The Abbey of La Cambre or Ter Kameren Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey in Ixelles, Brussels. The abbey church is a catholic parish of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels and home to a community of Norbertine canons while other parts of the monastery house the headquarters of the Belgian National Geographic Institute and La Cambre, a prestigious visual arts school.
The abbey was founded about 1196, by its patroness Gisèle, with the support of the monastic community of the abbey of Villers, following the Cistercian rule. Henry I, Duke of Brabant donated the Étangs d'Ixelles, a water mill, and the domaine of the monastery. The Abbaye de la Chambre de Notre-Dame, hence La Cambre, remained under the spiritual guidance of Villers, one of the most important Cistercian communities.
Saint Boniface of Brussels (1182–1260), a native of Ixelles, canon of Sainte-Gudule (future cathedral of Brussels), who taught theology at the University of Paris and was made bishop of Lausanne (1231), lived eighteen years in the abbey and is interred in the church. The mystic leper saint Alix lived in the community at the same epoch.
During the numerous wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, the abbey was largely destroyed, but it was rebuilt in the 18th century, in the French form it largely retains.
The abbey was suppressed at the French Revolution. Today's buildings are from the 18th century. The simple abbey church houses Albert Bouts' early 16th-century The Mocking of Christ. The cloister adjoins the abbey church and the refectory. The 18th-century abbesses' residence, with its cour d'honneur and formal gardens, has preserved the presbytery and the stables and other dependencies. The terraced garden and formal clipped bosquets were restored in the 18th-century manner starting in 1924.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.