Middachten Castle was first time mentioned in 1190, owned by Jacobus de Mithdac. Early in the 14th century Everardus van Steenre transferred its ownership to Reinald, count of Gelre. Everardus then got the castle back as a loan in 1357. The castle would remain with this family until 1625. During this time the castle was destroyed and rebuild several times. In 1673 Stadtholder William III conquered the city of Bonn, making the occupying French troops retreat, who destroyed the castle. Godard van Reede and his spouse Ursula van Raesfelt then had the castle rebuild, based on the example of Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn. It was designed by Jacobus Roman (1640-1716) and Steven Vennecool (1657-1719).
After the castle was rebuilt in 1698 a garden was built, based on the garden in Versailles in the period 1700-1725. In the late 18th century British style gardens became fashion, and the gardens were redone in this style. In 1900 count and countessa Bentinck-Van Heeckeren of Wassenaer had the gardens partially rebuilt in the original style by Hugo Poortman (a student of French garden artist Édouard André).
The castle used to have an extensive estate. However these are no longer owned by the owners of the castle. Buildings that used to belong to the castle estate can be recognized by the red and white coloring, for example the Post office in De Steeg.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.