Southeast view

A little history

Around 1251 Hendrik van Gelre started building Montfort Castle on the site of an earlier fortification. Until 1267 a curtain wall, out of natural stone, was built, on an irregular ground plan on a mound. It was equipped with 2 round towers on its northern corners and 2 open bastions on its southern corners, enclosing a courtyard. The northwest tower In those times it was located in inaccessible marshlands and moated. The groundlevel inside the castle walls was higher than the surrounding lands to stay dry during fluctuating waterlevels.
The castle is a typical example of a transitional type of a round castle turning into a square one.

After the death of Hendrik in 1284 the castle came into the possession of the Dukes of Gelre. It became their most southern bastion. In 1285 the castle was added with a new keep next to the entrancegate. This was a so called beak-tower which is unique for the entire Benelux. Its outward facing wall points out to reflect objects that were hurled towards it. It was named 'the Grauwert' (the Grey One) and its building was ordered by Count Reinoud I of Gelre. This keep had a diameter of ca. 12 meters and walls of up to 3,5 meters thick. Count Reinoud however didn't enjoy this new keep because he was kept prisoner in it, by his own son, from 1320 until his death in 1326.

The Under the rule of Count Reinald II of Gelre underwent a lot of building activities in 1342 and 1343. Several residential and industrial buildings were put up inside the castle against the north and east walls and the castle was considerably strengthened which made it a formidable stronghold. In several medieval texts the castle was considered impregnable.

Between 1473 and 1477 the castle was besieged by troops of Karel the Bold and also in 1493 the castle was besieged. These war acts caused a lot of damage to the castle.
The castle was again besieged and heavily damaged between 1543 by troops of Emperor Karel V.

Due to the threat of new tactics using artillery a new square wall with bastioned corners was put up around the entire castle around 1550. Also it was provided with a double moat. These new defensive works were repaired between 1632 and 1643. This, however, couldn't prevent the castle for losing its military importance at the end of the 17th century.

Aerial view from 60's/70's? In 1685-1687 and the following centuries its outer defensive works were demolished and sold and the keep was blown up. The moats were filled in and the mound on which the castle stood was dug off, revealing the foundations of the curtain walls. The castle ruins were repeatedly used as a quarry for cheap building materials by the locals.

In 1840 an octagonal hunting lodge was built on the ruins of the northeast tower which has also fallen into ruin. In 1952 the last private owner sold the castle ruins to the Valkenburg Castle Association who carried out some preservation works.

The 1840 hunting lodge Directly next to the castle ruins lies a farm and when I visited, the normal entrance to the castle grounds was closed and I was permitted entrance through a side door by the farmer's wife. The castle grounds were fenced off and occupied by a flock of grazing sheep. It's a very nice castle ruin to go to and it doesn't seem to receive many visitors.

The castle has got its own website at Kasteel Montfort.nl.

More pictures!

Location and contact information

At Huysdijk 10 in Montfort, tel.nr. 0475-542061.
Open: at present only for groups on appointment with a guide, whole year round.

Montfort Castle Links

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