Limburg and the
Principality of Liège. The name of the mill appeared in the XVIIth
century, derived from the French expression Ecoute s'il pleut, "Listen
if it rains". Originally designating a mill powered by a brook whose
intermittent flow strongly depended on the rain episodes,
Hoûte-s'i-Ploût became a matter of jokes and legends. It was said that
the miller, when having waiting very late for a rain event that had not came
yet, used to go to bed and ask his wife or daugther to listen to the
rain. The expression was changed to hout s'i plout, that is
"sheltered if it rain". The place was quite famous since the opera Li
fièsse di Hoûte-s'i-Ploût, composed by Hamal and Vivario in 1757, was
played for the first time on 8 December 1757 in the ceremony room of
the town hall of Liège.
There are several Ecoute-s'il-pleut toponyms in France, as well as several Hout-si-Plou in Wallonia. In French-speaking Belgium, Hout-Si-Plout is synonym of "the place in the middle of nowhere"; according to Le Soir, 25 November 1998, it is exactly "the place where you would like to send Séraphin Lampion" [this is the original name of the insurance broker who bugs Tintin and Captain Haddock in several Tintin's adventures]. An alternative to Houte-Si-Plout is Gingelom.
The Dutch-speaking Belgians have an equivalent place called Bachten de Kupe, located somewhere/nowhere in the neighborhood of De Panne, Nieuwpoort, Diksmuide, Veurne and Alveringem. The equivalent places in French French are Trifouilly-les-Oies and éétaouchnok, which never existed, while the Belgian Houte-Si-Plout, Gingelom and Bachten de Kupe actually exist!
The hamlet of Houte-Si-Plout, five houses and twelve inhabitants, gained international fame on 15 December 1965, with 4,000 French-speaking students, "expelled" from the
Ivan Sache, 5 September 2007
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, there is no municipal flag used in Neupré.
Pascal Vagnat, 5 September 2007