Le Quesnoy
Le Quesnoy is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Nord department in northern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Le Quesnoy's inhabitants are known as Quercitains.


The town of Le Quesnoy has somehow missed much of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. Unlike the neighboring towns of Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

 or Maubeuge
Maubeuge is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is situated on both banks of the Sambre , east of Valenciennes and about from the Belgian border.-History:...

, iron/steel works did not take hold. The lack of wealth underground and of a major transportation route partly explains this. The authorities however took note of this weakness and proposed the Ecaillon

 canal from Sambre
The Sambre is a river in northern France and Wallonia, southern Belgium, left tributary of the Meuse River. The ancient Romans called the river Sabis.-Course:...

 to Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

; considered but abandoned because of low water yield in the forest of Mormal.

There is a craft, however, firmly maintained until 1945 when a hundred shoemakers were still identifiable. Shoemakers worked at home for a local company located in rue du Petit Valenciennes(now Désiré Tanis) in a kind of cottage industry. A glassmaking factory installed near the railway track to the site of the former Intermarché
Intermarché is the brand of a general commercial French supermarket, part of the large retail group 'Les Mousquetaires' founded in 1969 under the name EX Offices, by Jean-Pierre Le Roch...

 collapsed after the World War I. In the Bellevue district, the remains of a factory attest to the presence of a former pottery factory.

The post war boom or ‘trentes glorieuses’ saw develop an industrial outskirts of town: chemical company (Cofradec) and food (Laiterie des 4 Cantons) inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 in 1959.

Today, economic activity is mainly based on tourism and local shops. The town with its ramparts, its castle ponds and its history (including the Revolutionary Armed bivouac New Zealanders Monument on the border of Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

 are major attractions.
The Quesnoy is home to many small traders and a trading area of more than respectable size for a town of less than people.

The closure of industrial enterprises (Cofradec, Duarte, dairy products) and services (transport) remains problematic even though there have been some new sources of work such as with the Emig company.

The town comes alive on Friday morning still for its weekly market.


Le Quesnoy is first attested in forms accompanied by the Latinized name of its alleged founder, called Haymon or Aymond: Haymon Quercitum; (from the Latin ‘quercus' / ‘oak’, a Latin term never imposed in Gaul. Appearing as Caisnetum in romanized charters to try to match the Picard language
Picard language
Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

 of the 11th to 14th century and as Haismont-Caisnoit;The Kaisnoit;The Caisnoy;Caisnoit; and Quesnoyt in property titles of the same period (surveys of Hainaut of Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

, and Condé
-Places in France:*Condé, Indre, in the Indre département*Condé-en-Brie, in the Aisne département*Condé-Folie, in the Somme département*Condé-lès-Autry, in the Ardennes département*Condé-lès-Herpy, in the Ardennes département...


Quenoy is the Picard equivalent of existing alternate French chênaie.

Picard, as north of the northern Joret line
Joret line
The Joret line is an isogloss used in the linguistics of the langues d'oïl. Dialects north of the line have preserved Vulgar Latin and before ; dialects south of the line have palatalized and before . This palatalization gave Old French and , then modern French and...

, the group / ca-/ Latin has not evolved as in French quena, formerly Caisne, then Duquesne, ‘oak’ came from the Latin cassinus and may be linked to Fraxinus ‘ash’ of Gallic origin*Cassano. The suffix-oy is the form taken by the Latin suffix -etu(m) in Picard dialect which covers some of northern France and Belgium a few instances elsewhere in the Langue d’oïl etu-(m)'. This suffix is used to denote a set of trees belonging to the same species


The origin of the town walls

While not yet a town at the time of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, the region was occupied by the Nerviens.
Near the Fauroeulx gate of the town in 1933, Roman pottery was discovered. Under the Merovingian and Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

, we find no evidence of a major population centre in the vicinity. However, the historian Jacques de Guise, claims that at that time the town was founded by a brave knight named Aymond, who lived around the year 800:This Aymond was Count of Faumars (Famars) and Ardennes, also by his loyalty to the king, he and all four sons tended the deep wood, where they made a fortress and a place called Carcetus,Le Quesnoy. The legendary story of the epic by Renaud of Montauban the horse Bayard and the four Aymond sons” is still known today from the Ardennes forest to the forest of Orleans).
Despite this assertion, the historian Valenciennes d’Oultreman said he could be a character named Aymon: governor of Ponthieu
Ponthieu was one of six feudal counties that eventually merged together to become part of the Province of Picardy, in northern France. Its chief town is Abbeville.- History :...

? Furthermore, the historian Jules Duvivier would rather name an ancient Count of Hainaut: indeed, in the 8th century, portions of territories around the present town belonged to the Leudes, fellows of the Frankish kings to whom they were granted. In the 9th century, the region was occupied by the Vikings who settled there along rivers. Around the year 842
Year 842 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :* February 14 – Charles the Bald and Louis the German sign a treaty....

 at the time of King Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

, they were blocked at Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

, as the river became too narrow for their boats. Later, the land at Le Queroy became a freehold belonging to the Episcopal mass at Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

 and by the name ofNoflus, latinized from Novem fluctibus. Finally, 1148, the freehold was sold by the Bishop of Cambrai, Nicolas de Chièvres to Count Baldwin IV of Hainaut.

Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin IV was count of Hainaut from 1120 to his death. He was the son of Baldwin III, Count of Hainaut, and Yolande de Wassenberg.-History:...


In the mid-twelfth century , Count of Hainaut Baldwin IV the builder surrounded the town of Quesnoy with ditches and ramparts and also built in 1150 the castle which became an important the center of the fortifications of the town (now the Centre Cernay and the fire station).
This castle had a tower which together with the rest make up a fortress. Alice of Namur
Alice of Namur
Alice of Namur was the heiress of Namur when her brother Henry IV of Luxembourg died childless in 1196. She was the wife of Baldwin IV Count of Hainault...

, wife of Baldwin IV endowed the castle with a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The castle had a park called "Bois du Gard" in which encountered deer, fallow deer and wild game. The park extended to the southeast (to Beaudignies
Beaudignies is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.-Heraldry:-References:*...

 and the edge of it is met with a mill near wetlands known as "the Pond du Gard". Desiring to populate his new fortified town, the Count enacted in 1161 a charter granting privileges to many people: the town prospered and there embraced a ... Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

, aldermen, men of fiefs, (lawyers), a hostel, a hospital and outside, a leper to accommodate lepers (the disease of leprosy had been reported by the Crusaders from the East). Baldwin and his wife were still living, according to the scrolls, in 1169 in Le Quesnoy. The son of the Count (later Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V of Hainaut was count of Hainaut , count of Flanders as Baldwin VIII and margrave of Namur as Baldwin I .-History:...

) married the said year 1169 in Le Quesnoy Margaret of Alsace, sister of Thierry of Alsace Count of Flanders
Count of Flanders
The Count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the abolition of the position by the French revolutionaries in 1790....

: the wedding was gorgeous and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was present in person.

Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V of Hainaut was count of Hainaut , count of Flanders as Baldwin VIII and margrave of Namur as Baldwin I .-History:...


Baldwin V of Hainaut inherited in 1171 the title of Count of Hainaut in the death of his father, he was nicknamed The Brave (he was also later Baldwin VIII of Flanders). The new count, however, preferred to remain in Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

 rather than Le Quesnoy. In 1184, the count had to struggle against a coalition from the sire of Avesnes, the Count of Brabant and his brother the Count of Flanders
Count of Flanders
The Count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the abolition of the position by the French revolutionaries in 1790....

 : the Hainaut was ravaged on all sides. Unable to defend Le Quesnoy, the Count of Hainaut, with the consent of the inhabitants, burned the town so the attackers could not occupy it: the Quercitains took refuge in their castle and victoriously resisted the assaults of the Count of Flanders
Count of Flanders
The Count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the abolition of the position by the French revolutionaries in 1790....

During the siege, Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut
Baldwin V of Hainaut was count of Hainaut , count of Flanders as Baldwin VIII and margrave of Namur as Baldwin I .-History:...

 was in Mons
Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

, collecting and concentrating his troops. The Count of Flanders then came to the ramparts of Mons
Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

 to try to take the town: it resisted. It was the same for the town of Maubeuge
Maubeuge is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is situated on both banks of the Sambre , east of Valenciennes and about from the Belgian border.-History:...

Meanwhile, at Le Quesnoy, the Lord of Trazegnies who commanded the garrison made a sortie and surprised the Flemish in their camp at Viesly

. Peace between the warring parties finally intervened. Le Quesnoy rose from its ruins and became the favorite residence of the Counts of Hainaut who indulged in hunting and maintained a brilliant court. From 1194, Count Baldwin V settled permanently in Le Quesnoy. That same year, Pierre Pitens, the Count’s chaplain, founded a small hospital that was equipped with incomes of land: the hospital will be the source of the Abbey of St. Elizabeth, Le Quesnoy (in rue Achille-Carlier in the town) that occupant came from the Augustinian Abbey Prémy near Cambrai.

Baldwin VI, Count of Hainaut 

Baldwin VI of Hainaut nicknamed of Constantinople (he was also Baudouin IX Count of Flanders) succeeded in 1195 the title of Count of Hainaut following the death of his father. Born in Valenciennes in 1171, he later married Marie of Champagne, niece of the King of France — at that time there were very close links with France. Philip II of France
Philip II of France
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

, King of France, married Isabella of Hainaut, sister of Baldwin VI. It also brought together in his hands the county of Flanders. In 1200, he took the cross (left on a Crusade) and left the regency of his dominions to his brother Philip of Namur, his uncle William and Bouchard IV of Avesnes
Bouchard IV of Avesnes
Bouchard IV was the lord of Avesnes and Étrœungt. He was the son of James of Avesnes and Adela of Guise and brother of Walter, Count of Blois by marriage....

 (tutor to his youngest daughter Margaret II of Flanders). Later he was elected by the Crusaders Emperor of Constantinople, but was captured in 1205 by the Greek allies to the Bulgarians: he never reappeared. He left two daughters, Jeanne and Marguerite P. Abbot.

Joan, Countess of Flanders 

With no trace of her father Baldwin VI since the year 1205 his eldest daughter, Joan of Flanders (also known as Joan de Constantinople), heiress of Flanders and Hainaut, took the reins of both states: in 1211 she married her cousin Ferdinand of Portugal (choice proposed by the King of France, her uncle) why became through her Count of Flanders. But Flanders was allied with the English and the Germans: there followed a war with the King of France and Joan's husband was taken prisoner until 1227. Joan, who lived in Le Quesnoy castle since her marriage, held various meetings with key figures in the town. However she left the town in 1225, as a minstrel-adventurer, Bertrand de Rays, living in the woods of Glançon, pretended to be her father and intended to retake his land. In 1233, she returned and did improve the hospital in the town founded by Peter Pitens, enlarged the castle (the high Watchtower). Under the castle, extended the cellars and passages that still exist today. Her husband died in 1233 and in 1237 she married a second husband, Thomas of Savoy, who became a benefactor of Le Quesnoy. This served incidentally to improve the breeds of the country by bringing in bulls of Savoy and of Messin. He also brought horses from Italy and Spain, sheep from Catalonia, which yielded fine highly regarded wool, imbuing the drapers of Le Quesnoy with great renown: they mixed them with silk to make fabrics called Sayette. The cloth industry, widespread in Flanders, was also located in the town of Le Quesnoy.

Margaret II of Flanders 

In 1244, the death of her older sister who had no offspring, Marguerite of Hainaut and of Flanders (also known as Margaret of Constantinople as second daughter of Baldwin VI of Hainaut) inherited Flanders and Hainaut. She was nicknamed the Black for her dishonorable conduct. From her first marriage in Le Quesnoy in 1212, with Bouchard Avesnes, her teacher she had chosen herself, she had two surviving sons, John and Baldwin of Avesnes. She divorced, for reasons unknown (Bouchard belonged, however, to English stock) and married again in 1223, a knight of Champagne, Guillaume de Dampierre
William II of Dampierre
William II was the lord of Dampierre from 1216 until his death. He was the son of Guy II, constable of Champagne, and Matilda, heiress of Bourbon.His brother, Archambaud VIII, inherited Bourbon and he Dampierre...

 who gave her three sons, and she tried to help (them) by bequest and inheritance: what proved the origin of a quarrel that engulfed Hainaut and Flanders. Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

, King of France, was called to serve as arbitrator: the king, after taking advice, apportioned Flanders to the Dampierres and Hainaut to the Avesnes. However, despite this wise decision, fighting continued between members of two families. In Le Quesnoy and its environs Margaret Hainaut had, in addition to land, a wealth of manorial rights: duties on goods brought to the market, rights on meat and beer sold, rights over the entry and exit of goods; rights over the number of the mills and ovens, rights over products of rivers etc. She preferred to lease it all through an annual fee: between 1274 and 1277, a citizen of Le Quesnoy called Clarembault settled an annual fee of 2925 pounds. Also, a cartulary of the said Margaret tells us that in Le Quesnoy at that time there were about six hundred properties, and they measured up to 33m long and 13m wide on the road; there were nine bread ovens in the town that residents were subjected to forced labor, such as to provide firewood to the castle, but in return, they could collect dead wood; in case of war the call to Quercitains would be twenty-four hours after that to the Valenciennes.

John I of Avesnes
John I of Avesnes
John I of Avesnes was the count of Hainaut from 1246 to his death. Born in Houffalize, he was the eldest son of Margaret II of Flanders by her first husband, Bouchard IV of Avesnes...


In 1279, John I of Hainaut (or John II of Avesnes), son of another John and Margaret of Holland, son and grandson of Margaret II of Flanders, acceded to the County of Hainaut following the death of his grandmother. He preferred to live in Mons rather than in Le Quesnoy. In perpetual struggle against the Dampierres, he could not so much as collect additional taxes on his middle classes, that they, in desperation, seeing their industries decline, appealed to the Count of Flanders, Dampierre. A truce was concluded October 14, 1292, through the intervention of the Duke John I of Brabant who was given custody of Le Quesnoy castle, until the conclusion of a peace treaty: the treaty became effective in 1297. But John made the people who had previously dared to make an appeal against him to the Count of Flanders regret their behaviour: many citizens of Hainaut were imprisoned and died in the castle vaults of Le Quesnoy. Drapers and weavers of (with their jobs and know-how) started to flee Le Quesnoy even before 1292, we find some settled in the city of Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

 in Champagne. John who did not like Le Quenoy, offered it in 1301 by will to his son Raoul de Clermont, Constable of France. He, however, was killed in 1302 in battle of Courtrai
Battle of Courtrai
The Battle of Courtrai may refer to:*Battle of Courtrai , better known as the Battle of the Golden Spurs, in which the French king fought Flemish militia*Battle of Courtrai , in which the French Revolutionary Army fought the First Coalition...

. He then left the town in appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

 to Gauthier, lord of Enghien and to Jacques de Verchain Seneschal of Hainaut, provided that if his wife Philippa of Luxembourg survived him, the town and its revenues should revert to him, she was widowed in 1304 and it actually reverted to John that year.

William I, Count of Hainaut
William I, Count of Hainaut
William I, Count of Hainaut was Count William III of Avesnes, Count William III of Holland and Count William II of Zeeland from 1304 to his death...


In 1304, William I, the second son of John Avesnes, succeeded his father and took the title of Count of Hainaut: he was nicknamed the Good and married 19 May 1305 Joan of Valois (1294-1352), sister of the king of France, Philip VI of France
Philip VI of France
Philip VI , known as the Fortunate and of Valois, was the King of France from 1328 to his death. He was also Count of Anjou, Maine, and Valois from 1325 to 1328...

: The couple lived in Le Quesnoy frequently. The count in 1314, improved and strengthened the fortifications and, in 1318, in order to promote trade, he allowed wealthy Lombard bankers to settle in the town. In 1327 Philippa of Hainault
Philippa of Hainault
Philippa of Hainault, or, Philippe de Hainaut was the Queen consort of King Edward III of England. Edward, Duke of Guyenne, her future husband, promised in 1326 to marry her within the following two years...

, his was asked for her hand in marriage by King Edward III of England
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

: the marriage was celebrated in 1328 in York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, (England). At that time, William of Hainault had an excellent relationship with Flanders, England and France.

William II, Count of Hainaut
William II, Count of Hainaut
William II, Count of Hainaut was William IV of Avesnes, William IV of Holland and William III of Zeeland from 1337 to his death, succeeding his father, William I. He married Joanna, Duchess of Brabant and Limburg in 1334, but had no issue.- Military career and death :William fought in France as...


In 1337, William II the Hardy, succeeded his father as Count of Hainault. The Hundred Years War began and being a vassal state of the Holy Roman Empire, the Count was led to take sides with the Flemish and the King of England against France, despite the family ties binding it to the latter. Therefore, 22 May 1340, Le Quesnoy was besieged by John, Duke of Normandy (son of Philip VI of France
Philip VI of France
Philip VI , known as the Fortunate and of Valois, was the King of France from 1328 to his death. He was also Count of Anjou, Maine, and Valois from 1325 to 1328...

 with the royal troops; the Duke and his father did not accept that Count of Hainaut had rallied to the English. The inhabitants of the town defended themselves. Fortunately, they were well equipped with soldiers, weapons and artillery they had previously equipped the town walls with cannon ("batons of fire"), machinery and small cannons mounted on carriages which were used against the French attackers led by Marshal Mirepoix. The "Chronicles of Jean Froissart
Jean Froissart
Jean Froissart , often referred to in English as John Froissart, was one of the most important chroniclers of medieval France. For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century Kingdom of England and France...

" mention the siege as follows:(1340) .. Those of the town (= the besieged Le Quesnoy) unleashed against them (= the French troops) guns and machinery that threw large paving tiles. These tiles were generally made of iron, but could be also be made of stone and tourniquets fire as they could find at very short notice in places under siege. The horses of the attackers were scared by the noise of the artillery which scattered iron and stone projectiles against them that could cause serious injury (equally to the riders), so they in this case against such weapons had no choice but to withdraw. The French, angry at having been repulsed by the artillery of the town, moved out of spite on the surrounding villages, which they then burned such as Gommegnies, Frasnoy, Château de Potelle, Wargnies-le-Grand, Wargnies-le-Petit.. (Notes 1.) Historians speak of the war machines without surprise, because they were more embarrassing than effective, and that no one foresaw the revolution that would make the discovery of gunpowder. In Europe around the year 1326 in Italy the first weapons loaded with powder were encountered. 2.) This siege is also interesting by the fact that there was no hand to hand combat and a new conception of the war by means of firearms was about to emerge : Artillery will quickly become indispensable to all wars and/or sieges.)

Margaret II, Countess of Hainault 

Margaret, in 1345, succeeded following the death in Friesland of her brother William II. In 1345, she granted to foreigners, of whichever countries they might be, the faculty to enjoy the same rights as residents of Le Quesnoy provided that they fix their residence in the town. She married Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 became a widow of her husband in 1347: when she moved to Le Quesnoy where she stayed until the end of her life, and made the castle her preferred home. The cloth industry flourished there at that time: indeed, when the cloth industry of Mons was reorganized in 1352 it called upon clothmaking specialists of Le Quesnoy and a fuller
Fulling or tucking or walking is a step in woolen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker...

 was even called to settle in Mons with his working material.

William I, Duke of Bavaria
William I, Duke of Bavaria
William I, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing , was the second son of the emperor Louis IV the Bavarian from his second wife Margaret of Holland and Hainaut...

 and the regent Albert of Holland 

On the death of his mother Margaret in 1356, William became Count William III of Hainault and William V of Holland. But returning from a trip to England in 1358, he was suffering from madness and initially to prevent harm, was imprisoned in The Hague, then in the tower of the Castle of Le Quesnoy, in which he remained for more than twenty years. His brother, Albert, Duke of Bavaria, secured the regency of his States, pending the majority of his son William VI, Count of Holland. Albert of Bavaria did not entertain good relations with particular subjects of Hainaut, he arrested Sir Sohier of Enghien at a banquet and locked him in Le Quesnoy, for causing him umbrage. The peers of Hainaut protested and petitioned the lord of Ligne: in reply, the Duke beheaded the lord of Enghien and seized his lands. In 1365, civil war sparked in Hainaut, which was ended in 1376, by the promise of Albert of Bavaria to found a mass in the church of Le Quesnoy dedicated to the repose of the soul of the lord executed, as well as providing monetary compensation for his orphans.

William II, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing
William II, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing
Duke William II of Bavaria-Straubing KG was also count William VI of Holland, count William IV of Hainaut and count William V of Zeeland. He ruled from 1404 until 1417, when he died of a dog bite. William was a son of Albert I and Margaret of Brieg.-Biography:William, allied with the Hooks, was...

 and Margaret of Burgundy
Margaret of Burgundy, Duchess of Bavaria
Margaret of Burgundy was a daughter of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy and Margaret III, Countess of Flanders. By her marriage to William of Bavaria, she would, in 1404, become Duchess of Bavaria.-Family:...


The good relationship between the young William II (Count William IV of Hainault) and the bourgeois is Le Quesnoy resulted in the rapid construction of beautiful round towers surrounding the town (partially destroyed in the 16th Century on the construction of the new walls). In 1405 he reached his majority and was nicknamed the Good. He was married first wife, Mary, daughter of the King of France, Charles V. His marriage was barren so he contracted a new alliance (April 12, 1385) with Margaret, daughter of Philip the Bold, known for this reason, in the history of Le Quesnoy by the name of Margaret of Burgundy. Margaret stood out throughout her life by her good works, and moreover, she had to take an important role in the town. During his reign, William IV granted many privileges including to the bowmen of Le Quesnoy. Le Quesnoy reached its peak of power and fame. The town was well protected and supplied, and was able to sell to the towns of the Somme and others darts, crossbows and guns.

Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
Jacqueline of Wittelsbach was Duchess of Bavaria-Straubing, Countess of Hainaut and Holland from 1417 to 1432...


In 1417, Jacqueline, born in Le Quesnoy in 1401, succeeded to the title of Countess of Hainaut, following the death of her father William IV. She was nicknamed The Woman with four husbands as she had an eventful life: the cause of much pain for the town, Hainaut and the other states under her authority. Betrothed at 22 months and at five years to John, Dauphin of France (1398-1417), second son of King Charles VI of France, she would become widowed in 1417. From that time, Jacqueline lived with her mother in the castle. A year later, she married her cousin John IV, Duke of Brabant
John IV, Duke of Brabant
John IV, Duke of Brabant was the son of Antoine of Burgundy, Duke of Brabant, Lothier and Limburg.John IV was the second Brabantian ruler of the House of Valois....

: the couple did not get along. In 1421, under the pretext of a trip to Bouchain she went to England whose court received her with respect and without waiting for the annulment by the Pope of her marriage to the Duke of Brabant, married Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, brother of King Henry V of England. This was the beginning of a new war: Gloucester and Brabant each claiming their right to rule the territories of Jacqueline. One misfortune often leads to another; and in 1423, the towns of the provost of Le Quesnoy were not spared by the battles between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians: and were spoiled by bands such as "thieves de Guise", and "thieves and brigands of all kinds". In 1424, the town, which since 1420 had lost some of its rights, such as the hereditary bailiwick of the Vénerie stood up against the Duke of Brabant, permitting Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester to occupy the country. Jacqueline directed her governance of Le Quesnoy until 1425. Given the extent of the events caused by her third marriage, she left Le Quesnoy and took refuge in Mons, where she was captured and taken to the home of her cousin Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy in Ghent, which again she escaped. She continued the fight and became victorious: the Duke of Brabant (her second husband) died in 1427. However, her territories declared allegiance to her cousin Philip the Good. In the Treaty of Delft
Treaty of Delft
The Treaty of Delft, also called the Reconciliation of Delft, was signed on 3 July 1428 between Jacqueline of Bavaria and Philip the Good, Count of Flanders and Duke of Burgundy. The agreement ended hostilities between the kingdom of England and the county of Flanders...

 in 1428, she retired to Holland, where she married secretly Frans van Borsele, Stadhouder of Holland, tasked with guarding her (she was 27 years old). On hearing this, her heir and cousin Philip the Good, decided on killing the fourth husband: to save him, Jacqueline gave up her rights over her lands. On the death of Jacqueline in 1436 without issue, Hainaut including Le Quesnoy became, by law, Burgundian possessions. That same year, one of the bands of "routiers" across France, who had fought the British but now being laid off, commanded by Chabannes and other leaders fought against Hainaut, where it gained a justified nickname of "the Skinners". The nearby Mormal forest served as a refuge to the inhabitants of the villages of Le Quesnoy, who were not too perturbed; although an expeditionary force formed by Jean de Croy had been beaten by the Skinners, who fortunately withdrew after their victory to Champagne.

Philip the Good Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...


In the 15th Century Le Quesnoy was the ideal holiday resort of the Dukes of Burgundy: they organized lavish parties, and in their moments of relaxation in the country they hunted, their favorite sport, in the nearby Mormal forest which happened to be the specific domain of the Counts of Hainaut. During these hunts, deer were hunted (for their meat of choice, their fur and antlers used for decoration), wolves (due to attacking the sheep), wild dogs (as carriers of rabies) and badgers (as their fur was in great demand). From this forest were also taken the best wild foals (although made quite docile by the presence of man over time) which later would take part in parades to honour the combat of the troops of the Count of Hainaut

Under the Treaty of Delft in 1428 with Jacqueline, Philip the Good of Burgundy became the heir of Hainaut: he officially took possession in 1436 becoming the new Count of Hainault. However he left his aunt, Margaret of Burgundy, the mother of the late Jacqueline, the enjoyment of manors, the income, and the castle of the castle of Le Quesnoy dubbed the “Castle of Margaret of Burgundy. She set up a perpetual foundation for the poor of the town which at that time stood at 300 gold florins as irrevocable annuity: This annuity endured the centuries, since in 1960 the office of Beneficence of Le Quesnoy continued to manage the donation. Upon her death in 1441, the castle became the residence of successive lords representing the Duke. These lords later became captain-governors then governors. With the advent of these lords, the provost’s primarily judicial function was reassigned in their favor. The role of provost dates from 1181 in the reign of Baldwin V. The provost chaired a meeting of 32 “jurors of peace“, of which 16 were selected from prominent citizens of Le Quesnoy and the rest were selected from within the jurisdiction of the provost and had to have land to be eligible. For a decision to be valid 16 jurors had to be present. From 1440, the function of the lord took considerable importance: he was to govern, keep guard of the town (watches day and night), maintain the town’s rights, monitor the stipends granted to various officers of the town, and finally account to the Duke of Burgundy he represented. Many parchments of that time are in the departmental archives in Lille mentioning the lords appointed: Jean de Mons, followed in 1446 by Jean Parding; in 1451, the Lord de Haubourdin, in 1459, Guillaume Delcourt/De Le Court, in 1465, François d’Est as the first captain-governor in 1469, Jean de Rosembos, Lord of Fromelles. This role continued until the French Revolution In 1442 a fire devastated the town: most homes up to that time were built of wood. In 1444, Philip the Good came to Quesnoy, after defending the town against bands of robbers who operated regularly since 1441 in the region and called "skinners, house-robbers and shearers." He also fixed a weekly market on Tuesday and two annual fairs (on the second Monday of Lent, and 25 October, Saint Crispin’s day). In 1449, a new fire destroyed Le Quesnoy: Duke donated 356 oak trees from the nearby forest or Mormal and also established a hospice in the town called "Les Chartrières"

Le Quesnoy in the Renaissance

According to a survey for the Dukes of Burgundy dated1466 for areas of, the town of Quesnoy was also the seat of a district led by a Provost in the County of Hainaut comprising the following settlements (simply called "villes"): Amfroipret, Batiches, Beaudignies, Beaurain, Berlaimont, Bermerain, Bousies, Briastre, Bry, Busegnies, Caudry, la Chapelle, Croix-Caluyau, Englefontaine, Escarmain, Eth, Fontaine-au-Bois, Forest(-en-Cambresis), Frasnoy, Ghissignies, Gommegnies, Harbegnies (Herbignies : a hamlet situated by the gate of the forest de Mormal), Haveluy, Haussy, Hecq, Jenlain, Le Quesnoy, Louvignies-Quesnoy, Malmaison, Maresches, Marbaix, Maroilles, Molaing, Neuville, Noyelles-sur-Sambre, Orsinval, Poix(-du-Nord), Potelle, Preux-au-Bois, Preux-au-Sart, Raucourt, Robersart, Romeries, Ruesnes, Salesches, St.-Martin, St.-Python, Sassegnies, Sepmeries, Solesmes, Sommaing, Taisnières-en-Thiérache, Vendegies-au-Bois, Vendegies-sur-Ecaillon, Vertain, Villereau, Villers-Pol, Wagnonville (hamlet), Wargnies-le-Grand, Wargnies-le-Petit.

Charles the Bold 

On June 5, 1467 Charles, born Comte de Charolois, who was later called usually translated as "the Bold" succeeded his father as the Duke of Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands
Burgundian Netherlands
In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482...

 including Count of Hainaut. In 1468, he came in the town of Le Quesnoy who greeted him with great fanfare. He had lived there from the age of seven, after the death of his mother, with his aunt Beatrice of Portugal
Beatrice of Portugal
Beatrice was the only surviving child of King Ferdinand I of Portugal and his wife, Leonor Telles de Menezes. She married King John I of Castile. In the absence of a male heir, she claimed the throne of Portugal, supported by her husband. This led to the 1383–1385 Crisis, in which the Portuguese...

. In 1454, he even gave a grand banquet at Le Quesnoy after his wedding with Isabella of Bourbon
Isabella of Bourbon
Isabella of Bourbon, Countess of Charolais was the second wife of Charles the Bold, Count of Charolais and future Duke of Burgundy. She was a daughter of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon and Agnes of Burgundy, and the mother of Mary of Burgundy, heiress of Burgundy.-Life:Not much is known about her life...

 his second wife. In 1463, he also intervened in the town concerning a case of witchcraft difficult to resolve: he arrested a man named Charles de Noyers in the service of the Comte d'Estampes. The beguiling King of France, Louis XI
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

, was apparently not entirely innocent in this matter: the powerful Duke of Burgundy took umbrage upon him. During his reign, Charles the Bold did nothing but make war: his desire was to recreate a single realm, as the former Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

 (from which Lorraine is named), between Burgundy and the Netherlands (he envisaged a Burgundian domination from the North Sea to Sicily).

Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death...

 and Maximilian Archduke of Austria, later Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...


In 1477, Charles the Bold died at the battle of Nancy. Immediately Louis XI of France
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

 entered Hainaut with 7000 men at arms and a powerful artillery. He stood before Le Quesnoy on May 23, 1477, but was repelled. He returned some time later and succeeded after intense bombardment (nearly 900 balls thrown) to take the town, leaving his fair archers to rush through the open breach, but torrential rain halted the fighting. However, the town surrendered the next day and preferred to pay 900 gold crowns to prevent looting: the King of France had lost 500 men at arms in the venture! The same year the young duchess Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death...

 married Maximilian of Austria (head of the house of Habsburg) and in 1478 his troops drove the French out of the county of Hainaut. The Lord of Danmartin, given custody of the town in 1477 by Louis XI, found himself in a hurry to get away.

The town and province of Quesnoy were also given in dowry to Margaret of York
Margaret of York
Margaret of York – also by marriage known as Margaret of Burgundy – was Duchess of Burgundy as the third wife of Charles the Bold and acted as a protector of the Duchy after his death. She was a daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the sister of...

, the third wife of Charles the Bold of Burgundy upon marriage in Damme, Flanders, 1468. She was also the sister of Kings Edward IV and Richard III of England. A conscientious noblewoman and aware of her duchess status as a political contract (cementing the politico-economic links of Burgundy-Netherlands-England), she was an informed advisor to her husband, and after his death, to Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria, the new sovereigns of the Netherlands and Hainaut. At that time, several men of fiefs and legal representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy officiated at Le Quesnoy in the administration of Hainaut, such as Jehan de Longchamp, Jacquemart du Parc, Jacquemart de Surie, Enguerrand le Jeune. This feudal organization was superimposed on the manorial organization that was the foundation, which called these men of fiefs to preside over the complexity and tangle of fiefs and under-fiefs and their rights and changes over time: the seals of those "notaires" appended to the deeds they passed conferred full authority and exempted the use the seal of the Bailiwick (of the municipal administration, today).

Philip the Handsome 

On his wife Mary of Burgundy’s demise in 1482, Maximilian of Austria gave to his son Philip the Handsome, still a child, his mother’s inheritance, thus Hainaut passed to Austria. As to Le Quesnoy, it no longer served as favorite home to the new princes: the remoteness of the court was detrimental to the town. In 1492, the population which had previously more than 800 heads of families was reduced to a quarter of its former size. The Court had moved to Mons with many middle-class families and many trades following. Le Quesnoy from this time was seen as a stronghold under the authority of lords and captains-governors: in 1478, The Lord de Maingoval, Count of Chimay took this role. In 1493, we find Robert de Melun, in 1499, John of Luxembourg, in 1511, Philippe de Belleforière, Lord of Romeries and of Caudry. Maximilian of Austria kept a considerable bastion in Le Quesnoy to withstand the incessant incursions of the French settled in Cambrai. At that time, the religious communities in the town, already very numerous, developed in peace yet appointments of the heads of these establishments had to be made with the consent of the central government. Philip the Handsome , the ruler upon attaining the age of majority, married Joanna of Castile and Aragon
Joanna of Castile
Joanna , nicknamed Joanna the Mad , was the first queen regnant to reign over both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon , a union which evolved into modern Spain...

. In 1500 Philip gave the castle of Le Quesnoy to his sister Margaret of Austria (later regent of the Netherlands under her godson Charles V). Philip, the local prince born, raised and loved by people in the Netherlands died in 1506, leaving two infant sons: Charles of Luxembourg, later Charles V of Spain and Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

, the succession of the nations.

Charles V of Spain 

Charles was born in Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

 in 1500, educated and advised by the Hainaut tutor Guillaume de Croÿ, Lord of Chièvres in whom he gave his full confidence upon succeeding his father in 1515. Upon the death of his maternal grandfather in 1516, he became undisputed King of Spain and its rich colonies. He became, in 1520 elected the new Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Amassing so much power in the hands of one man whose states surrounded France led to the inevitable: Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 and Charles V of Spain were in perpetual strife and wars during their respective reigns. At that time, the garrison of Quesnoy composed of a Walloon company 200 soldiers, commanded by a governor named by Antoine de Croÿ, Lord of Thour and Sempy. The company had to increase the bourgeois ranks of artillery (created in 1517), archers (existing since 1379) and officers, enjoying special privileges. In 1521, the King of France made his raids in Hainaut and ravaged Ostrevant. In 1523, Charles V came to Le Quesnoy to fight the French raids and strengthened the fortifications of the town which had not been changed since 1314. It was then that the walls of the ramparts, still currently existing, were built on the foundations of the original enclosure. A new design of fortifications had been born at the end of 15th Century developed by the Italians. It was to divide the angles of the fortifications, the towers, which, projecting from the enclosure while remaining attached to them, allowed defenders to fire at all angles against the attackers (also allowing the use of artillery). The invention of these bastions offered shooting in all directions and the stronghold of Quesnoy did not escape this rule hence in 1534, Charles V’s engineer, Frate da Modena (Jacopo Seghizzi) drew plans for the refortification and to replace the medieval walls. To defend Le Quesnoy now were new towers (bastion Impérial, bastion César, bastion Soyez, bastion Saint-Martin et bastion Vert) and four gates (Porte de la Flamengerie, porte de Valenciennes, porte Saint-Martin, porte Fauroeulx) and the work took nearly 20 years! The last tower of the few preserved earlier towers was demolished in 1885. In 1540, Charles returned to Le Quesnoy accompanied by the Dauphin of France and the Duke Orleans (both sons of Francis) as a 10-year truce was signed in 1538 between the belligerents. He returned in 1543 also to check the progress of the work to the town and its fortifications. At this time he ordered the closure of the Gate of Flamengerie to allow flooding around the ramparts. These great works monopolized the activity of town residents who took full advantage of this period of relative calm for entertainment with major feasts and festivals of jubilation: we saw for a time here various companies promoted and sponsored by local lords and monasteries with rich costumes and playing drums and trumpets. Also in 1543, Francis reappeared with an army of 40,000 men and captured Landrecies, Maubeuge and D’Aymeries and Berlaimont castles: establishing his headquarters at the Abbey of Maroilles: these gains were ceded to Charles V under the Treaty of Crépy in 1544. In 1554 Henri II of France fought against Charles V and took Le Quesnoy, but could not hold it: famine prevailed in the town, as the province had been devastated by the rekindled war.

Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....


After the abdication in 1555, of free will, of Charles V, his son Philip II of Spain succeeded to Spain and its rich American colonies, Italy and the Spanish Netherlands (including Hainaut). The reign of the new sovereign was characterized by the struggle against reformed religion harshly repressed by the Inquisition. The rebels, the Huguenots called "beggars" or "image breakers" began their campaign in 1566, attacking churches and desecrating any object of worship: August 24 of that year, all the churches in the town of Valenciennes were occupied and ransacked by a thousand of these rebels. Faced with this threat, the garrison of Quesnoy November 24 attacked with 80 guns and the Huguenots entrenched themselves in Valenciennes. March 23, 1567, the Huguenots surrendered their arms and the repression by Spanish was too severe, which displeased the people. In response, the following year, November 12, the Prince of Orange, the spiritual leader of the Reformed Church, attacked a body of Spanish soldiers under the walls of Le Quesnoy and then captured the town. The Duke of Alba, Governor of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of Spain defeated the same year the Prince of Orange at Le Quesnoy. In 1569, it was decided to top the watchtower of the castle with an octagonal belvedere 17 m (the tower existed until 1768: it was destroyed on that date by a hurricane). From 1572, the Protestants supported by the French pillaged the area for several years, because of these facts Sieur Guillaume de Hornes Heze (who realigned with the nobility and the people of Hainaut in dissatisfaction with the Spanish military presence) was executed in 1580 in Le Quesnoy for having attended the Bishop of Cambrai. The result was a growing hatred of the population vis-à-vis Spain and its king. At that time, the abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Maroilles, Frederick d’Yve (born in Bavai) became councilor of state and played a key role as intermediary in negotiations between the warring parties in the Netherlands : the representatives of the Protestants led by the Prince of Orange; and the representatives of the Catholic King Philip II of Spain. In 1581 seven northern provinces of the Spanish Netherlands, however, joined a Protestant secession and declared their independence under the name "United Provinces". In 1583, the Magistrate (a Mayeur, four aldermen, a treasurer and a prosecutor) decided to build a town hall and a belfry. Meanwhile, and until 1593, the rebels were fought: only after this date did calm recover in the Le Quesnoy province.

Philip III of Spain
Philip III of Spain
Philip III , also known as Philip the Pious, was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II , from 1598 until his death...


Another Philip succeeded as head of the Spanish Empire in 1598. He made peace with all the old enemies: the Spanish Netherlands were administered by the Archduke Albert and his wife the Infanta Isabella under the tutelage of Spain. The region bathed in a period of peace in the first third of the 17th Century. The garrison of Le Quesnoy was increased at that time to station 3000 armed men. As there was not enough room in the barracks of the town, use was made to lodge some of the men with the citizens but protests ensued from the population. In 1616 the convent of Récollets was founded at a place called "L’Hermitage," near the town walls east of the Rue du Gard: its mission was to assist the clergy.

Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...


Another Philip succeeded as head of the Spanish Empire in 1621. In his time the castle’s restoration was completed in 1625 and the town in 1631 gave 50,000 florins to borrow to pay off its debts. In 1635, France under the influence of Richelieu allied to the United Provinces (Dutch Protestant) and sent its heralds to the Grand Sablon / Grote Zavel Square in Brussels for a declaration of war against Spain dragging the southern Spanish Netherlands (including Hainaut) into the turmoil of the fourth phase so-called " French phase" of the Thirty Years War, between the French and Dutch versus a Hispano-Austrian-German alliance. Hainaut at that time was criss-crossed by all troops and vehicles of war and requisitions impoverished rural areas. This misfortune led to another ... in 1639, an epidemic became widespread throughout the region and many people perished in Le Quesnoy. In 1648, the Prince of Ligne came to Le Quesnoy with 4,000 men equipped with artillery and prepared to defense operations, which were needed to counter the advance of French troops. The following year, the property belonging to the French in the town was confiscated. August 31, 1651, the Hispanic-Hainaut garrison at Le Quesnoy won one last success in the walls of the town. But, September 4, 1654, the Vicomte de Turenne at the head of the French army stood before Le Quesnoy with a powerful artillery: he seized the town whilst the Spanish before leaving tried to render useless the fortifications by damaging the most out of walls. Turenne became master, cleverly foiled the plans of Condé (the Great Condé, Duc d'Enghien, then in the service of Spain).

Le Quesnoy becomes French

At the end of the Fronde
The Fronde was a civil war in France, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. The word fronde means sling, which Parisian mobs used to smash the windows of supporters of Cardinal Mazarin....

 in 1654, the town was taken by the French royal army of Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne,often called simply Turenne was the most illustrious member of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. He achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France...

. The town that was never French becomes it to the great pleasure of the court. The young King Louis XIV received the town as a sacred gift.

The town was then put in the hands of a man from Mazarin, Talon nicknamed ‘of Le Quesnoy’ administered the town that officially became French in 1659 under the Treaty of the Pyrenees
Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

. During this transitional period, many properties of the bourgeois came under the control of war profiteers who were local and French.

Le Quesnoy transformed

An advanced bastion of France until 1678 when Valenciennes became French, the fortifications of Quesnoy were modified and reinforced by the very young Vauban who made in some way his classes. The existing five bastions were amended or supplemented to create a body eight strong. The northern areas (Royal bastion) and south (Gard stronghold) are most representative of the action of Vauban. However, in the old regime of France where clientele took precedence over skills or even economy, the work was not awarded to local contractors.

Despite the good reputation of the fortification work begun under the direction of Louvois and Vauban, the fortification was quickly outdated and the town was taken in 1712 by the imperialists in 6 days. The governor of the town of Mr. de la Badie, was made to explain his alleged "mediocre" resistance. He was quickly released because the French besieged the town under Claude Louis Hector de Villars, in the hands of the Austrians, could only resist one day or seven days more under the orders of the old French military,.

The experience of easy capture of the town led the authorities to strengthen the sector of the fortifications by which had the Imperials had attacked in 1712. A huge hornwork, unique in the world, was then built to protect the vicinity called Fauroeulx and the gate of the same name. The work in question divided the supply ponds into two, known today under the names of The Red Bridge Pond and The Blessed Pond. These two ponds supplying water to flood the ditches in case of siege, were supplemented by two other ponds no longer exist (the pond d’Aulnoye and that of L’Ecaillon in the forest of Mormal).

In the 18th Century that is to say, the reign of Louis XV and the beginning of the reign of Louis XVI, was relatively peaceful for the northern border. In fact, travelers passing by the town were astonished at the friendliness of Quercitains who gained a reputation, as flattering as it was, as "pretty people," that is to say, polite people.

Le Quesnoy during the Revolution

It was the chief town of the District of Quesnoy from 1790 to 1795.

The city on the border of the young republic was taken by the Austrians and then again in July 1794 by the troops of Scherer after a severe siege in a downpour. 3000 Austrians were taken prisoner on this occasion. The news of the capture of the city was sent within hours by telegraph Chappe, a world first, at the delegation of the Parisian public that greeted it.

In late imperial times, the city was taken without much resistance by the Dutch during a mock siege. At the end of Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815, it was decided that the city was to be occupied by Russian troops for three years. Relations between Quercitains and Russians are friendly to the point that many marriages are between Russian officers and the local ladies. This relationship, although one officer left his wife to return Russia, between the town and empire of the Tsars, is also recalled when the Franco-Russian accord became the cornerstone of the alliance system of Third Republic on the eve of the Great War.

However, the city exhausted by that time, would never regain the prestige that made it the second largest city in French Hainaut.

Le Quesnoy in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


The town was taken after August 23, 1914 by German troops and suffered a harsh occupation for four years. Thus the mayor of the town, Achille Carlier, and was unjustly condemned for hiding the wounded French and English with the arrival of German troops. Achille Carlier, convicted by the commander of the place, was tried and defended by a German lawyer in Brussels.

After a difficult approach through the valley of the Ecaillon, the city was released November 4, 1918 by New Zealand troops. In a vast movement of British troops who distinguished themselves in Ghissignies, Louvignies, Jolimetz and Orsinval, taking the old fortress was left to the New Zealand troops encircling the city in following from the west a railway track (now dismantled) and bypassing the Red Bridge Pond near Potelle. A garrison of 1,000 German soldiers, including many defenders beaten in Tournai, was ordered to withstand whatever happens. Civilianss in the city were ordered to evacuate on October 27 but some remained in cellars. On the third refusal to surrender, including one sent by an aircraft, the New Zealand troops decided to launch an assault on the town while preserving it. In the late afternoon, the New Zealand artillery, aided by British artillery, aimed its shots at the top of the walls and managed to confuse the defenders through the use of "oil bombs"
ref>W. E. Murphy, 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery, Historical Publications Branch, 1966, Wellington. Some men led by the second Lieutenant Leslie Averill reached the foot of the ramparts of the southern sector where the remains of the valve of the mill in the town allowed making a ramp to the walls to the consternation of defenders. After street fighting, the city finally fell into the hands of New Zealand in the early evening of November 4, 1918. Taking the Quesnoy and neighboring communities opened the door to the so-called Sambre gap., that is to say the way to Belgium and Germany which precipitated the defeat of Germany. The action of New Zealanders in November 1918 as glorified by the Anglo-Saxon press and by the choice of the New Zealand authorities to install one of four memorials to the young nation there vouches for its excellence in preparation which remains in the memories of New Zealand artillery, for the courage of the soldiers recognized by numerous military citations (over 50 recorded in the London Gazette) and the preservation of the city.

On November 10, 1918, the President Raymond Poincaré
Raymond Poincaré
Raymond Poincaré was a French statesman who served as Prime Minister of France on five separate occasions and as President of France from 1913 to 1920. Poincaré was a conservative leader primarily committed to political and social stability...

 visited the town that re-entered history by its sacrifice. A military parade was then held in a well attended.

On July 15, 1923 the New Zealanders monument was inaugurated. Mayor Daniel Vincent welcomed to the ceremony Marshal Joffre, Lord Milner (a signatory of the Treaty of Versailles) and Sir James Allen, representative of New Zealand.

Le Quesnoy in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

During the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, Generalleutnant Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn
Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn
Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn was a German general during World War II. He commanded the 5th Panzer Brigade in the early fall of 1939, then took charge of the 5th Panzer Division on 8 October 1939. As commander of this division, he participated in the 1940 Battle of France...

 ordered his 5th Panzer Division to invest Le Quesnoy on 18 May 1940. The town was defended by a small force which included a battalion of Moroccan Tirailleurs. The result was a four-day siege which kept von Hartlieb-Walsporn's force in place at a time when other German armoured formations were making rapid progress. Von Hartlieb-Walsporn eventually took Le Quesnoy, but was relieved of his command soon after.

Lieux et monuments

  • Les remparts, édifiés à l'époque espagnole et remaniés par Vauban et ses successeurs jusque 1914.
  • * The walls, built at that time Spanish and edited by Vauban and his successors until 1914.
  • The bastion Verde Hospital siege. The bastion Green is the smallest but the most interesting of bastion
    A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

    s of Quesnoy. Its doors, the oldest, attributed to Charles V, date from about 1540. The work was then modified, enhanced and refined several times. In 1759, the top sides were removed thereby increasing the capacity of the structure and the surface of the bastion. The interior space thus created allowed the addition of four underground rooms accessible only by a courtyard. The superstructure was modified in 1882.
  • The belfry of the Town Hall, solid and chunky, which was destroyed many times, in 1794, 1918 and 1940. The first tower was built in 1583. It now houses a belfry
    Bell tower
    A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

     of 48 bells. Directly adjacent to the belfry, the town hall built in 1700, offers a fine example of classical building. The grand staircase in the lobby is a classified architectural work.

  • The memorial
    A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

     of the town, near the town hall, is a work created by Valenciennes sculptor Félix Desruelles.

  • On the ramparts, another work by Desruelles commemorates the liberation of the city (World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    )by ANZAC troops from New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    . This monument of the New Zealand fixed on a curtain wall between the two bastions of the Gard and Saint-Martin, is dated 1922. Like many memorials of the Great War, it was opened the weekend of July 14, 1923, Sunday 15 to be exact, in the presence of Marshal Joffre, Lord Milner and Sir James Allen (NZ). The New Zealand government decided in 1920 to include his youth lost in stone. Thus, the "jack of all trades" British architect, Samuel Hurst Seager was appointed official architect of the Great War memorials of New Zealand. His work was noticed by a traveling exhibition for "improving the aesthetic standards of memorials" had seduced the local authorities. S. Hurst Seager thus received the task of designing the memorials of Longueval and Le Quesnoy in France, Messines
    Messines may refer to:* Mesen, a village in Belgium**Battle of Messines, World War I,* Messines, Quebec* HMCS Messines, one of twelve Battle class naval trawlers used by the Royal Canadian Navy* Messines, Queensland...

     Chunuk Bair in Gallipoli
    The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

    , four foremost places of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the Great War. In addition to designing, S. Hurst Seager had to find the ideal location of the memorial. So it was he who oversaw the erection of the monument whose implementation was provided by the artist Felix Desruelles the creator of the monument to the dead of the town. The plan of the New Zealanders monument in itself was the work of a designer of the British Flying Corps from Scotland, Robert Henry Fraser, a specialist in plastering and founder of the Art War Memorial Tablet in 1918.

  • In the Cemetery, a marble sculpture given by the state : Les deux douleurs or the two pains, by Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

  • The castle, built in the twelfth century by Baldwin IV of Hainaut, it was the home of the Counts of Hainaut, also Counts of Holland#List of counts of Holland and Counts of Zeeland#List of counts of Zeeland. Its last ruler was a woman who was born at the Castle in 1401. Charles the Bold and his daughter were the last sovereigns to live there. It was later neglected and almost abandoned in the sixteenth century. Of the prestigious Medieval castle there are few vestiges: a gateway and a set of remarkable Romanesque cellars. The current large building called Cernay is mostly 1681.

  • The Tower of Baldwin the Builder. This tower is one of the oldest parts of the fortification. Vulnerable at its top to artillery, this was razed. However, it is home to a beautiful vaulted room, allowing the reception of fifty men.
  • The Fauroeulx gate. It is the only gate that has not suffered in Le Quesnoy from the World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    . It connects the city with the horn work of Faulroeux.
  • The bastion Caesar, which was built under Louis XIV of France
    Louis XIV of France
    Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

     from a structure built by Charles V
    Charles V
    Charles V may refer to:* Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor , also Charles I of Spain* Charles V of Naples , better known as Charles II of Spain* Charles V of France , called the Wise...

    , one hundred and thirty years before. The restoration of the right flank of the bastion in 1991 helped find the artillery embrasures arranged in the sixteenth century, masked by the brick veneer created by Vauban
    Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban and later Marquis de Vauban , commonly referred to as Vauban, was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and breaking through them...

     in the seventeenth century.
  • The chapel of the hospital building curiously built in latticed soft stone, gothic style, is actually a nineteenth century structure and a fine example of neo-gothic architecture of the period.

|image = Le Quesnay Porte Fauroeulx 01.jpg

Born in Le Quesnoy

Margaret of Burgundy (1374-1441)
Olivier Bonnaire
Olivier Bonnaire
Olivier Bonnaire is a French professional road bicycle racer for UCI Professional Continental team .- Palmares :* 2007 Giro d'Italia - 45th* 2006 Giro d'Italia - 115th* 2005 Giro d'Italia - 82nd...

Philip of Cleves
Julien Auguste Joseph Mermet. French Army General
Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
Jacqueline of Wittelsbach was Duchess of Bavaria-Straubing, Countess of Hainaut and Holland from 1417 to 1432...

Ludovic Leroy
Ludovic Leroy
Ludovic Leroy is a French professional footballer. He currently plays in the Championnat de France amateur for SO Romorantin....


Deaths in Le Quesnoy

Margaret II of Hainaut
William III of Hainaut
Baldwin of Avesnes


Eugène Thomas, Mayor of Le Quesnoy (1945–1947, 1953-death). The town's main school bears his name.


Le Quesnoy has two of the giant statues of Nord (Géants du Nord), kept on the first floor of the town hall : Pierre Bimberlot, created in 1904 and Giant Maori, created en 2004. On the first Sunday in August, Pierrot Bimberlot tours the town distributing sweets to onlookers.

The New Zealand troops who liberated the town in 1918 formed from their ranks an entertainment group the digger pierrots in which the actors were made up as Pierrot
Pierrot is a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell'Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne; the name is a hypocorism of Pierre , via the suffix -ot. His character in postmodern popular culture—in...

. The coincidence appears to have gone unnoticed in history.


The arms of Le Quesnoy are blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

ed :
Silver, one oak between two smaller ones, on a green base.
In 1918, the municipality wanted to add a grateful New Zealand Silver Fern to the crest (The Times and The Grey River Argus reports the visit of General Hart in November 1918). The rules of heraldry have prevented the plan.

Sister cities

  • Villarosa
    Villarosa is a town and comune in the province of Enna, in the region of Sicily in southern Italy.-Sister cities:* Morlanwelz, Belgium * Le Quesnoy, France -External links:*...

    , Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     - since 2006
  • Morlanwelz
    Morlanwelz is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006 Morlanwelz had a total population of 18,595. The total area is 20.26 km² which gives a population density of 918 inhabitants per km²...

    , Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Dej
    Dej is a city in northwestern Romania, 60 km north of Cluj-Napoca, in Cluj County. It lies where the Someşul Mic River meets the river Someşul Mare River...

    , Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

  • Cambridge
    Cambridge, New Zealand
    Cambridge is a town in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand. Situated 24 kilometres southeast of Hamilton, on the banks of the Waikato River, Cambridge is known as "The Town of Trees & Champions".In the 1840s Cambridge had a Maori population but in the 1850's missionaries and...

    , New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

See also

  • Treaty Of The Pyrenees
    Treaty of the Pyrenees
    The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

  • Nord (French department)
  • Communes of the Nord department

External links

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