Villeret Tower

Villeret Tower

Belgian Castles

Villeret Tower

Villeret Tower, locally known as Donjon de Villeret, lies on a hill near the village of Saint-Martin, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

Villeret Tower was built in the first half of the 13th century by Ybert de Villeret, a vassal of the Count of Namur. It was built on the southern slope of the valley of the Ligne stream and was mainly used as a watchtower as it was located on the border of the County of Namur with the Duchy of Brabant. It defended Namur together with the nearby castles of Falnuée and Mielmont.

The tower was built out of sandstone and limestone and had three levels connected through wall staircases and was protected by a dry moat.

At the time of the War of the Cow (1274-1277) subjects of the Prince-Bishop of Liège were imprisoned here. The tower lost its military function with the arrival of Philippe the Good as the Count of Namur.

Between 1449 and 1494 the complex was enlarged with several outbuildings such as a farm with barns and stables and a baker’s oven. It became a walled enclosure known as “Haute Tour”, which translates to High Tower.

Between 1524 and 1857 the complex was used as the residence of some kind of administrator called a ‘censier’ in French. I couldn’t find a translation for this word, so if anyone can tell me what it means; please mail me!

At the beginning of the 20th century the tower and its outbuildings were in a very ruinous state. The tower itself was used as a cattle shed. At the end of the 20th century the castle was bought by an individual. The tower was subject of a restoration campaign intended to make it suitable for habitation again. There are also plans to build new structures next to the castle.

When I visited it seemed that the forementioned campaign only consolidated the tower. No new structures were build. The outbuildings still are in ruin and very much overgrown. There only was a deep hole next to the tower; perhaps for the intended swimming pool? Let’s hope that no new structures are ever build because it would ruin the present peaceful atmosphere in my opinion. The tower itself can’t be visited; its entrances are walled up. The terrain surrounding the tower is freely accessible.

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