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Haute Roche Castle

Belgian Castles

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Haute Roche Castle lies south of the village of Dourbes, south-west of the city of Dinant, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium. Its name translates to High Rock.

Haute Roche Castle is situated on a ca. 50 meters high, rocky promontory, looking out over the valley of the Viroin river.

I don’t know exactly when it was built; several sources on the internet contradict each other. But there probably stood a castle at this site since as early as the 9th century. Archaeological excavations have even showed signs of Gallo-Roman use of the site. The present castle however was probably built at the end of the 13th century. Its history has always been closely linked with nearby Fagnolles Castle.

Family names connected to the castle are De Jauche, De Berlaymont, Egmont, Pignatelli and d’Arenberg.

At the beginning of the 16th century the castle was strengthened with a new gate building and an advanced defensive wall intended to resist gunfire.

In 1554 however, the castle, amongst a lot of other fortifications in the area, was besieged and taken by the constable Anne de Montmorency who was working for the French king Henri II. A year later William of Orange (nicknamed the Silent) reconquered the area and dismantled Fagnolles Castle. Haute Roche Castle probably suffered the same fate. After that the castle fell to ruin.

The isolated site of the castle is separated from the plateau by a large, hand cut ditch. It has a square keep with 2.5 meter thick walls and it would originally have been at least 13 meters high.

This is now a beautifully situated ruin. I especially liked the gate. It is freely accessible at reasonable times.

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