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date: 23 August 2019

Laarne Castlelocked

  • Jacques Thiébaut

Extract

Belgian 14th-century moated castle situated south-east of Ghent on a flat marshland site in a bend of the River Scheldt. About 1150–57 Thierry de Masmines built a fortified house there, elements of which survive in the present castle. The building has been heavily modified, especially during the 17th century. The castle is built of Baelegem stone, the oldest parts in large squared blocks and the 15th-century parts in well-cut ashlar, while the 17th-century section is of a more roughly hewn construction.

Access to the castle, which has a pentagonal plan, is now on the eastern side through a cour d’honneur, its corners marked by pavilions and the enclosure walls pierced centrally by four portals leading respectively to the exterior, the outbuildings, the grounds, and, in the fourth side, a fixed bridge that was substituted for a drawbridge, which leads to the castle itself. The original fortified entrance is on the west side, a rectangular three-storey block with a staircase turret at its south-east corner. Remains of the original construction in the basement of the forebuilding survive, a Tournai ‘marble’ column supporting vaults with (later) brick ribs and corbels dating from the end of the 12th century or beginning of the 13th supporting the lintel of the entrance portal. At ground-level a bridge gives access to a pointed-arch doorway. On either side of the passage are rooms with fireplaces, vaulted in the 16th century when the stepped brick gables were also built. There is evidence that the building was originally two storeys higher....

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