Bonne-Espérance Abbey was a Premonstratensian abbey that existed from 1130 to the end of the 18th century. The abbey owed its foundation to the conversion of William, the only son and heir of Rainard, the Knight of Croix. William had followed the heretical teaching of Tanchelm, but Norbert of Xanten brought him back to Roman Catholicism. In gratitude his parents, Rainard and Beatrix, gave land to Norbert for the foundation of an abbey at Ramignies, while William followed Norbert to Prémontré. Ramignies having been found unsuitable, Odo, the first abbot, led his young colony to another locality in the neighbourhood.
In the time of the 46th and last abbot of Bonne-Espérance, Bonaventure Daublain, the abbey was twice occupied and pillaged by the French Revolutionary Army, in 1792 and again in 1794, when the community was dispersed. At the time of its suppression the abbey counted sixty-seven members. Although they wished to live in community, they were not allowed to do so during the French Republic, nor after 1815 under King William I of the Netherlands. The last surviving religious gave the abbey to the Bishop of Tournai for a diocesan seminary.
The church is still Norbertine in its appearance. In 1616 or 1617 the remains of Saint Frederick of Hallum were brought here from the Premonstratensian Mariengaarde Abbey in the Netherlands to save them from the Calvinists. The relics were concealed in Vellereille during the French Revolution. In 1938 they were moved to Leffe Abbey near Dinant.
The church still contains the statues of Saint Norbert, of Saint Frederick, and of two Premonstratensian bishops of Ratzeburg, Saints Evermod and Isfried. At the time of the suppression the statue of Our Lady of Good Hope was hidden; and when peace was restored, it was brought to the church of Vellereille of which one of the canons of Bonne-Espérance was the parish priest. In 1833 it was solemnly brought back to the abbey church, or, as it is now, the seminary church.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.