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Musson (Municipality, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-06-21 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Musson]

Municipal flag of Musson - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 April 2005

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Presentation of Musson and its villages

The municipality of Musson (4,232 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,481 ha) is located in the region of Gaume, aka Belgian Lorraine, the southernmost part of the province of Luxembourg and of Belgium. Musson is located close to the border with France (fixed in 1820) and c. 15 km west of the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The road crossing Musson was an important Roman way going to the Mont de Mady, today Montmédy in France.
The municipality of Musson is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Musson (including Baranzy, Gennevaux and Willancourt), Mussy-la-Ville and the village of Signeulx, part of the former municipality of Bleid (which was incorporated to Virton in 1976).

The name of Musson (Messons in 1292, Musson and Mousson, 1480) probably means "fertile fields". The Celtic roots mus and son mean "food" and "place", respectively. This must allude to the siliceous-clayey local soil, very suitable for grain production
The ancient church of Musson was built in late Romanesque style in 1205 on the promontory of Gennevaux. Its monumental, two-niched gate was reused to build the War Memorial. On the memorial's small square stands a cross dated 1383. The cross was more a symbol of power than a religious emblem: proclamations by the herald of arms, taking the oath, proclamation of decrees and paiement of taxes were "sanctioned" by the cross.

Musson developed in the XIXth century thanks to the railway, the factory and the iron mine. In 1852, the Société des Hauts-Fourneaux, Fonderies et Mines de Musson was set up. Already planned in 1869,ironworks opened in 1885 and employed up to 500 workers. In 1870, the Minière du Bois-Haut started the extraction of iron ore, called in Lorraine minette. The ironworks and the mine were closed in 1967 in 1978, respectively.

The villages of Musson, Baranzy and Mussy-la-Ville were burnt down during the First World War and several of their inhabitants were killed.
In 1940, the German troops invaded Belgium and Luxembourg. The French 25th Groupe de Reconnaissance de la Cavalerie, heading to Musson, Halanzy and Aubange, was stationed in a defensive position west of Longwy. Guy de Larigaudie and another four horsemen stayed in the woods of Musson. The Germans attacked on 11 May and surrounded the wood. The withdrawal order was never received by the five horsemen, who were killed and buried by the Germans on 1st May. The remains of the soldiers were later brought back to France. De Larigaudie was nicknamed le grand routier légendaire (the great legendary rover).

Musson (1,700 inhabitants) is a typical village of Gaume with most of the houses built in the bottom of a valley along two parallel roads: the ancient road linking Virton and Luxembourg and the new road created under the Dutch rule after the border agreement with France.
Baranzy (550 inhabitants) is an extension of Musson, and there is no visible limit between the two villages.
Willancourt (240 inhabitants) is a small, out of the way village, located on the edge of a big wood.
Gennevaux (30 inhabitants) is a hamlet which developed around a watermill.
Mussy-la-Ville (970 inhabitants) is renowned for market gardening. In the past, hawkers delivered vegetable seedlings and flower bedding plants from Mussy for hundreds of miles around. Mussy is the birth village of Étienne Lenoir (1820-1900), one of the inventors of the internal combustion engine. In 1860, Lenoir patented the use of town gas and hydrocarbon vapors in combination with air in a a two-stroke cycle, known as Lenoir's cycle. Lacking preliminary compression, Lenoir's engine had a very low efficiency. However, it was the first step towards the design of four-stroke engines by Beau de Rochas (1862) and Otto (1867).
Signeuls (500 inhabitants) developed around the Athus-Meuse railway, in connection with the French ironworking basin.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 11 April 2005

Municipal flag of Musson

The municipal flag of Musson, as confirmed by the municipal administration, is black with three yellow stars placed 2 and 1. It is a banner of the municipal arms, which are the arms of the ancient Musson family.

However, the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community in Belgium proposed another design, shown in Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, as white with a green jagged border, made after a local seal dated from the end of the XVIIIth century and including a fancy shield.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 11 April 2005