|Municipality of Belgium|
St. Martins (l'eglise de Sprimont)
|• Mayor||Claude Ancion (EC-CDH-MR)|
|• Governing party/ies||EC-CDH-MR|
|• Total||74.28 km2 (28.68 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2013)|
|• Density||190/km2 (490/sq mi)|
|Postal codes||4140, 4141|
On January 1, 2006 Sprimont had a total population of 12,782. The total area is 74.2 square kilometres (28.6 sq mi) which gives a population density of 172 inhabitants per km².
Sprimont is an ancient name, the earliest written records of which date from 855 and 856 AD. These are located in the Abbey de Stavlot.
Spellings of Sprimont may be different, depending on (1) the written language, and (2) the time period. Since Sprimont is more than 1,100 years old, a variety of different spellings are to be expected. For example, Ernst cites "Sprismonte" in 888 AD, and Martine & Duraud cite "Sprismont" in 1049. However, since about 1000 AD "Sprimont" seems to be exclusively used. In Bulletin de l'Institute Archeologique Liegeois (vol. VII), there are further references to the Teutonic Spir-Boum, Spereboum, Sper-Boun and the Frisian Spiri, Spere, Sper, as well as the Latin sorbus. These translate as 'speer', 'hasta,' and 'lance.'
There is a consensus thar the root is of a Latin origin. If this is correct, the suffix -mont is probably from mons, montis, meaning either hill or mountain. However, some historians point out that many geographical names with this suffix belong to places not on a hill, some of which are even in valleys. This may cast doubt on the true meaning being "hill", but another source indicates that mons was used in Roman times to indicate a way-station for travelers. This makes sense, but researching ancient roads, then analyzing all geographical places on these roads to cross reference 'mont', would be needed.
As for the prefix of spri-, more debate is required, as its origin seems to be lost to antiquity. Ancient written documents indicate several possible Latin origins: spiris, spers. Regardless of the meaning of the root word, one must also consider the usage in the context of the name itself. For example, if it does indeed refer to a species of tree or wood, in those ancient times, what was the connotation? It has been argued persuasively that 'spri' means 'lance'.
Concluding the etymology of Sprimont, the active might mean 'Mounted Warrior,' whereas the passive might mean 'Lance of Defense.' This is from mont de Spiris.
The "Other" Sprimont & family arms
There is another Sprimont location in the Province of Luxembourg, in the municipality of Sainte-Ode, near Amberloup. This is an ancient hamlet, but no research has been done to determine the relationship (if any) between these two place-names. This gives way to (perhaps) separate family lines; one from Liège, the other from Luxembourg. Historical documents from the 19th century speak of Sprimont families in both areas. Also, there are separate coats of arms for these families. Those from Liége bare one, and have six (documented) variants. There are four distinct blasons in the area of Luxembourg. (These are from secondary sources, with the first one also being augmented by a primary source found carved on a funerary stone.)
Arms of the Sprimonts of Luxembourg
D’azur à trois bandes d’argent.
D’azur à l’étoile de gueules, au chef d’argent chargé de onze losanges d’or posées 4 – 3 – 4.
Family coats of arms: Liege & Namur
The four variants (identifying different family members) are the colors of the charges and backgrounds. The two other variants are: (1) a croix écoutée for those in Namur (rather than a croix engrêlée), and a fleur rather than a pensée; and (2) roses rather than pensée charges for one Ferdinande de Sprimont, abbesse d'Oplinter. Research indicates that all extant instances of this blason are from a single family line descending from Bauldechon de Sprimont dit Presseux; no exceptions have been found. As was the custom in the medieval period, people living on the fief also took its name, just as the land-holders.
These armes are found as primary sources on many tombstones and monuments in Liege and Namur.
During the 17th century, several Sprimont families were in the area of Western Liége and Eastern Namur. Huy, Warnant-Dreye, Noville-les-Bois are examples. Although this secondary source from the famous genealogist and herald (LeFort) was found in the archives, no information as to who bore them has been found.
- Population per municipality on 1 January 2013 (XLS; 607.5 KB)
- Bulletin et annales de l’Academie d’Archeologie de Belgique, vol. XXXVIII, Bulletin de l'Institute Archeologique Liegeois, vol. VII