WHERE THE WORD "BETHUNE" COME FROM ?
The word Béthune has Germanic origins. Bei-thun is believed to mean « a pen enclosed by frences ».
FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Civilization in the area is believed to go all the way back to the 5th century. People of the time settled nearby the river Lawe and a Merovingian graveyard was discovered around the 6th and 7th century, which proves the presence of men in the eastern part of the area.
Christianity played an important role in the development of the town, for instance in 502 when the bishop Saint-Vaast of Arras had a Church built in honour of the Blessed Virgin.
During the Hundred Years’ War, Béthune heroically resisted the attacks from Flemish armies. As a reward for people’s bravery, the construction of the Beffroi was initiated in 1346.
In 1645 the town was besieged by the Spanish until November 1659 when France and Spain put an end to the ongoing war with the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees. Later in 1710 Béthune becomes Dutch for the three years.
As the whole of France the town goes through the French Revolution.
From the 16th until the 19th century Béthune is a walled town : it indeed protects it but unfortunately hinders modernization.
For more information : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Béthune