- Difference in height
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Points of interest
In 1916 a military cemetery was established in Saint-Symphorien by the Germans on a site that belonged to Mr Houzeau de Lehaie. This cemetery gathers together strugglers of several nationalities who died during the conflict. There are more than 513 graves, 229 from the Commonwealth and 284 German graves. This cemetery also has the particularity to accommodate the grave of the first British soldier(J. Parr) and the last one (G. Ellison)who were killed during the first World War. The military cemetery of Saint-Symphorien is a special and pleasant place to visit.
The square, lined by linden trees, is the top place of gatherings and villagers’ festivities. Already in the 18th century, the square has its current morphology. Under the previous regime, a part of this square, called Saint John’s square, belonged to the Order of Malta that could exercise its full jurisdiction and apply sentences. This portion of the square was delimited by four large poles which still remain today and contained a tree in the middle (Saint John’s linden tree), which was used as a pillory and later replaced by a stone.
The church of Saint-Symphorien was built in 3 different periods of time. The oldest part, the choir with a polygonal sanctuary, was erected in the twelfth century, in the middle of the Middle Ages. It was completed in 1450 by the steeple in carved stone. In 1708, the Order of Malta decided to enlarge the naves of the church, what gave it its current appearance. Inside the church, a relief representation of a lamb holding a cross (Agnus Dei) is carved on a wonderful keystone of the sixteenth century. This religious building counts two altars, the one of Saint-Symphorien and the one of the Virgin Mary. They both date from 1640, in the middle of the Renaissance. The church also owns a Roman shrine which is part of a religious procession every year in the village. Made in oak tree and covered with copper, brass and enamel, it dates from the twelfth century and is listed « Treasury » by the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. On one of its sides you can read « Fortitudo et Prudentia » (Fortitude and Prudence) and « Justitia » (Justice) on another side. The shrine is a real pearl for our village.
By definition a menhir is a vertically standing stone during the Neolithic period. The Saint-Symphorien menhir, 2m50 high, 1m30 large, with a weight of 2500 kg was also used as a Neolithic buffer for flint tools. It was discovered in 1860 by Mr Piscart, a farmer who broke his ploughshare while ploughing his field, located at the end of the Violette path at the edge of Harmignies. The menhir was later dug up in order to stand in the park of the castle Maigret de Priches, where it remained for 90 years. On 17th October 1951 the megalith was offered by Ms Emmy Maigret de Priches to the city of Mons. At the request of the Saint-Symphorien Brotherhood, it was moved back again in the village on 20th March 2007.
The current building, magnificently preserved, is located opposite the square of Saint Symphorien. It was the former Town Hall until the municipal merging. The present management of the village takes place in Mons. Built in the same style, we can see the former presbytery of the village on the right side.
The Baron’s Courtyard is a set of buildings that were erected in 1853 by the Baron Charles-Jules-Henri Robert. In 1851 a distillery was already established and ensured the prosperity of the village. In 1864 the Administration of the Excise Duties discovered an activity of clandestine and illegal production. The Baron was sentenced and the distillery closed definitively.
Saint-Symphorien castle is a major monument, built in the beginning of the 18th century. It was the home residence of important families that influenced deeply the history of the village. In 1708, Jérôme-Aloïs Robert, equerry and lord of Choisy, acquired the lordship of Saint-Symphorien and decided to build there the current castle. One of his sons, Charles-Pierre-Joseph Robert even received there the title of Baron of Saint-Symphorien, granted from the French King Louis XV. Enlarged round the middle of the 19th century, the castle became property of the Maigret de Priches family, that sold it to the current owners by the end of the twentieth century.
Saint Roch’s chapel was probably erected sometime in the twentieth century. Located on the way of the sacred procession of the village, this chapel of black and white roughcast conceals a statue of polychromatic wood of Saint Roch. Popular saint, he was often called upon in our regions, especially during the last cholera epidemic.
Direct indicator of the presence of the Order of Malta within the village of Saint Symphorien, « the farmhouse pêcher », built in the beginning of the eighteenth century, was an important ownership of this order that, besides its rural farm, also consisted of a brewery, a baker’s oven, a smithy and a chapel dedicated to Saint John. The barn, visible on the picture, was unfortunately set on fire and definitely destroyed.
The small hamlet Cerneau, located on the edge of the Havré forest, already appears on ancient maps of the area round Mons which date from the siege of Louis XIV but also on the map of the Earl Ferraris. The former phosphate quarries as well as the ponds of Saint-Symphorien are located a few hundred metres further.
The « Sars » farmhouse, whose building dates back to the seventeenth century, was an important rural farm within the village of Saint-Symphorien. Nowadays there is not much left : only the main building and the main entrance topped with its pigeon loft. The former rural farm, located on the edge of the Havré forest, adjoins today the former phosphate quarries.
Marcq Castle, located in Jules Antheunis street, was built between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. It belonged to the Marcq family, whose several members were mayors of the village. The castle was also the childhood residence of Father Jean-Pierre Marcq, an appreciated figure among his fellow citizens, particularly for his commitment in state education. The building also enjoys a very nice pink-coloured caretaker’s lodge located along the street.
During the Second World War, an American bomber B-17G from the 95th Bomb Group crashed in a field between the ‘Havrépath’ and the ‘Tuileriespath’ on the 4th of March 1944. It had just carried out the first day bombing on Berlin. This bomber, flown by Lieutenants Rodney P. Rhoem et David F. Wolter, was hit by the firing of the DCA and the enemy fleet. During this sad moment, Sergeant P. Wesp was killed. Left by its crew above France, the « ghost plane » went on flying without any pilot before landing on its belly outside the village.
The War Memorial, located in Blancartstreet, was set up in the post-war period in memory of 7 members of the Resistance who died in 1944. Cesar Battistella, Achille Bauwens, Auguste Coubeaux, Vital Duquesne, Robert Liénard, Germain Solon and Albert Woutquen were killed while they were moving a German trapped lorry which blocked the way in order to slow down the Allied spread.
The windmill was established on the territory of Saint-Symphorien and unfortunately destroyed after the second World War to make space for new buildings. That mill was built in the eighteenth century on a land belonging to the Order of Malta. According to ancient documents, the miller Vandermal (native of Thieusies) was permitted in 1767 to build his mill as part of emphyteutic lease of 99 years.
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