These historic archives, acquired at auction by the Claire and Michel Lemay Fund, come from the Château d'Attre in Hainaut. They include between 400 and 600 documents dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries and represent an important source of information on the principle noble families in the Province of Hainaut.
What makes these archives of particular interest is the well-preserved seals that decorate the documents, the oldest of which date back to the 14th century. However, it was their historical value that convinced the Management Committee of the Claire and Michel Lemay Fund to get involved. Numerous archives had been lost during a fire at the State Archives in Mons during the Second World War and so the archives of Attre provide us with a primary source of information about our past.
The archives enable us to retrace the histories of various domains belonging to the Franeau family. In 1562, the family purchased the château et la seigneurie d'Attre(link is external), which, under the Ancien Régime, formed a single estate with that of the neighbouring d’Arbre domain. The archives are packed full of information about other estates and fiefs nearby or linked to the Franeau family.
Thanks to the Claire and Michel Lemay Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, these archives have today been preserved in their entirety and can be the subject of more detailed examination by the State Archives in Tournai.