Imagine sleeping in the heart of History
The last witness of the Battle of Waterloo
The Hougoumont farm is located in the commune of Braine-l’Alleud, in the Walloon region of Belgium. It stands right in the middle of what was the battlefield of Waterloo, the last battle of Emperor Napoleon I. The French army fought here against the Allied army, led by Arthur Wellington.
The farm, although having suffered heavy damage during the battle, remained standing and was operated by farmers until 2003.
Today, it still bears the after-effects of these deadly battles: an almost destroyed chapel, which houses a partly burnt Christ, and petrified chestnut trees whose trunks are strewn with bullet holes.
Renovated in 2013, it is open to visitors to the Waterloo Memorial and bears witness, through multimedia scenography and a small museum, to the confrontations of 18 June 1815.
Since the spring of 2020, visitors will also discover the rural life of the early 19th century through the animals of the educational farm.
The Waterloo Hougoumont farm, an impregnable allied stronghold!
In the first hours of the battle, the French attack the extreme right of the Allied forces, notably through the Hougoumont woods.
They tried to create a diversion to force Wellington to clear his centre. Napoleon, who did not explore the place the evening before, did not anticipate the presence of the farm-castle of Goumont in the middle. Nor did he know that the allies had transformed it into a veritable bastion.
All day long, Prince Jerome, the Emperor’s younger brother, tried in vain to impress his brother by launching attacks against the farm. He goes from failure to failure. Jerome is stubborn and has the farm bombed. The castle and some buildings in the farmyard (the chapel) catch fire.
But the allies hold out until the end.
Photo © Phil Thomason