Kasteel van Reningelst

Kasteel van Reningelst

Kasteel van Reningelst

A touch of history of the Rentmeesterhoeve

"The Reninghelst manor was the residence of Lady Di's family"

During the 12th and 13th centuries the Lords of Reningelst probably occupied a fortified farm, in the vicinity of the parish church and along a brook. Ever since 1527 the de Longueval family gradually transformed the austere mediaeval building into a pleasant manor.

In 1601 the Bulteel family acquired the ownership of the seigniory of Reningelst and embellished the little chateau. During the Wars of Religion of the 16th century in Flanders another branch of the same Bulteels had fled to safety in England. In the offspring of this part of the family we meet Louisa Emily Charlotte Bulteel (1828-1892), great-great-grandmother of Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997). Louisa was the spouse of the Baron Eduard Baring, who was the director of the Bank of England. Their daughter Margaret got married to Charles Spencer, the great-grandfather of Lady Di. Mary-Louise Bulteel , Louise's sister, was lady in waiting to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and consequentely very close to the British royal family...

During the German final offensive, march 1918, the tomb-stone of the (Continental) Bulteel family, in the Reningelst parish church, was badly damaged. Lieutenant-colonel Francis Mildway, son of Georgina Frances Bulteel, another sister of Louisa's, made it a point of honor to restore this funeral inscription. After the war it was placed against one of the pillars under the church-tower.

On September 6th 1793, during the second invasion of the French "sansculottes", the manor was set on fire. Count Albert Francois de la Basecque, the then owner - in those days so perilous for a nobleman - had previously emigrated to England. When he returned, in 1802, all he found was a heap of ruins, the sole remnants of the "7 Round Towers" in olden times... The last Lord of Reningelst died childless in 1840.

In 1918 the British army burnt down the local windmill, which had been the property of the seigniory. Today only the name "Kasteelmolen" survives: it's the name of the butte on which the mill had been standing for ages, turning the grains of the villagers into flour, to the benefit of its owner, the Lord of Reningelst. But a couple of years before its sad end, it had witnessed King George V visiting Lt-Gen. Byng and his troops in a Canadian camp, nearby...

Today only a part of the moat testifies of the disappeared manor, as does the rounded structure of the roof of the seigniorial barn nearby. A naive painting in the church is the only existing public image of the little castle of Reningelst. Since 2008 Filip and Ann Bekaert-Bouton are running the "Rentmeesterhoeve" as a Bed & Breakfast. The result of their efforts in restoring the old farm is outstanding. One of the rooms is named after the Princess of Hearts, in honor of the family of the former proprietors, the Lords of Reningelst and their links with their relatives over the Channel.

© 2008 - De Rentmeesterhoeve bvba