Archeologische opgraving: Hooghuis, Gemert
Unknown until recently, this castle was discovered during an archaeological dig. Het Hooghuis is Gemert's oldest castle and dates back to the …
Unknown until recently, this castle was discovered during an archaeological dig. Het Hooghuis is Gemert's oldest castle and dates back to the full Middle Ages. The castle has several phases in its development and consisted of two or three moat islands with buildings on top. It was owned by the noble Van Gemert family who were lords of Gemert until 1366. The oldest phase of the castle dates back to 1050-1150, when it consisted of at least two moat islands. The moat was 15 to 20 metres wide. On one island was a three-aisle wooden hall building measuring 12 by 12 metres, and on the other island were associated farm buildings. A motte castle was built on the site around 1250. On the main island of 37 by 37 metres, a motte (artificial hill for defence) was raised with a height of 5 to 6 metres. The width of the moat varied between 12 and 15 metres. A brick residential tower must have stood on the mound.
The residential tower had stained-glass windows with stone frames. The roof was slate and the floors consisted of cobblestones cut in half. A bridge almost 3 metres wide connected the main island to the outer bailey, which was initially located on the north-east side of the main island and oriented towards The Hague. Around 1330, a bridge was built on the south-east side, which gave access to the motte castle from today's Ruijsschenbergstraat. The land on which the Latin School now stands was also a moated island that was part of the castle complex. Shortly after 1366, at least before 1400, the Hooghuis was demolished, the motte levelled and the moats filled in. The moat of the Latin School remained until the 19th century.
This demolition fairly corresponds to the demise of the Van Gemert family's possessions in Gemert. In fact, the Teutonic Order, a powerful clerical order of knights, was also a major landowner in Gemert, and in 1366 the Duke of Brabant forced the lords of Van Gemert to transfer their possessions to the Teutonic Order and recognise them as feudal lords. So from 1366, Hooghuis was also owned by the Teutonic Order and the Van Gemert family was its feudal lord. It seems that after Hooghuis was demolished, the Van Gemerts built a new residence on the third enclosed island, on which the Latin School now stands, which was then also called Hooghuis.
On the site of the old motteburg, Gemert's former police station now stands on Komweg. Both bridges and part of the moat around the former Hooghuis have been reconstructed on site.
Reconstruction by Remco de Vries
A. Thelen, Het Hooghuis te Gemert, 2001, Heemkundekring De Kommanderij, Gemert
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