Yet another 'no future' location. Maybe the most sentimental location we explored. Located in the center of Lede, close to Aalst, this castle has a complex history.
Built and destroyed many times, what remains from this building dates mainly from the beginning of the 17th century. In the middle of a pretty public park of 7 hectares, the castle has a lot of outbuildings like stables and an orangery.
After 1796, the castle was not used as a living place anymore. During the next century, the castle was used for the local industry A gin distillery, a sugar refinery, a potash refinery and a tobacco factory took place in the caves of the castle. Still a lot of machines remain there.
In 1897 the castle was sold to a religious order that built the impressive neo-gothic chapel. After the First World War an institution bought the complex and established a school for the local children. A new aisle was added, the nice Dutch pavilion, and also a school.
This boarding school was first located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, founded by Mrs de Maintenon. After its destruction, it moved to Lede in Belgium. The teaching was performed in French. Only female students here, the school is reserved to the penniless aristocracy. Later on, militaries daughters were allowed.
The education was very 18th century oriented: strict and rigorous. The motto was "I'd maintain". For instance, the girls had to greet their teachers with a curtsey performed in three movements when they entered in the classrooms. Then when the teacher went out, the pupils stood up and made another curtsey while saying "Miss, we thank you for the lessons you taught us".
The school was financed by the Belgian aristocracy. The Boël baroness, Miss Carton de Villard among many others. The pupils paid also an expensive tribute.
The days started up early. At 6am they had to wake up and wash. After the 7pm mass, the breakfast and the lessons followed. The mass was given by an external priest, no religious person was allowed to stay inside the school. The chapel, nowadays in a derelict state, had a beautiful long blue carpet in the center alley, with an heraldic lily painted on it.
The education was particularly refined: the girls had to know everything to behave in the high society and in 'great houses'. Learning how to receive important persons but also being able to manage employees, while being able to perform any housework. This on top of the primary and secondary lessons. Actually, one started the school at the age of 5 to finish at 18 years old! The professors taught principles such as "Misses, if you have the chance to manage employees, it is absolutely necessary that you can do everything they can do, at least as well as you expect from them. And if you don't, well this would be at least extremely useful for your family and yourself".
150 pupils lived there. The studies were extremely well followed. The girls received one visit per month, and were allowed to go back home only one month per year.
The leisure? Reading, walking in the country, and gym.
Each 5-6 years old pupil was patroned by a 12 to 18 years old girl who was responsible of her. She had to guide her little one and take care of her, for example watch out her clothes and behavior. The little girls slept in dormitory rooms while the oldest ones had private rooms, equipped of baths.
Problems appear then; Then the problems arose: the castle belongs in 1970 to the Ministry of Defence that let the complex rot. Costs for restoration became so high that it was refused to list the castle as a historical monument.
Associations are fighting for a rehabilitation, but as often money and procedures problems impeach any action to be taken. Still it remains a quiet and peaceful place to explore, although dangerous because everything is collapsing. Sad...
Greatness and decline is the motto here... The location gets more and more vandalized. A place that keeps its own char that we tried to revive by these ancient pictures. Happy exploring.
Hi Braxton, Yes this saddens me also! when they are going to develop the new appartments, they plan to leave one of the towers and the outta buildings. The main part of the buildings will be torn down but! there is some talk of a government offical taking a back hand to push this development through. It gets me very angry that their thowing their history away just like the UK has done.... so many beautiful places have gone from here. This place could of been saved, I just wished there was time to save it.
Thanks for your information Kevin though it saddens me greatly. I wonder if any attempt was made to save the window glass, or any salvageable fancy bits of the house, stone carvings etc. it seems unimaginable that all should be lost. If I were building the apartments I would have at least attempted to save the facades of the existing buildings--however that would reduce profits and require foresight and brains, which developers rarely have.
Bad news! the demolition will start this april has been given the go ahead for new luxury appartments. I wish this could of been stopped and people cared enough to save such a beautiful place
I was wondering if there was any new information on the castle and regarding its future. It sickens me to see such a beautiful building going to rack and ruin and laid to waste! I cannot comprehend why such people would vandalize and destroy such a place. I wonder if the parents of these vandals knew what their children were doing would they be so proud. Why can’t the government officials of Lede incorporate a program like the Americans do? There is still time to save this wonderful building and the local officials can cut the cost in repairing the building in half. There are plenty of people out there that would love to see this building restored, so why not create a data base for volunteers’ that would love to help restore this place along with people with trades i.e. builders, plasters, and roofers, Plumbers, electricians and so forth. They could get local and businesses from Lede and other surrounding areas to donate materials for building and restoration and have them clam it as a tax deduction. It is not an impossibility to attract sponsors from around the world and breathe new life into this jewel. The building once restored could be used as a museum or turned into a hotel generating revenue for the local area. Is there any way of submitting these ideas to local government?
Bill(now in Canada) wrote on Nov 10th 2007 that he would like information about the Bettes family from 1900-2000. My wife was a pupil at the school for 9 years and has all the School Magazines from about 1930-1938. In them there is the complete history of the Bettes family. If you get in touch via these pages we should be pleased to let you have the details you request. I will check this site weekly from 10th February 2010 until we hear from you Bruce.
Kan iemand vertellen hoe het er nu bij staat?
I'm pretty sure the poster about Wal-mart was kidding! They were being sarcastic!
It almost made me cry seeing those pictures. The castle is still beautiful and it made me sad that there are people who are happy seeing it die for a stupid walwart, which is btw anything but exclusive.
Thank you for sharing the dieing beauty.
waarom dat doet verdwijnen
waar moeten ze nu heen
het is hun thuis
wat ze er nu gaan opbouwen, gelijk wat
niemand zal er de rust vinden,
want alles van hun word afgenomen, het is hun thuis.....................
hey all of you.
is there still any possibillity to vistit/explore this beautiful castle?
at least from the outside?
can you recommend any other special places to visit?
@Viveca:Wie kan er nu verdomme blij zijn dat zo iets moois zal verdwijnen ...en als je van Lede bent dan hoor je te weten dat er op de site een nieuw rusthuis en service flats komen,zoniet ben je écht oerdom hoor!
Bepaalde delen van de muur rondom het domein zijn nu afgebroken en in de plaats is er een mooi(het mag gezegd) hek geplaast.Persoonlijk vind ik wel dat waar vroeger betonplaaten stonden (ter hoogte van de beukendreef),m'n terug een muur moest gebouwd hebben i.p.v een hek.Dit om de intimiteit van het park te bewaren!Nu vrees ik het straatlawaai in dit deel van het park... Nog dit:BLIJF UIT DE GEBOUWEN/KEEP OUT OF THE BUILDINGS.Schoolvleugel 1 is écht levensgevaarlijk geworden!!Onlangs zijn nog 2 dakkapellen naar beneden gekomen!Als je zoiets op je hoofd krijgt,ben je er geweest hoor....
I am so happy that the place is being torn down. They are going to build a Super walmart there. I can`t wait to have an exclusive place to buy my clothes.
Jessica, thanks for the comment, I agree with all you said. I wonder if this structure were in America, if any more would be done to save it. Europe has so many of these architectural ancient wonders, I think some of them fall by the wayside. We still do, however, tear down historic houses and buildings in America, in favor of so-called updated modern architecture. I wish i were rich, too, if nothing else to save/salvage the rare and beautiful.
Beautiful! I wish it could be saved, at least the stained glass. I know it's been said over and over here, but if I had the money, I'd restore it. Though I'm sure it would cost many millions of dollars. I can think of worse things to spend money on.
Don't go in there anymore! It's really too dangerous... And you can't get in there anymore either... I went in there last year, and your heart will break when you see how the castle is inside, it really made me sad...
Castle Mesen has haunted me since I first saw it on this website. I wil still hold out hope for it's stabilization until the last brick falls. If nothing else, I pray that they save the windows from the chapel. It is an architectural masterpiece, and I wish I had unlimited funds to save the structure. Thank you for enlightening all of us to the beauty that still remains. Wealthy people, attention! Save this structure!
If nothing else, thanks for showing Castle Mesen to the world.
I makes me very mad to see such beauty abandoned and left to rot. We arrogant "smart, modern people" dont mind spending 10, 20 or more than 75 thousand dollars on cars, but to preserve history? cant even waste 1 hour or 20 dollars. It no wonder us foolish humans keep having to rediscover things, why we never really make any progress. Sure, the style changes but we never really advance. We as humans need to preserve and appreciate history for if it wasn't for history we would not have anything.
Couldn't this amazing building be saved? Even if it had to be turned into a resort? it better than letting it be destroyed.
Ik ben zeer geïnteresseerd in het kasteel van Mesen. Laatste keer dat ik er was, merkte ik tot mijn schrik dat men begonnen is met de sloop van de kasteelmuur. Het zal nu niet lang meer duren.
Graag zou ik van een van u horen hoe het geheel er nu aan toe is. Ik vrees dat sloopwerkzaamheden zijn gevorderd.
Ook wil ik hier (als dat mag) een eigen link plaatsen, voor meer werk van mij omtrent het kasteel.
Informatie over de film die ik maak, links naar relevante youtubefilmpjes en meer, op www.TomHiensch.nl
Of zoek op youtube.com naar "Thomas Hiensch", of "the Daughterschool"
I have a question concerning this location, how dangerous is it? Can you still go inside, of would that be suicide? And would it be possible to go inside with a small film crew?
Going there tonight again after months of absence...
Its getting more and more dangerous for people that don't know the location well tho
Ik zie hieronder in een comment dat iemand aangeeft ter plaatse te gaan om nog foto's te nemen.
Ik ben er zelf enkele malen, een aantal jaren achtereenvolgens geweest. De conditie van het gebouw gaat heel hard achteruit.
Ik heb zelfs geprobeerd om een gespecialiseerde firma, via de gemeente dit pand over te laten nemen voor ombouw tot lofts, hotel etc.................maar helaas !!!!!
Ik vind het nu te gevaarlijk om nog te gaan kijken. Instortingsgevaar is zeer zeer groot!
T'is een mooi gebouw, waar je aan de buitenzijde nog heel mooie plaatjes kunt maken, doch binnen staat alles op instorten.
Dit is niet om iedereen te weerhouden, maar ieders veiligheid te waarborgen.
Je kunt maar gewaarschuwd zijn !!!
This is absolutely brilliant, thanks for the glimpse.
Ik wil er komende donderdag naartoe gaan
Voor enkele foto's te maken voor mij eindwerk
Hopelijk kan ik er makkelijk binnen
I am curious to know why no one has attempted to salvage much of the materials seen in the pictures, esp the stain glass windows, the wroght iron of the stairs, and numerous antiques. They would be worth much on a resale market.
Your use of before and after photos truly enhance the experience of the journey through time. I can see the tremendous benefit of preparing before adventuring which allowed you to position yourself so perfectly for each exposure. A most excellent addition to your fine site!
riches and prosperity do not appear to have suffered any. Its agriculture, which it loses the interest and, secondly, in the expense of replenishing
my oma's family was Bette, does someone know in what year this castle changed hands? I am very interested in its history from 1700 to 1900, please let me know, bedankt
I am so captivated by these pics and realy enjoyed it
Beautifully evocative photos... thank you for capturing the "bare, ruined choirs" of a place with such a history.
i've been in this castle for about a year ago with some friends. it's ridiculous they say it's about to collapse cuz it wasn't that dangerous, at least not as dangerous as i thought it would be. it was a very cool day though. when i was walking through the rooms and the corridors i kept imagining how it used to be years ago. they're talking about restaurating the whole place, personally i think that's not possible anymore. but i don't think they should bring it down either, too much history there and it's too special aswell. there's something about the place and it would be a shame if it would be lost. it's beautiful and it should stay the way is is
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