Beaufort Castle consists of the ruins of the medieval fortress and an adjacent Renaissance château. It probably originates from the 11th century when a small square-shaped fortress was built on a large rock protected by a moat and a second wall above the valley. A reference from 1192 indicates that Wauthtier de Wiltz et Beaufort was its first lord. During the first half of the 12th century, a keep was added and the gate was moved and enlarged. In 1348, the property came into the hands of the House of Orley after Adelaide of Beaufort married William of Orley. The Lords of Orley made significant extensions overlooking the valley. In 1477, Maximilian of Austria transferred the castle to Johann Bayer von Boppard after Johann von Orley-Beaufort committed a breach in trust. In 1539, Bernard von Velbrück became Lord of Beaufort through marriage and added the large Renaissance wing with cross-framed windows on top of the medieval walls.
The castle then came into the hands of Gaspard de Heu who had married Velbrück's granddaughter. A partisan of the Dutch resistance and the House of Orange, de Heu was captured by the Spaniards, accused of heresy and treason, and publicly executed in Luxembourg's fish market in 1593. Philip II of Spain confiscated the property and entrusted it to Peter Ernst Graf von Mansfeld, the governor of Luxembourg. Through marriage, the castle became the property of Henri de Chalon and then Gaspard du Bost-Moulin who had to sell it after being ruined by the Thirty Years War. Acting on behalf of the Spanish king, Johann Baron von Beck, governor of Luxembourg, bought most of the property in 1639. He initiated the construction of the Renaissance castle in 1643 but after he died of injuries from the Battle of Lens in 1648, the work was completed by his son in 1649.
After various changes in ownership including Pierre de Coumont (1774) and Jean Théodore Baron de Tornaco-Vervoy (1781), the castle was abandoned, fell into disrepair and at the beginning of the 19th century was even used as a quarry. In 1850, it was listed by the State as a national monument. In 1893, the new owner Henri Even restored the new building and, in 1928, Edmond Linkels cleared the rubble away and opened the medieval castle to visitors. In 1981, the property was acquired by the State.
The ruins of the medieval castle are open to visitors in summer season.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.