Chimay Castle, the castle of the princes of Chimay, is an ancient stronghold which some documents suggest may be as old as the year 1000. Through the years the medieval bastion became a fortress. In the 15th century the castle was altered: five new towers were linked by corridors to the keep to increase its defensive potential. The castle has been diminished by many wars, looters and pillagers. Finally, in 1935 a fire destroyed much of what was left, including many irreplaceable works of art.
Initially, writings relate the presence of the town of Chimay in the 11th century, though the settlement may have existed in the 9th century already. An act dating from 1065 and 1070 reveals the presence of Gauthier de Chimay. The strategic position of crossing White Water is a logical explanation for the establishment of an important family on the promontory.
The history of the castle of Chimay is rather vague during the Middle Ages; it seems that the Chimay branch became extinct in 1226. The land then passed to the domination of the Counts of Soissons, who held it until 1317, when the castle of Chimay was owned by the Count of Hainaut, then of Blois. In 1445 it was bought by John II of Croÿ Philip the Good.
Jean II de Croy was exiled and then pardoned by Charles I in 1446, leaving descendants of the line of Croÿ to lead the new county of Chimay. The place was at the height of its power in the early 15th century: in 1486, Maximilian of Austria erected Chimay in the Principality. Unfortunately, waves of invading Austrian and French successively undermined the citadel.
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- Château de Chimay official website (French)
- Archaeological investigation of the Château de Chimay (French)
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