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Water castle of the Lords of Stevoort

The former water castle of the Lords of Stevoort, now called “Mariaburcht”, would have existed already in the 11th century in a primitive shape: a fortress with a lift bridge.
The oldest known resident is Arnold van Steynvoorde, who was in 1364
a liege lord of the Count of Loon. In the 16th century, the castle came in the possession of the family Salm- De Rougraeve : they built the south eastern corner tower of the castle. When the family de Libotton became the new owners in 1701, they rebuilt and restored the whole castle: the wall clamps in the north eastern tower are silent witnesses of those days.
The castle as it looks now dates from 1769: a date which can be found on the bridge in front of the entrance gate. In 1826 the family Palmers de Terlaemen bought the property: this family dominated the village for decades.
In 1922 the castle was for sale.  
The provincial government thought this was the ideal location to start up a domestic science school.

The lord of the castle ordered Hyacintus Martens in 1910 to build this small castle.
The family sold the large castle and settled here. Antoine Palmers lived here until 1950, whereafter he left for the village of Terlaemen.
The school committee became the new owner and the Sisters of Berlaar, who ran the nearby primary school, became the new residents.
A couple of years ago the caste was sold again and accommodates nowadays a tavern/restaurant.
Elsart mill

This water mill, with metal undershot wheel, on the river de Herk, was already mentioned in 1237, and underwent many renovations. The mechanism is still there.
The mill runs once and a while “loose” and is a restaurant nowadays.

St. Martin Church


The present St. Martin Church used to be a daughter church of the primitive parish of  Hasselt. In 1218 there already was a priest and in 1390 churchwardens.

The oldest witness from the churches past that can still be seen, is the late gothic tower. The wall clamps date the tower 1557 and on the marlstone tablet can be read in gothic writing: “ The first stone was laid on May 15th 1554”.

Probably this tower was part of a a three-naved gothic church.

On June 13th 1777, the abbess of Herkenrode and the priest of Stevoort agreed to build a brand-new classicistic, one-naved church. The abbess, who was in charge of the construction of the nave, left the tower nearly untouched: only the rose window and the entrance door with the blue stone frame were added.  

The scutcheon of this abbess, Augustine van Damme, can still be seen against the wall that divides the nave from the choir. In August 1890, the decision was made to enlarge the church. A blue stone memorial tablet above the entrance door in the tower indicates the date of these works in a chronogram.  On November 25th 1985, the St. Martin Church of Stevoort was declared a national monument.


Water mill (Dorpermolen)


The “Dorpermolen” was said to be built in 1775 by lord Palmers de Terlaemen.

Originally it was a rather rare double mill.

On the other side of the current grain mill there was an oil mill.  When the grain mill was renovated in 1911, the wooden wheel and the driving gear were replaced by an iron mechanism. Probably the oil mill was not profitable enough any more to be renovated and twenty years later it was pulled down. The grain mill that still exists today, is a beautiful building from 9 X 20 metres that stands at right angles to the brook. I

n 1974, neighbour Wies Boiten was offered the possibility to buy the crumbling water mill, and he started a restoration of many years, one that resulted in a magnificent piece of Stevoort, to be maintained for generations to come. Even now, grain is milled there regularly.

The mill can be visited by groups at simple request. Wies Boiten can be contacted by phone at 011 / 31 20 95.


The Cannaertshof


The Cannaertshof was first mentioned in 1302.  Until the beginning of the 17th century the family Kadavers lived in this manor with ditch. In the middle of the 17th century important renovations were carried out by the former proprietor Jan van Hinnindael. From the 16th century water castle only one wing was left untouched.

The gatehouse, with dovecot, and the adjacent stables kept their original appearance.

Above the entrance door of the rear side of the building, the year 1648 can be read. Nowadays the residents focus on cattle breeding.