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Cantecroy is one of the oldest castles of the Antwerp area. It's origin goes most likely back to a Frankish settlement in the Carolingian time era. Arnoldus van Canticrode is mentioned first when he signed a deed in 1239 during the sale of a piece of land.
In 1284 it is Welter Volcaert who owns the castle. His son gives the castle to Duke Jan II of Brabant. His youngest son Lauries is knighted after his brave fighting in the battle of Woeringen in 1288. he dies however in the battle of the golden spurs when he fights on the French side.
Willem II Berthout buys Cantecroy in 1296. It is this Willem II who erects between 1296 and 1308 the high round keep that would dominate the castle until 1618. His son Wouter van Ranst and his grandson Jan van Ranst become the next owners of the castle. Jan dies without an heir and so his castle go to his brother Costen van Ranst who was succeeded by his oldest son Jan II. His son Jan III transform the castle into a fortified stronghold. Jan III also dies without a direct heir. Eight heirs would fight for a long time about who will get the castle. After a long trial it are Jan IV van Ranst and Hendrik van Ranst who are appointed to take care of the estate.
We are in the year 1538 and the castle is property of Hendrik van Pointaillier. He had inherit half of the domain and had bought the other half from Johanna van Ranst. When Hendrik dies his widow is forced to sell the castle.
The new owner is Nicolas Perrenot de Granvelle he is Grand marshal of the empire and one of the most influential noble men of Empire Charles V. His oldest son is a brilliant man and he becomes bishop of Atrecht at age 21.
The castle was under attack during the iconoclasm of 1566. The attackers were however defeated. Cantecroy was turned into a powerful stronghold by Alva. After the pacification of Gent the Spaniards had to retreat. The regiment in Cantincrode was able to withstand the attacks for a long time but were forced to surrender in 1577.
Jan Baptist Maes bought the castle in 1616. He had however lots of debt. The city of Antwerp saw in this an opportunity to take revenge on the mighty castle. They forced Jan Baptist to remove all defending feature and to tear down all towers. At the end he was forced to sell the castle. It was Philip de Godines who bought the castle. By marriage the castle went to Karel de Fiennes bailiff of Brugge. During the guardianship of the Counts of Fiennes from 1655 to 1718 the castle would get its current appearance.
After the de Fiennes the castle would go to the family Termeeren until 1823 when they sell the feudalistic castle once again this time to Baron Jozef Renier Osy de Wycken. This important man was one of the persons who would offer the Belgian throne to Leopold van Saksen-Coburg.
During the 20th century the castle is in appalling state until madam Rosalie Van Daele buys the castle and restores it with her own means into one of the most beautiful estates of Flanders. Madam Van Daele died a few years ago and the castle is now occupied by her son.
What not many people know is that Albert Einstein stayed a while in the castle when he fled for the nazi's. He was waiting in the castle for his visa to move to the USA.
This is of course just a short versions of the rich history of this castle.
Recently the castle was bought by a company who put a bunch of service flats in the castle for the elderly. So now the gates are open and you can walk freely in the garden.