HERE AS EVERYWHERE, THE MODERN ERA SAW ITS SHARE OF DRAMATIC INCIDENTS WITH THE ABUSES COMMITTED BY THE CALVINISTS IN THE 16TH CENTURY AND THE GREAT OUTBREAKS OF PLAGUE IN THE 17TH CENTURY.
The War of the Spanish Succession waged by Louis XIV only added to the region’s woes, bringing with it the pillage and destruction wreaked by movements of troops. In common with the other regions making up the Belgium of today, the region was annexed by France in 1795 and the possessions of the clergy and the nobility confiscated. Alongside the traditional farms, pre-industrial and industrial activities began to emerge, mainly iron working and stone quarrying. Among the most widely famed of these was the Rochefort red marble quarry that provided so much of the marble used lavishly in the decoration of the Palace of Versailles. The buildings that have survived from this period make up a fascinating legacy, with architectural styles varying according to the social standing of its owners, the setting (urban or rural) and the local materials available. Groups of buildings used for political and trading purposes have also survived.
FIG 1 Saint-Remy quarry, 18th century (J.-P. Wilkin © Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy).
FIG 2 La Prée district in Ambly with its 18th and 19th century farms (C. Frébutte © AWaP).
FIG 3 The « Spanish House » in Grupont, seat of the high court of justice, 1590 (C. Frébutte © AWaP).
FIG 4 Hotton mill, 1729 (C. Frébutte © AWaP).