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MONTAIGLE

During the time when the Flemish militias crushed the army of France Gwijde van Dampiere was one of the heroes of the golden spur battle in 1302 and he erected this castle in the 14th century. The castle became the residence of the countesses of Namen. Margierite de Lorraine lived there from 1311 and a century later it is Jeanne d’Harcourt widow of Willem II van Namen who graces the castle with her presence. The castle managed to get through the troubled years of the end of the 15th century without too much damage, when the pillaging armies of Guillaume de la Marck burnt down and terrorized most surrounding villages. However, 1554 means the end of this mighty castle when the army of Hendrik II besieged the stronghold and destroyed it completely. Since then local farmers used the ruins as a stone pit and many poets and painters found inspiration in the dramatic setting of the ruins. The family De Polchets bought the ruins in the 17th century and the Count van Beaufort is the first one who started with some restorations in the 19th century. The organization, Friends of Montaigle, takes care of and strengthened the ruins since 1965. They often do excavations.
I visited the site June 2001 and was very fascinated by the still impressive looking ruins. You can walk freely all over the ruins in addition to there also being a small museum at the entrance where you can see all the stuff they have found during the excavations including a video about the history of the castle. Montaigle must be one of the most romantic places in Belgium. A visit is a must when you are in the area. Take the road Namen – Dinant, then take the direction to Maredsous and after a while you will see the ruin on your left.
I have more pictures of this castle HERE

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