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Princes Court in BRUGES
(Prinsenhof 8)

Princes Court BRUGES picture
Picture by Jan Boeykens (@Quernus)

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During the 14 th century the earl of Flanders ordered the construction of a new palace . In the 15 th century the earl of Bourgondy lived here, with this difference that theire castle was built more luxurious. Not only the earls lived here, but also a part of their staff, officials and guests.

This complex was very seldon used at such a high level after after the death of Mary of Burgundy in 1482. In 1576 Filips II sold a part of the buildings and in 1631 the rest was also sold.

The constructions at the Noordzandstraat were pulled down between 1662 and 1663 . The remainders were used by the English Franciscans.

The Prinsenhof became property of the in 1888 Dames de la Retraite du Sacré-Coeur in 1888, who added two neogothic wings. The main wing from the 19 th century, hidden behind a wrought iron port, has on its corner an imposing, round staircase tower, that has above a corbeling out arche. This adds a touch of medieval impression to the castle . The hip is broken with dormers ( decorated with crochtes, trilobated traceries, pinnacles and finials ) and it is also decorated with a fret.

The square sidewing is made of two parts. The upperpart has on its corner a round turret, that is added on the third floor.The lower part of this wing has a Het lagere gedeelte van deze vleugel draagt een crenelated breastwork, which corbles out in an arch.

Adrian McKenna: 'I stayed as a child in this beautiful (former) convent and have many happy memories of visiting with the Retraite Sisters, of exploring the various rooms (even the attic) and of playing in the garden where the trees were laden with figs.'

Jacqueline Miller (nee Gibbs): 'I was au couvent at the age of 16, in 1963 and have many happy memories of my time there. A number of aged residents were cared for by the sisters. Also, retreats were held, by the Jesuit Brothers for Catholic womens'groups. My duties were simple but each of them are still vivid in my memory, as is my memory of the sisters with whom I served. The sisters were French, Flemish and some English. Mother superior was English. My French tutor was a very elderly English woman, fluent in French from her long years in the order. I still have my French Grammar book to this day. It's publication date is 1865. Ah, memories ..... '

Vincent Winand: 'When I was a child, I spent several nights there visiting my Aunt Marie. She was a sister and we had family meetings. I shared meals with the sisters. I remember the dining room with the long wooden tables. I slept once in a small cold bedroom in the convent. My best memory is when we stayed in the little cottage in the garden. I was 10 and it was so different than the hotel that took place later...'