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Beauvoorde Castle

Belgian Castles

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Beauvoorde Castle, locally known as Kasteel Beauvoorde, lies in the village of Wulveringem, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Beauvoorde Castle was built by Jacob de Bryarde, bailiff of Veurne, around 1600. It replaced an earlier non-fortified mansion, dating back to the 12th century, which had been burned down by Beggars in 1584. The castle was built by the architect Sylvain Boullain in the style of the Flemish Renaissance.

The last member of the Bryarde family was Charles. His heirs, who rather resided in Ghent, did not show much interest in the castle and it fell into dilapidation. In 1838 it was sold to a farmer, who made some emergency restorations and exploited it as a farm. In the late 19th century plans were made to demolish the again dilapidated castle.

In 1875, however, the ruined Beauvoorde Castle was bought by the 23-year old esquire Arthur Merghelynck. Through his mother he was a far descendant of the Bryarde family. Merghelynck was an avid history lover and collector. In the next 20 years he had the castle rebuilt and enlarged. He then decorated it with real and faux 17th century furniture, giving it more splendor than it ever had before. In 1895 he moved in together with his wife.

As his wife was a simple farmer’s daughter, their marriage had estranged him from his family. They stayed childless, so in 1905 Merghelynck made up his testament and left the castle to the Royal Academy of Dutch language and literature. He died in 1908. His wife lived in the castle until her death in 1941, after which it went to the academy.

At present Beauvoorde Castle is a museum and it can be visited for a fee. This is a very nice little castle. The small dimensions of the rooms and corridors make it very cosy. Torreelen Castle is nearby.

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