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The existence of a belfry, symbol of communal liberties often dearly purchased by Cambrésiens, is attested in the eleventh century, as did the Bishop Manasses destroyed in 1095. It was restored in 1207 but was soon ordered its demolition by the Emperor Henry. He underwent successive constructions and demolitions are to be attached to the turbulent history of communal riots Cambrai.
Among the privileges which our ancestors were proud, not the least estimated that the "right of the belfry." Just as the bells were heard, or to call the magistrates to meetings, or to announce the public rejoicing, they sometimes waved to push the people to insurrection forward from the yoke of ecclesiastical authority and of imperial power . This is because the latter must be attributed the destruction at different times of the first bell towers of Cambrai.
It was in 1395 that officially Cambrai obtained permission to have a belfry, according occupied the tower of the church of St. Martin in the sixteenth century century (1550): If this church was destroyed in the revolution, the Belfry was fortunately spared. It was built in Gothic style between 1447 and 1474 and then soared to nearly 57 meters high.
Damaged by lightning in 1528 and during the siege of 1595, its upper part was demolished in 1698. Its reconstruction was completed in 1736 and put the bell in the proportions where it is today. The arrow torso was between 1732 and 1736, replaced by a dome surmounted by a lantern which gave the belfry her figure to nearly 62 meters.
The Belfry is the subject of a registration as a historic monument since July 15, 1965. It is also one of twenty-three belfries in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Somme who have been enrolled, 10 July 2005, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This recognition is a great pride for Cambrésiens custodians who now feel a part of world heritage.