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Montaigle Castle

Belgian Castles

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Montaigle Castle, locally known as Château-fort de Montaigle, lies north east of the village of Falaën, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

A Roman fortification preceded the castle at this site which was used, on and off, between 260 and 450 AD. After that the site lay abandoned for around 4 centuries.

The castle was founded around 900 AD, probably by someone close to one of the first Counts of Namur. It was first mentioned in 1050 as the property of the Faing family. From then on, until the end of the 14th century it was known as Faing Castle.

In the early 12th century the castle went to the Count of Namur through inheritance and was ceded to Gilles de Berlaymont. In 1298 it was bought by Guy, Count of Flanders, who sold it to a son of his; Guy of Namur. The latter rebuilt the castle, but gave it a more residential than military appearance. What we see today are mainly the vestiges of that castle. Guy, who was a participant in the Battle of the Golden Spurs, supposedly used his castle as prison for a dozen French knights he had captured when taking Courtrai Castle in Lille.

After 1349 the castle again fell to the Count of Namur. When, in 1421, the County of Namur was sold to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, Jeanne d’Harcourt, widow of the Marquis of Namur, kept ownership of Montaigle Castle. When she died in 1455 it finally entered the possessions of the Duke. By then the castle was no longer a feudal home but was seen as a minor fortification, guarded by only around 20 armed men.

In 1554 Montaigle was destroyed by the troops of the French king Henry II of France invading the County of Namur. After that it fell to ruin. Even so, archaeological excavations proved that during the 16th and 17th centuries some parts of the ruins were being inhabited.

During the 18th and 19th century the castle ruin had become a stone quarry for the local population. In 1865 this was stopped when it was acquired by the Marmol family, whose descendants still own it today. From then on interest in the castle revived and its ruins were consolidated several times.

Montaigle Castle was built on a rock in the winding valley of the Molignée river, its plan adapted to the shape of the rock. Its name; Montaigle, translates back to ‘eagle rock’.

At present the castle can be visited for a small fee. A great castle ruin.

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