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Boussu Castle

Belgian Castles

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Boussu Castle, locally known as Château de Boussu, lies in a park in the town of the same name, in the province of Hainaut in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

The site of Boussu Castle has been occupied since Gallo-Roman times. The first castle was built here during the 10th century. It belonged to the Fontaine family and went to the Hénin-Liétard family through marriage.

In 1402 the castle was besieged by the Lord of Chaudmont, a sworn enemy of the Lords of Boussu. After a couple of days the castle was taken, plundered and partly burned down. In 1478 this first castle was finally destroyed as a result of the wars between France and the Duchy of Burgundy.

In 1540 Jean de Hénin-Liétard, the first Count of Boussu, ordered the building of a new Boussu Castle, by the architect Jacques du Broeucq. In 1545 Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, visited his friend Jean de Hénin-Liétard to admire his new castle. He recieved a very sumptuous welcome and, although the castle was still under construction, decided to stay the night. In 1554 Charles V visited the castle again and again recieved a sumptuous welcome, which gave rise to the legend that at the end of his visit, the Count of Boussu burned down his own castle because ‘after the visit of such a noble person, no one was more worthy to enter it’…

Boussu Castle was also visited by Phillip II of Spain in 1549 and 1558, by Louis XIV of France who celebrated his birthday here in 1655 and by William III of England in 1676. During following wars the castle suffered so much damage that by 1810 it was completely ruined. The castle ruin was then torn down with exception of the gate building which was restored by Count Maurice de Caraman.

During World War II the gate building was occupied by the Luftwaffe who used it as an ammunition depot. They blew up the depot in September 1944.

Since 2010 the ruin of the gate building was restored and now houses a small museum. It is situated in a municipal park. Of the castle itself only the built up foundation of the northeast tower and cellars remain. In the park area south of the castle there is a large area with all kinds of dressed stones, coming from the the old castle. There is also a ruined, early 20th century, house there.

The park in which Boussu Castle is situated can freely be visited in the daytime. The restored gate building can be visited for a fee on certain days. A pity it was closed when I visited. A very nice castle. I also liked the rows of stones coming from the old castle.

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