Ammersoyen castle was originally built in 1350 by Dirk van Herlaer along the river Maas. Ammersoyen was a unique castle as it was built using a fixed plan, which was unlike other castles built during this era. The design included four wings that were constructed around a center court. Each corner had its own heavy tower for extra protection. The castle included a gatehouse and was originally surrounded by a moat. At the time, it was one of the finest defensive structures in the country.

In 1386, the castle was lost to Duke of Gelderland who gave the castle to his illegitimate son. He then sold the castle in 1424 to Johan van Broekhugen, Lord of Waarenburg. For the next four hundred years, the castle only exchanged hands through inheritance.

Throughout history the castle was besieged several times with 1513 and 1574 being some of the more notable events. The castle suffered the most damage in 1590 when the castle owner Joris van Arkel was killed from his injuries. After his death, the castle fell into ruin until the 17th century when the Van Arkel family finally raised enough money to restore the castle. Thomas van Arkel paid the French 7,000 guilders to save the castle in 1672 when France swept through Holland and burned many castles along the way. The castle may have survived, but Thomas remained in debt and was never able to finish the castle renovations. After his death, the castle was inherited by another family.

The castle was then sold to the Roman Catholic Church in 1876 and was used as a convent. During World War II, the castle was used as shelter for village residents. Once the war was over, the castle was used as a village hall until it was purchased by the Gelderland Castle Trust in the late 1950s. It has since been restored to its former medieval glory.

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User Reviews

Angelo Blasutta (2 years ago)
I missed the visit. Outside the castle is amazing, really well kept
Julia Wolter (3 years ago)
Nice medieval castle experience. Very cool for younger kids :)
Jon Olson (3 years ago)
The guided tour was fantastic! Our guide, Mike, gave the tour in Dutch going forward and then offered to do the tour in English going back. With my limited language skill, this was the only way to fill-in the missing information and certainly it made more sense. It was worth waiting for the late opening time.
Dennis Verweij (3 years ago)
gorgeous castle that is open to the public. If you have a museum card you can enter in for free. If you do come, make sure you check the website before hand so you can see the schedules for the tours so you don't miss out! Though be warned, if you are a fairly tall individual, some of the old stairwells will be difficult to go up and down. it also has things for kids to do, so bring them with for a great learning opportunity.
Megan Webberking (5 years ago)
My hobby since moving to Germany is to visit as many castles and fortresses in Europe as possible. I'm at #90. I visited here earlier this year and was completely impressed. It wasn't touristic, and it felt real - in the respect the people cared to explain the history and give you the full experience of the history. You felt transported back in time. Learning of what happened through the decades.... Completely captivated with this Kasteel. The people were super friendly, and provided me with an English tour which was just amazing. I loved it! I would definitely recommend this castle. Super history/and people leading the tours!!! It's one of my top picks!
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.