Burbant Tower, locally known as Tour Burbant, stands in the center of the town of Ath, in the province of Hainaut in the Wallonia region in Belgium.
This massive square keep is a nice example of military architecture in the early middle ages. It is one of the most northern examples of an English-Norman styled keep on the European mainland. The 20-meters high keep was built in 1166 by Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut. It defended the northern border of Hainaut against the county of Flanders.
The 14 by 14 meters square keep had five floors and has 4 meter thick walls. The original entrance was on the first floor level and only reachable over retractable stairs. Nowadays the floors have gone and the interior of the keep is completely empty.
During the 13th century the defense of Burbant Tower underwent large alterations. In 1328, at the latest, a first enclosure is built. A second enclosure was built between 1359 and 1377. The keep became primarily a prison. The entry on the first floor was transformed into window. And also the crenellations at the top of the keep disappeared.
In the 16th century the keep was crowned with a Renaissance spire which has now gone.
When I visited the keep was closed. It turned out that you could only visit it on appointment. I think this is a very nice castle. Although it is a pity that during the centuries a lot of its original defensive walls were incorporated in houses. This is why, nowadays, you can hardly recognize anything other than the keep. But still it is worth a visit.