Bouvigne Castle origins are not known. It appears in official documents for the first time in 1554, in the testament Jacob van Brecht. Here it is described as a stately stone building surrounded by water. Over time the castle has been extended. It began as a stone house to which a tower was added (between 1554 and 1611). Over the following three years further modifications were made to the building and the tower extended to its present height. This gave the form we see today.
The Van Brecht family are the first recorded owners of the Castle and their name can be found on tile work from c. 1494. They used the castle as a summer residence, living in the town during the rest of the year. In 1611, Jan Baptist Keermans became the owner. He was responsible for much of the rebuilding but did not enjoy the fruits of his labour since in 1614 the land passed into new hands of The Prince of Orange.
The family made little personal use of the castle which was used as a residence for their stewards. The building was poorly maintained and fell into disrepair and was eventually threatened with demolition. The local people fortunately prevented this in 1774. In 1775 Willem V gave up possession. Today Castle Bouvigne is owned by the Waterschap (the regional body responsible for waterways and the maintenance of water levels).References:
Castle Rushen is located in the Isle of Man"s historic capital, Castletown. The castle is amongst the best examples of medieval castles in the British Isles, and is still in use as a court house, museum and educational centre.
The exact date of castle is unknown, although construction is thought to have taken place during the reigns of the late 12th century and early 13th century rulers of the Isle of Man – the Kings of Mann and the Isles. The original Castle Rushen consisted of a central square stone tower, or keep. The site was also fortified to guard the entrance to the Silver Burn. From its early beginnings, the castle was continually developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th century. The limestone walls dominated much of the surrounding landscape, serving as a point of dominance for the various rulers of the Isle of Man. By 1313, the original keep had been reinforced with towers to the west and south. In the 14th century, an east tower, gatehouses, and curtain wall were added.
After several more changes of hands the English and their supporters eventually prevailed. The English king Edward I Longshanks claimed that the island had belonged to the Kings of England for generations and he was merely reasserting their rightful claim to the Isle of Man.
The 18th century saw the castle in steady decay. By the end of the century it was converted into a prison. Even though the castle was in continuous use as a prison, the decline continued until the turn of the 20th century, when it was restored under the oversight of the Lieutenant Governor, George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan. Following the restoration work, and the completion of the purpose-built Victoria Road Prison in 1891, the castle was transferred from the British Crown to the Isle of Man Government in 1929.
Today it is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage, depicting the history of the Kings and Lords of Mann. Most rooms are open to the public during the opening season (March to October), and all open rooms have signs telling their stories. The exhibitions include a working medieval kitchen where authentic period food is prepared on special occasions and re-enactments of various aspects of medieval life are held on a regular basis, with particular emphasis on educating the local children about their history. Archaeological finds made during excavations in the 1980s are displayed and used as learning tools for visitors.