Poeke Castle was built in 1875 to the site of older castle. Standing in 56 hectares (140 acres) of park, it is surrounded by water and is accessible through bridges at the front and rear of the building.
It is unknown when the first fortification was constructed at Poeke, but references to it appear from 1139 onwards. The castle played a prominent role during the conflict between Count Louis II of Flanders and the city of Ghent in 1382. In the same year Eulaard II of Poeke died at the battle of Beverhoutsveld when he attempted to stop the Ghent militia, who by then had already taken his fort.
During the revolt of Ghent in 1452 against Philip the Good, the castle was taken by the Ghent militia. On 5 July 1452 Philip retook it, and had the Ghent militia present executed and the castle destroyed. The rebuilding most likely took over a century. After the death of Jan III of Poeke in 1563, the lordship became the possession of the de Mastaing family, distant relatives of the lords of Poeke. Jean de Jauche, lord of Mastaing, sold the lordship in 1588 to Philibert Delrye. His son Christoffel Delrye sold the lordship in 1597 to Jean de Preudhomme of Lille.
Markus-Antonius de Preudhomme d'Hailly carried out rebuilding activities from 1658 to 1664, and in 1671. Whether these activities were effective is unknown, as sources from this period are lacking. Later, Charles Florent Idesbald de Preudhomme d'Hailly carried out significant work on the castle between 1743 and 1752.
In 1872, Baron Victor Pycke de Peteghem (1835–1875), from Oudenaarde, bought the estates. He immediately initiated rebuilding works that lasted until 1875. The third storey was integrated into a higher roof, and the interior and the gardens were renovated. There remain hardly any elements dating from before 1872. Additionally, the French garden was turned into an English garden.
The Baron's last descendant, burgemeester and Baroness Ines Pycke de Peteghem, was the last resident and owner of the castle. In her will she bequeathed the entire estate to the National Work of Catholic School Colonies), who came into possession of it after her death in 1955. In 1977 the castle and its 56 ha park became the property of the municipality of Aalter, which now uses it for cultural meetings and festivities. It was used as a location for filming interior and exterior scenes for the 2012 BBC/HBO production of Parade's End.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.