Farciennes Castle

Farciennes Castle

Belgian Castles

Farciennes Castle

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

Farciennes Castle was first mentioned in 1344, when Adolphe de La Marck, Prince-Bishop of Liège, gave Hendrik of Farciennes permission to restore and strengthen his castle. In 1408 a Burgundian army went to the aid of the Prince-Bishop of Liège; John III, against the citizens of Liège, who were in open revolt. The rebellious citizens were defeated in a battle and the victors ordered that the strongholds in the area be dismantled, which included the castle of Farciennes.

After changing hands several times through the centuries, the remains of Farciennes Castle were acquired by Charles Albert de Longueval, Count of Bucquoy, in 1613. In 1629 he ordered the demolition of the remains of the medieval castle and in 1637 started the construction of the present castle. It was completed in 1676.

In the next two centuries the castle was visited by lots of nobles, amongst them Louis XIV, King of France and his wife. They stayed for 3 days and Louis described the castle as “The little Versailles of the North”. Other nobles were Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, Charles II of Spain and Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria.

During the French Revolution the castle was badly damaged by pillagers.

In 1809 the Count de Fours, the last lord of Farciennes, sold the castle to a Gabriel Scarsez, a lawyer from Mons. Scarsez however lacked the means to maintain an estate like Farciennes and the castle fell into disrepair. Finally, large parts of the surrounding park were sold and factories were built on the land. The castle walls started to show cracks as a result of the coal mines nearby which caused the ground below the castle to subside.

In 1836 the castle was rented out and a sugar factory and a distillery were installed in the castle, a steam engine and generators were constructed in the rooms on the first floor. In 1839 a large fire destroyed the eastern tower of the castle. In 1860 the castle was turned into a farm and its owner tore down the right wing of the castle to sell its stones in 1886.

In the 20th century some minor restoration works were done but after the death of the last inhabitants the castle stood empty and fell to ruin. In 1963 a small arm of the Sambre river, which had been situated next to the castle, was filled up and the stables and the large gardens with its fountains were cleared.

At present the ruins of Farciennes Castle are fenced off and can thus not be visited. It can however easily be seen from the public road. A beautiful ruin which hopefully can be saved before it crumbles away.

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