Laarne Castle is a14th-century moated castle situated
south-east of Ghent on a flat marshland.
1150–57 Thierry de Masmines built a fortified house there, elements of which survive in the
present castle. The building has been heavily modified, especially during the 17th
Laarne Castle is built of Baelegem stone, the oldest parts in large squared
blocks and the 15th-century parts in well-cut ashlar, while the 17th-century section is
Laarne Castle History of
Laarne Castle proper was built at the
beginning of the 14th century when the fortified house was converted into the entrance block.
It consisted of a square donjon (on the north), three cylindrical towers (at the north-west,
east and south-east corners) and a dwelling situated between the donjon and the eastern tower,
with a complete wall-walk on top of the curtain walls.
tower has a staircase turret; the ground-floors are lit by loopholes, and their two upper
storeys have two-light windows; the ground-floor is roofed with a low domical vault, the middle
storey with a rib vault, the upper one with a wooden ceiling. The towers are crenellated and
covered by an octagonal pepper-pot roof of stone. The donjon on the north side is a sturdy
construction of three storeys.
The lower storey is divided by a central column and
is lit by loopholes and cannon loops. The chapel on the middle floor is vaulted with ribs
springing from corbels and was originally lit by two lancets; the removal in 1911 of the
17th-century decoration and the cordovan that was hung on the walls revealed paintings
datable possibly to the 14th century representing the Apostles, a Nativity, the Murder of
Abel and the Sacrifice of Isaac; there is also a fine piscina.
upper floor of the donjon is the ‘Salle de Justice’, which must have served as the lord’s
lodgings; the stone corbels mark the original level of the wooden roof. The crenellations of
the donjon have been bricked up, and its high pyramidal roof is surmounted by a
domestic buildings belong to different periods, and they have been much altered, mostly in the
17th century when the van Vilsteren family acquired the property and began to transform
thecastle into a comfortable residence. The east tower (now in the middle of the east façade)
was made into the new entrance, and the wall linking it with the south-east tower was
demolished to make room for the building south of the entrance.
façades overlooking the moat were built in stone, that towards the courtyard is in brick with
stone mouldings; each floor is taken up by a large chamber, the flanges of whose ceiling beams
are carved with the arms of the owners. On the court side a gallery with a vault on sculptured
corbels leads to the old range of apartments. There is a splendid portal in the middle of the
the castle was inherited by the Comte de Ribaucourt. It remained in the Ribaucourt family until
1953, when it was given to the Association Royale des Demeures Historiques. Uninhabited since
1832, from 1964 it has been restored and refurnished. It now houses the collection of
silver-plate bequeathed by Claude D’Allemagne, and also other temporary exhibitions are held in
Laarne Castle Map&Location
Laarne Castle is located in the village with the same name, south-east of the city of Ghent,
Belgium. Get help with directions using this map.
Laarne Castle in a larger map
Laarne Castle Belgium
Laarne Den Blakken Access
Laarne Castle courtyard
Laarne Castle view
Visit Laarne Castle
Access to the Laarne castle, which has
a pentagonal plan, is now on the eastern side through a cour d’honneur, its corners marked by
pavilions and the enclosure walls pierced centrally by four portals leading respectively
to the exterior, the outbuildings, the grounds and, in the fourth side, a fixed bridge that was
substituted for a drawbridge, which leads to the castle itself.
The original fortified entrance is on the
west side, a rectangular three-storey block with a staircase turret at its south-east corner.
Remains of the original construction in the basement of the forebuilding survive, a Tournai
‘marble’ column supporting vaults with (later) brick ribs and corbels dating from the end of
the 12th century or beginning of the 13th supporting the lintel of the entrance
ground-level a bridge gives access to a pointed-arch doorway. On either side of the passage are
rooms with fireplaces, vaulted in the 16th century when the stepped brick gables were also
built. There is evidence that the building was originally two storeys