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INGELMUNSTER

Robert de Fries, Count of Flanders from 1071 until 1093 built the castle on the place where there used to be a 7th century monastery that was plundered by the Vikings. In 1297 the French King Filips de Schone stayed in the castle during the war against the Flemish count Gwijde van Dampierre. During the 15th century the castle changed hands many times. One of those times it was in the hands of Jan van Etampes who in 1435 married Jacoba d'Ailly from the house of Gistel. He was from Ingelmunster, a prosperous court. After his death the castle went to the van Kleef under the French crown. In 1580 during the battle of Ingelmunster between the Spaniards and the Dutch States Army the castle and village of Ingelmunster was severely damaged. The German commander Otto von Plotho of the mercenary army that fights for the French King bought the castle and also the complete village plus lots of land in the surrounding area. The family Plotho got the official title of Baron of Ingelmunster in 1643. The castle went through a dark period between 1635 and 1706 when during several sieges by Spaniards, Dutch and French troops the castle got damaged many times but was always rebuilt in a more luxurious way. However in 1695 the French troops bombarded the castle so intense and afterwards plundered even the smoldering remains that it is impossible to restore the castle. So they tore down what was left and simply built a completely new castle. Between 1709 and 1755 Gehhard Franciscus de Plotho oversaw the erection of a new U shaped castle. It became a late baroque building on top of the foundation of the old square castle. In the middle of the 19th century, Charles Albéric Descantons - count of Montblanc and Baron of Ingelmunster inherited the castle. The German part of the Plotho dynasty protested but Charles-Joseph and his brother Ferdinand, the 9th generation of Plotho's who owned the castle stayed without an heir and they decided to leave the castle to a Frenchman.
Prince Ruprecht van Beieren turned the castle into the headquarters for the German troops during WWI. He was the brother-in-law of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium but the war puts them on opposite sides of the frontline. The castle got through WWII without major trauma although the Baron fights in the underground resistance. Since 1947, the park has been a protected landscape. In 1974, the castle also became a protected monument. In 1986 there was a public sale of the castle. After her husband passed away in 1970, Barones Mathilde de Meaux - the widow of the last of the Montblanc dynasty, she was only there during the summer months. The castle was then bought by the brothers Luc en Marc Van Honsbrouck. Tragedy struck the castle in 2001 when large parts of the castle are destroyed by a fire. As you can see from the pictures the restorations are still going on. The beautiful park is open to the public and in one of the cellars is a tavern where you can taste the famous castle beer. During the summer the park is open everyday from 2pm during the winter the park is only open during the weekend. You can find the castle in the village Ingelmunster.

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