Sombreffe Castle was built in the early the 13th century as a simple keep pertaining to the Lords of Orbais. It was a border fortress of the duchy of Brabant. Later in the 13th century the Lords of Orbais surrounded the keep with a circular curtain wall. This wall was equipped with several towers, a gate and a secondary keep.
In 1446 the castle passed to the Vernembourg family by marriage. They kept the castle until 1543. Several other families passed as owners of Sombreffe Castle; Culembourg, Lalaing, Ligne, Oignies and finally the Lannoy family.
At the end of the 16th century the upper part of the primary keep, where the residence of the Lord was situated, was destroyed by fire. In the beginning of the 17th century this part was rebuilt with the use of bricks.
In the 18th century a new residence for the Lord was built beside the primary keep. In the 19th century the castle was used for agricultural purposes. A doctor Geerts bought Sombreffe Castle in 1982 and restored it.
Today the castle is used for parties, marriages and as a restaurant. But when I visited it seemed that it hadn't been used for these purposes for some time now. Nevertheless a very nice castle.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.