The building of Hultaby Castle was begun in the second half of the 13th century and it was inhabited in the middle of the 14th century by the Swedish councillor of the realm and earl of the Orkney Islands, Erengisle Sunesson (Bååt).
Together with the castle itself, which is 28 by 32 metres, the castle area consists of a group of 10 building foundations, which lie in an L-formation on the southern and eastern sides of the castle. There used to be an additional fifteen or so buildings spread out outside the castle area. The upper part of the castle, which consisted of a great room, two minor rooms and a tower, and the surrounding buildings, were of timber.
The castle is thought to have been burnt by Count Henrik of Holstein (known as “Järn Henrik”, Iron Henrik), the bailiff of King Albrecht, during the 1360s, at which time there was civil strife between the rival Swedish kings Magnus Eriksson and Albrecht of Mecklenburg.
The area around the old ruins shows many traces of the old cultivated landscape. Apart from the mounds of stones left by the farming of times past, there also remain plants that are favoured by hay making and grazing, such as leopard’s bane, greater yellow-rattle and common milkwort.References:
The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.
The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.
After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.
The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.
Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.
The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.