Petite-Somme Castle, locally known as Château de Petite-Somme, lies next to a small village by the same name, in the province of Luxembourg in the Wallonia region in Belgium.
Petit-Somme Castle was first mentioned in the 11th century. Its owner, a Gozelon de Montaiqude, had apparently plundered property of the Abbey of Saint Hubert. After he died, his widow offered the castle to the abbey as penance.
In the beginning of the 14th century, a Jean de Bohême added a tower to the castle.
In 1461 Petit-Somme Castle was acquired by the Hamal family, who owned it until 1774. After that, several noble families succeeded each other as owners until the castle was acquired by the Favereau family.
Lord Charles de Favereau demolished what had served as the Hamal family residence and rebuilt a country home of bricks on its foundations. Nothing of the original Petit-Somme Castle survived. The castle remained the property of the Favereau’s until 1877.
In 1877, a Louise Marie Eulalie, who was related to Baron Victor Albert de Favereau, inherited the mansion that was Petit-Somme Castle. The new owners then demolished the brick mansion built by Charles de Favereau and rebuilt the present castle in 1888 in a neo-egothic style.
During WW I, when the castle was owned by the De Vaux family, it served as a hospital and some of the castle’s outbuildings were destroyed. In WW II, during the Battle of the Bulge the castle was occupied by American soldiers. After WW II the castle served recreational purposes and stood empty for 5 years, before being bought by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1979. They restored the castle.
At present Petit-Somme Castle is still owned and inhabited by Hare Krishna followers. It can be visited for a small fee and you can even stay there.
I discovered this castle when driving through the Ardennes region of Belgium in 1992. I visited and it turned out that the castle was some kind of center of Hare Krishna followers. Boy, did I get a guided tour…they even persuaded us to chant in their temple. All in all, unexpected fun. We didn’t convert but their homemade cookies were delicious! During the tour they showed us the castle from top to bottom but told us mainly of their beliefs.