As the Epic Battles: Waterloo range was being developed, we knew that it would be absolutely crucial to get the important buildings right. Our friends at Sarissa have done such a good job that we thought it would be criminal to not highlight the vital walled farmhouses that anchored Wellington’s line that day in June 1815. While La Haye Sainte is perhaps more famous as the lynchpin of the British left, on the right we find Hougoumont, in its own right a fantastic piece of history, and the site of some of the most savage fighting of the entire battle.
Originally built sometime between 1474 when the land surrounding was purchased and 1536 when a bill of sale to one Pierre du Fief records a building thereon, the buildings and estate were enlarged substantially until around 1637, when the present chateau was constructed. The sandstone and brick estate comprised the chateau proper, as well as stables, a barn and other farm buildings, and a small chapel, all surrounded by high walls. There was also a wonderful French-style formal garden, which predictably did not survive the battle!
Heavily damaged by the fighting that raged around and throughout its walls, Hougoumont was sold a number of times in the following years, remaining an active farm until the end of the 21st Century. By 2006, however, it had fallen into disrepair and was badly in need of restoration. Fortunately, it was extensively repaired and reopened as a museum in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015, and can still be visited today.