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Fagnolles Castle

Belgian Castles

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Fagnolles Castle, locally known as Château de Fagnolles, lies in a field just north of the village of Fagnolle, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

The castle dates back to the late 12th century and was built by the counts of Hainaut. Since 1485 it was situated on the borders of the principality of Liége. The castle belonged to several families until 1554 when it was taken by the French during the war between the French king Henri II and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1555 it was reconquered by William of Orange (nicknamed the Silent) who partially dismantled it. In 1817 the castle was attached to the province of Namur. It was the property of the Princes de Ligne until 1920.

Fagnolles Castle was set up in the Syrian-Palestine style as a quadrilateral fortress with, originally, four high towers at each corner. The castle underwent transformations in the 14th century. Also in the 15th century it was modernized by Gérard d’Enghien and Marie de Fagnolle. The castle is situated in a muddy meadow skirted by the brook which formerly fed the moat that circles the castle. In front of the former drawbridge was a barbican of which nowadays the ruins can be seen. The castle and its outer ward were circled by a second defensive wall. Also remains of this wall are still visible.

Now something about my visit to this nice castle ruin. What a sad sight!!! When searching the internet before my visit I always read that the castle could be visited and that there was a tavern and that tours were given. How wrong this information was! When I arrived I found the rusty gates closed. I visited the castle nevertheless and found out that all touristic activities seemed as if they had stopped at least ten years ago; even the old ticket booth was ruined and vandalized. I think this was because the castle was literally falling apart; everywhere were steel supporting beams keeping walls from collapsing. I guess that the restorations, done in the late 20th century, hadn’t done the castle a lot of good. During these works also some rebuilding was done in ugly concrete. It is a pity because the castle has a lot to offer, such as a couple of rooms, its layout with the rare barbican and you can still climb to the top of the one corner tower left standing. This is really an unworthy end for such a proud building.

So access to the castle is prohibited but you can always go and visit the nice ruins of nearby Haute Roche Castle.

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