Funerary Monument to Oste de la Barre, Lord of Mouscron (c. 1380–1446) and his second wife, Cécile de Mourkercke (c. 1400–1462) - St. Bartholomew's Church
A few archaeological discoveries were made in this area proving the existence of settlements during Roman times. The name Dottignies – a village that is now part of Mouscron – appeared for the first time in the 9th century, while that of Mouscron itself appeared only in 1060. In 1066, Baldwin V, Count of Flanders ceded the local buildings and territories to the estate of the church of Saint-Pierre in Lille. In 1149 the right to collect tithes in the Mouscron area was ceded partly to the abbey of Saint Martin in Tournai, partly to the chapter of the Tournai Cathedral. The rights to the neighbouring villages of Herseaux and Luingnes – now also part of Mouscron – were also given to the Tournai cathedral in 1178. In the 14th century, the seigneury of Mouscron was eventually sold to a Tournai lord, and in 1430, the local castle became the lord’s manor, or Château des Comtes, which can still be seen today. The future Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor stopped there for dinner on May 27, 1516.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the textile industry flourished and added cotton as one of its prime materials. On March 29, 1848, the Belgian army needed to intervene near Mouscron against a troop of French republican sympathizers who were ready to invade Belgium, in what was known as the Risquons-Tout incident. By the end of the century several cotton mills and carpet plants were built, leading the village to expand into a much larger urban area, especially after the close of World War I. In 1963, Mouscron was transferred from the province of West Flanders, to the province of Hainaut, to reflect the predominantly francophone population. Mouscron was officially recognized as a city in 1986.
The festivity of the hand (French: Fête de la Main) takes its name from the copper hand, possibly a symbol of fraternity, which tops the steeple of the church of Dottignies. During the third week-end of September, several Gilles roam the streets and distribute the traditional oranges to passers-by.