Yesterday in Leers

1769 - Leers bisected

1769: By the "Treaty of Limits" the King of France, Louis XV and the Empress of Austria MARIE-THERESE, share the village of Leers.


The Treaty of Aix-en-Chapelle signed May 2, 1668 gave France the region is pretty much in the present department of North.

The Treaty of Nijmegen in 1679 confirmed that conquest.

However the precise demarcation of the border remains to be defined in a region that no natural obstacle (river or mountain) only required the signatories.

We must add that the remnants of feudalism had created multiple enclaves of a lordship to another and made more complex as the establishment of the new limit states.

That is why the signatories of the peace designerent a commission to demarcate the new boundaries. The work was difficult because the survey covered hundreds of kilometers. Further disputes were numerous and "supplications" and "remonstrate" subjects of both kingdoms were not lacking. So much so that it took no less than a century to complete the work.

It is indeed August 22, 1769 that was signed the "Treaty of Limits" between King Louis XV of France and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria because in the meantime the Spanish Netherlands had passed through in succession Empire of Austria, while Louis XV had succeeded Louis XIV.

The experts did not hesitate to cut to the quick and towns were cut in half, the new frontier passing through their territory.

This was the case of Leers, modest village Manor of Lille, located on the road from this city to Oudenaarde and 276 bonniers (1 Bonnier = 1 ha, 42 a, 46 that) were detached to form a new entity called " Leers-Nord "attached to the Austrian Netherlands.

Here are the exact words of the lines "Treaty of Limits" that concern:

ARTICLE 5 - The Most Christian King also cedes to the Empress Queen 276 bonniers ground the village of Leers and further, that the part of the road from Tournai to Menin passing through this village so that, from Tournai in Menen , everything to the right of way will be part of the assignment and that the surplus will be taken on the left along the same path.

One can imagine the impact of such a decision on the population of the municipalities concerned. On the stroke of a pen the authorities decided they belong to one community or another.

While the concept of nationality had not at that time the importance we attach to it today. Nevertheless, this decision is important for families and cities that were quartered.

In terms of genealogical research, the consequences are: LEERS was a single parish and it was not until the year 1800 that the spare part is with a church.

The inhabitants of the part attached to the Austrian Netherlands continue to celebrate baptisms, weddings and funerals in the church of LEERS that was on the French territory.

One register was used until 1782 to record events without that nothing will specify which side of the border the newborn, married or deceased lived.

Andre LEFEBVRE, first pastor of the new Leers North parish located in the territory of the Netherlands, concerned about this situation, began to copy a certain specification acts that concerned his flock, but this work, which is based in the Archives of State in Tournai (Belgium) is obviously incomplete.

Parish records donated to the town of Leers (France) during the secularization of the State-Civil in 1792 therefore include the acts of baptisms marriages and burials of Leersois they are French or nationals of the Austrian Netherlands.

This situation should not fail to create difficulties for the inhabitants of the two municipalities.

We give testimony after reading a document that sets out the following fact:

Ferdinand Joseph DECOURCELLE born in Leers (France) April 27, 1833, son of Pierre-Joseph DECOURCELLE, miller of Mottelette in Leers (France) and Nathalie LORTHIOIR did not want to do his military service in France and to avoid conscription obtained in 1854 the testimony of the mayor of LEERS (Belgium) and four older inhabitants of proving that his grandfather Pierre-Joseph DECOURCELLE was born in 1751 in a house built on the detached part of the town in 1769 .

As seen, the consequences of splitting Leers still reflected a century later by administrative problems for the people.

Visual sketch of the limit of 1820

The December 23, 1818, the border between the Netherlands and France is finally fixed. This sharing is endorsed March 28, 1820 by the Treaty of Kortrijk.

The demarcation of the border is carried out in 1820.

The terminals are engraved with the date 1819, the letter N (Nederland) and the letter F (France) and then installed along the border taking the route of the limits of 1780

Leersois habits are shaken, disturbed again. Leers becomes a border village.

The terminals marked 1819 site plan is included in the minutes of delimitation of the territory of the commune of Leers from 23 August 1824. (Source: Archives, Mayor Leers (France))

The description of the border is specified in the administration of the province of Hainaut Memorial, year 1887. eleventh and twelfth items.

(Source: Archives, Municipal House Leers Nord)

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