Kasteel Wittem, now a national listed monument, was probably built in the 11th century. The oldest records in which the castle is mentioned date from 1125. The next century the castle was owned by the knights of Julémont. They started to call themselves Lords of Wittem. A title that was assumed by later owners. During their ownership in 1286, Reinoud, Count of Gelre, tried in vain to take the castle by surprise. In the early 15th century the castle was considerably enlarged until it consisted of a powerful stronghold with 7 towers and two moats spanned by bridges. Every bridge was equipped with a gate building.
The following successive owners of the castle were the knights of the Van Scavendriesch family and the Van Cosselaer family. In 1466 the castle was sold to Diederik van Pallant. In 1520 Emperor Charles V elevated Wittem to a Barony, probably as a reward for his sojourn at the castle on his journey to Aix-la-Chapelle for his coronation.
At the beginning of the 80-Years War Wittem Castle was confiscated by the Spanish under the Duke of Alva. His troops were expelled, in 1568, by the mercenary troops of William the Silent, Prince of Orange. Next William left to Maastricht to also free that city from the Spanish. When he didn't succeed he returned to Wittem Castle only to find it again taken by Spanish troops. Yet again he drove them out. In 1569 the Spanish returned again after which they destroyed the castle.
The castle was restored and enlarged in 1611, with compensation money for the war damages, by the Van Pallant family. In 1639 ownership of the castle transferred to the Counts of Waldeck Pyrmont. In 1678 they again had to restore the damage done to the castle, this time by French troops garrisoned in Maastricht.
In 1714 Count Ferdinand von Plettenberg became the last noble owner of the castle. When he came to the castle it already was in a dilapidated state. In 1794, after the French Revolution, the ruinous castle was taken from the count and sold to Simon Merckenbach. His family restored the castle to its present state and made it habitable again. In 1958 the castle was sold and is since being used as a hotel-restaurant.
The present building forms just a small part of the medieval castle. It consists of a round corner tower with two wings. In the farm buildings belonging to the castle are also parts of remaining medieval walls.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.