Rumbeke Castle

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Forbidden Lovers on the Run Excommunicated by Father

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Count Baldwin rose to prominence when he eloped with Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, king of West Francia. Judith had previously been married to Æthelwulf and Æthelbald, kings of Wessex, but after the latter's death in 860, she returned to France. Around the Christmas of 861, at the instigation of Baldwin and with her brother Louis's consent, Judith escaped the custody into which she had been placed in the city of Senlis, Oise after her return from England. She fled north with Count Baldwin. Charles had given no permission for a marriage and tried to capture Baldwin, sending letters to Rorik of Dorestad and Bishop Hungar, forbidding them to shelter the fugitive. After Baldwin and Judith had evaded his attempts to capture them, Charles had his bishops excommunicate the couple. Judith and Baldwin responded by travelling to Rome to plead their case with Pope Nicholas I. By 23 November 862, their plea was successful and Charles was forced to accept the situation. The marriage took place on 13 December 862 in Auxerre. King Charles appointed Baldwin Margrave of Flanders, responsible for repelling the Viking invasions. Some theorize Charles did this in the hope that Baldwin would be killed. Baldwin was very successful in the position and used it to build his domain.
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Rumbeke Castle (Dutch: Kasteel van Rumbeke) is a historical building in Rumbeke in West Flanders, Belgium, one of the oldest Renaissance castles in the country. Rumbeke Castle is situated at an altitude of 25 meters.

Although most of the building was built during the Renaissance period, on the site of a far older fortress, it gained some slightly Neoclassical features after its renovation during the 18th century. During those renovations, the adjacent forest, the Sterrebos or the Star Forest, was added to its grounds. The forest was modelled after the Prater park in Vienna.

According to legend, Baldwin Iron Arm, Count of Flanders, kidnapped Judith, the daughter of Charles the Bald in 862 in Senlis and brought her to the fortress that used to be at the very location where the present castle now stands. With the intervention of the Pope, the two lovers married in Auxerre, which then resulted in the creation of the County of Flanders.

For centuries, the castle was owned by the counts of Thiennes and Limburg Stirum. The castle of Rumbeke suffered damage during the invasion of Flanders by French king Louis XIV, as well as during the French Revolution and in both world wars more than a century later. In fact, during World War I, it was taken over by the Germans and became for a short period of time, the home of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, who was credited with shooting down 80 enemy aircraft in his brightly painted red airplane.

The castle can be seen in the movie That Lucky Touch, a comedy which was partially shot in Rumbeke in 1975, starring Roger Moore and Shelley Winters.

Coordinates: 50°55′34″N 3°08′16″E / 50.92611°N 3.13778°E / 50.92611; 3.13778


Wikipedia Article
  • Castle of Rumbeke, Belgium.  Picture by Tim Bekaert, August 2006.
  • Rumbeke Castle
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