Rochefort Castle, locally known as Vieux Château Comtal de Rochefort, lies in the center of the town with the same name, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium.
A castle was first mentioned at this site in 1155. At that time it was owned by the Montaigu family. Later on it was owned by the Walcourt family and was known as the largest castle in the Famenne region. Not much is known about the history of the castle in those times.
It was built on a strategic location which caused it to be besieged several times.
In 1445 a French colonel; Nadonnet, and his soldiers set up headquarters in the castle to aid the Lord of Rochefort; Evrard de la Marck, in his uprising against the Duke of Burgundy. As a result the bishop of Liège besieged the castle. After several days Nadonnet was bribed and escorted back to France.
In 1651, during the war between France and Spain, the castle was taken by a colonel Latour who served Spain. In 1653 the castle was sieged twice, without result, by French troops. The castle was garrisoned by French imperial troops in 1674.
In 1746 the castle was thoroughly rebuilt into a real palace for the Count of Rochefort. He found the old castle too oldfashioned with its military, and thus unappealing, appearance. He tore down the medieval keep and added a large esplanade built on 10 large arches and French garden.
At the end of the Ancien Régime, in 1774, the castle was stormed by the angry townspeople of Rochefort. It was then owned by the Stolberg family. After the French Revolution the castle was sold. The new owner couldn’t pay the cost of its upkeep and started to sell building materials. This eventually turned the castle into a quarry.
A new, neogothic castle was built on a small part of the original castle’s foundations in 1904. Since 1966 the castle ruins were consolidated. And from 1987 the castle is maintained by the “Friends of Rochefort Castle”-foundation. The castle can be visited for a small fee. There is a small archaeological exposition. This castle is not very spectacular but nice to visit when you are in the neighbourhood. I especially liked the arches under the esplanade with the hanging plants.