Westhove Castle was probably built in the beginning of the 13th century. It consisted of a moated castle and bailey separated by a moat. The bailey had three entrances and two round towers. The castle itself also had two towers. The castle and the surrounding lands became the property of the Abbey of Middelburg in 1277. It served as the summer residence of the abbots.
Around 1560 the castle's west side was extended. And in 1562 the castle became an episcopal summer mansion. In 1572 it was stormed by the Geuzen because of its Spanish occupation and partially destroyed. Only the north face of the castle was spared. After this the castle was rebuild and again made suitable for habitation.
In the second half of the 19th century the exterior of the castle was plastered but in the beginning of the 20th century this plaster was removed again. In the beginning of the 20th century the castle was used as a nursing home for children.During WW II the castle was again heavily damaged. In 1948 the outside of the castle was repaired, followed in 1977 by a thorough restoration of its interiors.
Because of all these changes during the castles history, caused by damages and the following repairs, not much remains of the real medieval castle. What we see today mostly dates back to the 17th and 18th century.
The castle is now used as a Youth Hostel and lies in a nature reserve only a couple of minutes walk from the beaches.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.