In the city of Boussu stand the remains of what Guichardin called “the palace of Boussu, the finest stately home that might be seen in all the Low Countries, a residence fit for a king.” In 1540, John of Hénin-Liétard, the first Count of Boussu and Chief Equerry to Emperor Charles V, built a castle made up of a square building, each side stretching 328 feet, with stables for 300 horses. In 1810, it was completely destroyed with the exception of the fortified entrance, which was later destroyed during the Second World War and is now in ruins.
The site, classified by the Walloon Region as an exceptional heritage site, is on an estate of almost 30 acres based on a romantic English garden design,
commissioned by Maurice de Caraman (1769-1835), the last Count of Boussu. The burial chapel of the Lords of Boussu, near the church of Saint Gery, houses the best collection of Renaissance mausoleums in Belgium, along with urns, recumbent effigies, a rood-screen and an interesting museum of religious art installed in the galleries. The northern facade was modified during the 16th century and bears the motto of John of Hénin-Liétard, the first Count of Boussu : “Gy Seray Boussu”. Also to discover: the mausoleum of Hénin-Liétard (1499-1562) and his wife, Ann of Burgundy, as well as a peculiar, mannerist effigy: an alabaster sculpture representing a man at the point of death. These works are attributed to the great sculptor Jacques Du Broeucq (1505-1584).
The chapel is open on Sundays from 10.00 to 12.00 from May to September. Guided tours of the castle and the chapel are possible throughout the year. Guided tours fro groups must be booked in advance and last on average 2h30.
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