Château d'Hougoumont

Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium

Château d'Hougoumont (originally Goumont) is a large farmhouse situated at the bottom of an escarpment near the Nivelles road in Braine-l'Alleud, where British and other allied forces faced Napoleon's Army at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.

In 1474 the Order of Saint John bought the area of estate. A building had apparently been erected on the land as it was sold in 1536 to Pierre du Fief, attorney-general to the Council of Brabant, who subsequently enlarged the property considerably. In 1562 the estate became the property of Pierre Quarré and stayed in the Quarré family until 1637 when it was bought by Arnold Schuyl, Lord of Walhorn. It was around this time that the present building was erected.

In June 1815 the chateau became an epicenter of fighting in the Battle of Waterloo as it was one of the first places where British and other allied forces faced Napoleon's Army.

In his novel Les Misérables, Victor Hugo describes how 300 bodies were thrown down a well at Hougoumont. Several historians have noted that an archaeological dig of the well by Derick Saunders in 1985 turned up no human remains in a well rediscovered at the site. In doing so, they state that it debunks a myth made popular by Hugo.

Hougoumont remained an active farm until the end of the 20th century. In 2003 a settlement was found between Count Guibert d'Oultremont, owner of the farm, and the Regional Authority after which it became the property of the Intercommunale (1815). By June 2006, the farm appeared to be derelict. The walls, which were once near pristine white, have become a dirty yellow. Several walls are cracked and parts are clearly damaged, most notably the right-hand door post of the north side gate.

Project Hougoumont was set up to oversee funding to restore and preserve Hougoumont for the long-term future. The project was completed in June 2015. Charles, Prince of Wales, unveiled a memorial at Hougoumont dedicated to the British soldiers who fought in the battle. The memorial by Vivien Mallock stands next to the north gate and shows two life-size soldiers struggling to close the critical gates of the farm to save it from being overrun by the French. The next day Hougoumont was opened to the public on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

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Details

Founded: 17th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Belgium

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Terence Riordan (6 months ago)
Fantastic to follow the history around and inside this battle within a battle. The Orchard ,Walls and the musket holes in the trees almost ring with screams and musket fire. Good museum sand show in Barn
carl hamilton (8 months ago)
Just a great place to visit and walk round.... And feel the history
Michelle Wiltgen (9 months ago)
Stunning... Especially the rescued animals... The lady that took us on tour was fantastic
Daniel Schudel (9 months ago)
Amazing historical place with a great multi media show about history.
Rowan Hulsman (10 months ago)
About +/- 1,5km from the mount, and easily walkable. I really liked the show here, very informative. Don't forget to download the app, because the show itself is in French, and with the app you have access to other languages.
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