CASTLE OF MESEN †
The Castle of Mesen, situated in a park area near the center of a small city Lede, named after the last owner,
the Royal Institute of Messines, after the First World War a new school was founded here in place of the institute in Messines which was completely destroyed during the war.
The walled area covers an area of 7.5 hectares, of which about one third is occupied by the present building complex. The domain was in the 10th century the location for successive lords of Lede. From the 16th to the 18th century it was owned by the Bette family. From this period dates the 18th century marquisat (1749), designed by the famous Florentine architect Giovanni Niccolo Servandoni and orangery with stables. In the course of the 19th century, the complex was mainly used for industrial purposes and were a distillery, a sugar or tobacco housed. In 1897 the castle was owned by the domain of the Sisters of Kannunikessen Jupille. They built the main volume, especially the from 1905 dating neo-Gothic chapel with school complex. After the First World War, the site was owned by the Royal Institution of Messines, an institution from the time of Maria Theresa, who raised children of fallen or disabled soldiers. In 1921 the buildings where renovated and was the "Dutch Pavilion” build and founded with Dutch money. The park around these buildings is a typical example of an idealized landscape. Until the 60s "The Messines”, as the complex is called in local Lede, did become an elite boarding school. Exclusively in French given lessons The Royal Institute of Messines decided to cancel the lessons and to abandon the complex because Dutch was made the legislation language. Since then the buildings stand empty, robbed (there are indications that the decline was provoked by removing roof tiles, windows and doors) and quickly fallen into decline becomming a ruin!
In 1979 the Castle of Mesen was protected as a monument, but because of procedural errors that protection was undone in the following year. A new recent application for protection as a monument was not feasible. The refusal was due to the poor state of the buildings and the fear of high restoration costs.
Read more about the chapel a bit lower….
CASTLE OF MESEN, CHAPEL
The chapel has a beautiful serene atmosphere, it's quiet and pieceful, in here the outside world seems to be far away. Pigeons fluttering around in the late summersun or early misty morning, birds singing their song and the bees are crossing on and off. Amazing and wonderful that most of the stained glass is still intact, the roof on the other hand is so rotten that more then occasionally pieces are falling down. Beware! One should wear a helmet and keep a very close look to above. And pray for savety. The chapel and other buildings including the park with some very old trees are so stunningly taken over by nature that men is not wanted here anymore. If you wonder what happend in the last years, read below....
RUINED AND DEMOLISHED
Aerial photo from the Castle of Mesen around 2002. In 2010 the church, chapel and classroom buildings have been demolished. Just a very small part of the frontal building including the tower are more or less still standing. Though in really dangerous condition. Reconstructions works should be in full progress, but have been stopped in 2012. In preparation for construction works of the planned retirement homes archaeological excavations have shown that the site was important much longer than expected. A team of archaeologists have found pottery from the Roman period. Which dates back from the 4th and 5th centuries. At the City Council of December 19, 2013, the municipality Lede decided to demolish all existing buildings. After more than 800 years the castle and it’s history will permanently be removed from the city sight of Lede. For now only the remains of the old surrounded wall with the park is reminding of a once beautifull place full of history.
CASTLE OF MESEN † 2013
Photographed in 2003 / 2006 / 2009 and 2010
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