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Title: L'habitat de la petite noblesse dans la partie nord de l'ancien comté de Hainaut: XVe-XVIIIe siècles. Architecture, modes de vies et manières d'ëtre.
Other Titles: The Gentry Settlement in the County of Hainault: XVth-XVIIIth centuries. Architecture, Way of Live and Behaviour.
Authors: Mathieu, Clémence; S0183791
Issue Date: 13-Sep-2012
Abstract: This research is aiming at understanding what is a gentry’s settlement in the County of Hainault at the end of the Middle Ages and during the Modern Times. The disappearance of most of the castles of the high nobility in Hainault, led us to study the gentry’s settlement. The lack of recognition of this kind of building is often leading to their destruction and irreversible transformations. There is also the fact that the archaeologists and art historians often inherited from the 19th century tradition, whose attention was mostly attracted by the main castles and the high nobility, forgetting by the same occasion a side of the nobility –the gentry- and his settlement.The main objective of this research is to understand how these settlements were linked with their inhabitants, expressing their identities, ways of living and behaviours. In this framework, we first analyse the architectural typologies (plans, residential buildings, towers) in connection with the chronology, the materials, and the inner organisation of these buildings.Afterwards, we consider the surroundings of the buildings, the location in the landscape, the relief, hydrography, the village, the lands, the communication net. The lesser nobility is also studied, through its functions, origins, movement areas, in order to have a better understanding of the role and definition of this social group which is distinctly separated from the high nobility. The traditional opposition between cities and countryside, and between the main and secondary housing, is overstepped, in order to reach a more flexible approach. We therefore consider the topic through an interaction between cities and countryside, and their inhabitants.The rest of the research is dedicated to the interpretations, in order to draw the characterists of the gentry’s settlement. First, the relationships between the defensive and residential aspects are considered. The active and passive defensive elements are studied, as well as the efficiency of these structures.Secondly, we replace the gentry’s settlement in the context of the other architectural types of the countryside, high nobility and cities of the county of Hainaut and the Southern Low Countries, in order to have a better understanding of the links and breaks between the different social and architectural groups. The link with the rural settlement is established concerning the following elements : drawbridges, moats, arrow slits, green spaces and water structures, farms, towers, plans and houses typologies, materials and their quality, interiors, openings and styles, coats of arms. The intermediate category of the settlement of the rural elites is also considered, as the architectural types are close to the gentry’s settlement. This category is examined on an architectural and social point of view.The link with the settlement of the cities and the high nobility is also studied, allowing to see a lack of link between the different categories at least until the end of the 17th century. In the last chapters, the gentry’s settlement of Hainault is replaced in the context of the Southern Low Countries, through a comparative approach. We also consider the link with this kind of settlement and the tradition and the modernity, as well as the link with the social status of their inhabitants and builders.The conclusion is the occasion to remind all the characteristics of the gentry’s settlement in Hainault, and the evolution of the architectural types through the centuries. Some comparisons with the same kind of settlement in surroundings countries are also established, opening new research perspectives. In the epilogue, we consider the buildings on a conservation, restoration and preservation point of view. The state of the art of the legislative situation is given, and prescriptions for a better future conservation are drawn, in order to avoid a disappearance of the architectural information, together with an important part of the history.
ISBN: 978-94-6018-557-1
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Research Group Architectural History and Conservation (-)

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