Royère Castle, locally known as Château de la Royère, lies, surrounded by farmland, just north of the village of Néchin and just a couple of hundred meters from the border with France, in the province of Hainaut in the Wallonia region in Belgium.
In old French the word royère means limit. This is probably how the castle got its name because when it was built, it was situated on the border between Doornik and the lands of Lille.
The castle is the last example of a small, 13th century, plain castle in this area. It clearly had a defensive purpose; a powerful, moated, polygonal enclosure built out of Doornik stone, equipped with 3 round watchtowers and a gatehouse defended by two semi-circular towers. The entrance through the gatehouse would have been over a drawbridge.
Royère Castle was built by Arnould IV d’Audenaerde, baillif of Flanders and Hainaut, in the first half of the 13th century. However, within the enclosure foundations were found of a primitive keep dating back to the 10th-11th century, which would have been situated high on a feudal motte.
Later on the castle came into the hands of the Counts of Flandres, then in those of the Gysoing family before passing to the princes de Ligne until 1668, which is the probable date of its abandonment.
Nowadays it’s a beautiful ruin. It’s private property and not accessible.
When I visited this very nice ruin, there was a kind of morning mist which gave the castle a fairy-tale atmosphere in my opinion.
It was clear that not so long ago some restoration work had been carried out which had now clearly stopped.