This year, the Dallas Chapter is seeking support to fulfill pledges for two restoration grants which have been forward-funded by FHS. Due to the global pandemic limiting the impact of event-based fundraising, your 100% tax-deductible donation can make all the difference in reaching our goal. You can find information on each of the grant projects below (in the order that they are pictured).
Château de Versigny (Oise): Once a royal estate, Versigny has been in the same family for more than 600 years. The original medieval fortress was burned down during the Wars of Religion; today's château was built in the later half of the 17th century. The château also suffered damage during both world wars, occupied by the French in WWI and the Germans in WWII, after which it spent time as a military hospital.
The restoration concerns the dismantling and reconstruction of the iconic horseshoe staircase on the cour d'honneur in order to reinforce its foundation. The current owner took up restoration of the château in 1998, and has since hosted garden and vintage car festivals there and joined a network of other local châteaux interested in developing tourism opportunities in the region.
Château d'Esquelbecq (Nord): Dating back to the 13th century, the château boasts a 17th century garden and is one of the last Flemish castles in the region. It was meant to serve as both a defensive stronghold and a pleasurable residence for the lords of Esquelbecq. The Morael family purchased the castle in 1946, and have since made extensive efforts to restore it and open it to the public.
In 1984, the keep collapsed and rendered the building uninhabitable, severely delaying construction efforts. Restoration began again in earnest in the 2000s, and in 2016, current owner Johan Tamer-Morael began devoting his time to completing his parents' work. The gardens were opened to the public that year, and in 2018, part of the north wing was opened as well.