Male Castle lies in the village with the same name, east of the city of Bruges, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.
The first castle at this site was probably built in the 9th century. It consisted of a moated, wooden tower which served as a refuge against Vikings.
A stone castle was built here in the 12th century by Philip I, Count of Flanders. According to legend the castle was consecrated in 1166 by Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. It served mainly as a court for the Counts of Flanders.
During the French occupation the castle was garrisoned by French soldiers who were driven out by the army of the city of Bruges in 1302. In 1382 the castle was taken and consequently destroyed by the townspeople of Ghent. The castle was rebuilt only to be sieged and plundered again by the townspeople of Ghent in 1453. Again the castle was restored, only to burned to the ground in 1472. The castle was rebuilt and the keep, the oldest part of the castle which now serves as a gate tower, dates back to that time. In 1490 the castle was again looted and damaged, this time by the troops of the Count of Nassau.
During the Spanish occupation the castle was bought by a Spanish knight, Juan Lopez Gallo, in 1558. From then on, until the 20th century, the castle was more or less forgotten and passed through the hands of several noble families.
During both World Wars the castle was occupied by German soldiers. When they left the castle was in a ruinous state.
Its last noble owner, Baron Gillès de Pélichy, handed the castle over to the nuns of the St. Trudo convent in Bruges in 1953. The nuns moved into the castle a year later. A thorough restoration followed which ended in 1972.
At present the castle is still being used as a convent. It can be visited, however it was closed when I was there.