Auto Draft

Antoing Castle

Belgian Castles

Auto Draft

Antoing Castle, locally known as Château d’Antoing or Château des Princes de Ligne, lies in the town of the same name, in the province of Hainaut in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

The castle dates back to the 10th century when a wooden motte and bailey castle was built here, on the right bank of the Scheldt River, by the Count of Flanders.

In the beginning of the 12th century the castellan of Antoing Castle became a lord in his own right. The wooden fortifications were then replaced by stone ones and a stone keep was built.

In 1327 Antoing Castle went to the House of Melun through marriage. Between 1436 and 1452, Jean de Melun had the castle rebuilt. He turned the old keep into a more luxurious tower house, updated the defenses of the castle to the advances in artillery and added the barbican in front of the gate tower. Apparently the De Melun family ran in high circles as the castle was visited by lots of important people; Philip the Good in 1464, Charles the Bold in 1468, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I with his daughter Margaret of Austria and Henry VIII of England in 1513 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with his son Philip II of Spain in 1546.

In the mid-16th century a corps de logis was built next to the gate tower. This building now serves as a coach house. Also the large, slender brick tower was built against the old tower house, as was a manor in the Flemish Renaissance Revival style.

In 1565, during the prelude to the Dutch Revolt, the future leader and commanders of the Revolt; William of Orange and the Counts of Egmont, Horne, Brederode and Marnix of Saint-Aldegonde assembled in Antoing Castle.

Through marriage, the castle went to the De Ligne family in 1634. They had been created Princes of the Holy Roman Empire by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in 1601. This family still owns the castle to this day.

The castle was visited by Louis XIV of France in 1670 and by his successor Louis XV, accompanied by the Dauphin, in 1745.

In the 19th century Antoing Castle was restored to its present appearance by the French architect Clément Parent, a pupil of the famous Viollet-le-Duc.

In 1901 the castle had been standing empty for a dozen years. It was then turned into a Jesuit college, where Charles de Gaulle studied between 1904 and 1908. In 1914 the Jesuits had to leave the castle as it was turned into a military hospital by the German Army.

At present Antoing Castle is still a private residence for the De Ligne family. It can be visited with a guide, for a fee on special days. The visit takes you through the gate to the courtyard, a chapel on the courtyard and to the top of the highest tower. The main castle is off limits. Still very much worth a visit. A great castle. César Castle is nearby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *