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Beauraing Castle

Belgian Castles

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Beauraing Castle, locally known as Château de Beauraing or Castel Sainte Marie lies above the town of Beauraing, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

When Beauraing Castle was founded is unknown. A 12th century Gerard of Beauraing was the first known lord of Beauraing.

In the early 1430’s a Jehan II Herbigny was Lord of Beauraing. Resisting ever more the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, he was ravaging the countryside. This led to a siege of the castle in 1436, after which it was destroyed, by the Prince-bishop of Liège on request of the Duke. Afterwards Jehan rebuilt the castle into a formidable fortress with 4 round corner towers, of 45 m in circumference, which he named Brabant, Namur, Rethel and Hainaut. Jehan also picked up his old habits which led the Prince-bishop to intervene again and dismantle the castle.

In 1554 Charles de Berlaymont, a leading noble and important counselor of the Spanish Governor of the Netherlands; Margaret of Parma, took possession of the Lordship of Beauraing. He had the castle restored and built a 5th tower in honor of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, which then served as a chapel.

In 1740, Beauraing Castle came into the possession of a branch of the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin from Huy. Partly burned down by lightning, the castle was rebuilt in 1785 by the Duke of Beaufort-Spontin, giving it a royal appearance. During the French Revolution the castle was first besieged and dismantled afterwards by French revolutionaries in 1790 and then plundered and burned by Sans-culottes in 1793. Beauraing Castle was reduced to a ruin.

Through marriage the castle went to the Dukes of Osuna in 1817. The 12th Duke of Osuna; Mariano Téllez-Girón y Beaufort Spontin, had Beauraing Castle completeley rebuilt by the French architect Auguste Mestral between 1855-1857. The Duke held grandiose festivals in his new castle and in 1880 the Prince of Wales; the future King Edward VII, attended one such festival here.

In 1889 disaster hit and Beauraing Castle was completely destroyed by fire. It was never to rebuilt again. The former outbuildings which weren’t destroyed were inhabited during the 20th century and are now used as a hotel.

At present one tower of the former castle has been restored for use as a hotel, although they seemed not to be used very often. The rest of the castle ruin is fenced off and can only be viewed from outside. I stayed in the hotel in the former outbuilding for the night. It was rather simple but good value for money. A nice castle.

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