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Theux

Theux's roots are buried deep in prehistory. The cheerful and fertile "window" of Theux has seen Mesolithic hunters and Neolithic farmers. The Gallo-Romans settled here in great numbers and gave the name "TECTIS" to our old town. In the 11th century, a castle was built and Theux became the chief district ("chef-ban") of what in the 16th century would be called the Marquisate of Franchimont, together with Verviers, Sart, Spa and Jalhay districts. In 1468, the 600 Franchimontois went off to try to kill Charles the Bold at Liège; all were massacred and the land ravaged. Shortly afterwards, the metalworking industry took off: Theux pots and pans were sold throughout Western Europe and the industry has left many traces in several areas of the town. The Franchimont revolution of 1789 was started at Polleur, at almost the same time as in Paris, with the proclamation of a Declaration of the Rights of Man. In the 19th century, and until 1940, the textile industry saw great expansion.

Notable sites

Theux centre offers a set of 17th and 18th-century houses and a town hall with, at its heart, the "perron" (a monument on a stepped base), the symbol of its freedoms. Amongst many other places, let us mention:

  • Franchimont Castle from where 600 brave men went off and were massacred during the siege of Liège by Charles the Bold's troops, the night of 29 to 30 October 1468. The ruined castle has been the subject of exemplary restoration. Every two years, a mediaeval fair takes place there. It used to be called the Franche-Foire and pioneered the genre in Belgium. The fair has been running since 1977.
  • Theux church, a Romanesque hall church (the three naves are of equal height), the only one between the Loire and the Rhine. Its 17th-century painted ceiling was restored in the 1990s. In the 13th century a defensive tower was added alongside the church. It points to the defensive role played by the church at that time. It seems that no more than two defensive towers of this type exist in Belgium: this one and the one at Bastogne church.
  •  The "Moulin Banal" (District Mill) The mill is called "banal", not because it is ordinary, but because in the Middle Ages, the peasants from the whole of the "Ban de Theux" (district) were obliged by their lord to come and grind their grain at this mill, in return for a grinding fee, paid to the lord in the form of flour.