Wijnendale Castle

Wijnendale Castle, locally known as Kasteel Wijnendale, lies north west of the city of Torhout, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.

The first castle at this site was built by Robert I, Count of Flanders, at the end of the 11th century and used as a base for military operations.

In the 12th and 13th century, Wijnendale Castle became a regular place of residence for the Counts of Flanders and for Philip I, Count of Flanders, in particular. In 1297 Guy, Count of Flanders, signed a treaty here with the English King Edward I.

In 1298 the castle was inherited by the Counts of Namur, and besieged and damaged in 1302 and 1325.

After a period of neglect, Count John III of Namur sold the fief and castle in 1407 to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, who gave it to his son-in-law Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, 3 years later as part of the dowry on his marriage to John's daughter Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves.

In 1463 the castle passed to the Lords of Ravenstein. Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, and his son Philip of Cleves-Ravenstein transformed the castle into a beautiful mansion. Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Burgundy, stayed several times at Wijnendale Castle, as did her son Philip the Handsome. In 1482 Mary died from a fall from her horse while riding in the castle's forest.

In 1528 Wijnendale Castle went back to the Dukes of Cleves and their relatives, the Emperor Charles V and Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands, stayed at the castle several times. In the second half of the 16th century, the Dukes lost interest in their Flemish possessions and in 1578 part of the castle was burned down by Protestants.

Duke John William of Cleves died in 1609 without issue which sparked the War of the Jülich Succession. In 1614 one of the victors of that war Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg, was granted Wijnendale Castle. Later in the 17th century the castle was attacked, damaged and taken by the troops of Louis XIV of France several times. In 1690 they even blew up parts of the castle. Around 1700 Wijnendale Castle was rebuilt again by Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. During the 17th and 18th century the castle was home to a governor, as the Dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg resided in Germany.

In 1792 French Revolutionary troops invaded the region and Wijnendale Castle was confiscated. In 1811 French troops caused so much damage to the castle that only a ruin was left. In 1825 the castle ruin and its domain were sold to a Walloon mining company. They cut down large parts of the castle's forest as they needed the wood for constructing their mines.

In 1833 the castle and domain were bought by a banker from Brussels, Josse-Pierre Matthieu. He rebuilt the castle between 1837 and 1852. His son Joseph Louis Matthieu modified it in 1877 and gave it its present romanticized, faux-medieval appearance. The oldest part of the present castle is that built out of grey stones.

In 1940 the Belgian King Leopold III stayed Wijnendale Castle. He had a last meeting there with his cabinet ministers before Belgium capitulated to the German forces. He then refused to follow them to Britain and rather stayed in his occupied country to try and govern under the Germans. This decision led to his forced abdication after the war.

At present Wijnendale is still private property. One part of the castle, that with the grey stones, is still the private residence of the Matthieu family. The other part is partly used as a museum which can be visited for fee during the summer months. A great castle!


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.castles.nl/wijnendale-castle#sigFreeId519a039665

Wijnendale Castle

Wijnendale Castle, locally known as Kasteel Wijnendale, lies north west of the city of Torhout, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.

The first castle at this site was built by Robert I, Count of Flanders, at the end of the 11th century and used as a base for military operations.

In the 12th and 13th century, Wijnendale Castle became a regular place of residence for the Counts of Flanders and for Philip I, Count of Flanders, in particular. In 1297 Guy, Count of Flanders, signed a treaty here with the English King Edward I.

In 1298 the castle was inherited by the Counts of Namur, and besieged and damaged in 1302 and 1325.

After a period of neglect, Count John III of Namur sold the fief and castle in 1407 to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, who gave it to his son-in-law Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, 3 years later as part of the dowry on his marriage to John's daughter Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves.

In 1463 the castle passed to the Lords of Ravenstein. Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, and his son Philip of Cleves-Ravenstein transformed the castle into a beautiful mansion. Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Burgundy, stayed several times at Wijnendale Castle, as did her son Philip the Handsome. In 1482 Mary died from a fall from her horse while riding in the castle's forest.

In 1528 Wijnendale Castle went back to the Dukes of Cleves and their relatives, the Emperor Charles V and Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands, stayed at the castle several times. In the second half of the 16th century, the Dukes lost interest in their Flemish possessions and in 1578 part of the castle was burned down by Protestants.

Duke John William of Cleves died in 1609 without issue which sparked the War of the Jülich Succession. In 1614 one of the victors of that war Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg, was granted Wijnendale Castle. Later in the 17th century the castle was attacked, damaged and taken by the troops of Louis XIV of France several times. In 1690 they even blew up parts of the castle. Around 1700 Wijnendale Castle was rebuilt again by Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. During the 17th and 18th century the castle was home to a governor, as the Dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg resided in Germany.

In 1792 French Revolutionary troops invaded the region and Wijnendale Castle was confiscated. In 1811 French troops caused so much damage to the castle that only a ruin was left. In 1825 the castle ruin and its domain were sold to a Walloon mining company. They cut down large parts of the castle's forest as they needed the wood for constructing their mines.

In 1833 the castle and domain were bought by a banker from Brussels, Josse-Pierre Matthieu. He rebuilt the castle between 1837 and 1852. His son Joseph Louis Matthieu modified it in 1877 and gave it its present romanticized, faux-medieval appearance. The oldest part of the present castle is that built out of grey stones.

In 1940 the Belgian King Leopold III stayed Wijnendale Castle. He had a last meeting there with his cabinet ministers before Belgium capitulated to the German forces. He then refused to follow them to Britain and rather stayed in his occupied country to try and govern under the Germans. This decision led to his forced abdication after the war.

At present Wijnendale is still private property. One part of the castle, that with the grey stones, is still the private residence of the Matthieu family. The other part is partly used as a museum which can be visited for fee during the summer months. A great castle!


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.castles.nl/wijnendale-castle#sigFreeId519a039665