Late in 1998, we bought ‘t Hof Ravestein, a farm in the middle of Walcheren. A stone farmhouse, a dilapidated carriage house and a large traditional barn.
In that first summer, the former owner came by with a picture of a map from around 1770. A beautiful farm map from that period, with a precise indication of the somewhat higher located sowing fields and meadows. Also mentioned are a ford, a square island, an area with tall trees, an orchard, a playground and a farmhouse with a farmyard.
When we bought Ravestein, all the land up to the house was in use as agricultural land.
Through the land consolidation that was underway at the time, we succeeded in acquiring the core of the old estate, 3.2 hectares. The whole area has now been included in the archaeological map of assets. Some of the “old” elements shown on the map have been reinstated by us, including the water features, the moat and tree-lined avenues around the island, the tall trees (oaks, set with willows). Closer to the house and barn, we have created a garden.
The work has been supported by the Zeeland Landscape Foundation, the archaeological community and many others. The history of habitation has been traced back to the early 16th century. A few years ago, a booklet about the whole project was published, Ravestein, boerderij, buitenplaats, by Tiny Polderman. The garden is included in the Open Garden Guide of the Dutch Garden Foundation and is open several days a year.
Two years ago we asked Jaap de Bussy, family member and professional photographer, to come and take pictures. The intention was: to create a beautiful, artistic impression of what has been achieved. It has happened, through many visits, in summer, in winter, with rain, with storm, with snow. The result is a beautiful photo book – it will be printed shortly.
Jaap is from a family of printers and publishers in Amsterdam and is very sensitive to design, quality and everything that is involved in a really well-crafted publication. That was also the reason to try and get some funding, because with a modest circulation, the fixed costs are of course relatively high.
Finally, we are pleased that the Commisioner of the King for Zeeland, Han Polman, has written an enthusiastic foreword for this photo book. Corona Volente, there will be a small-scale presentation of it at De Drukkery in Middelburg on 19 May – if not, then at a later date. The title of the book is ‘t Hof Ravestein- meer dan een tuin, ISBN 9 789464 028287.
Willemien and Henk van Montfrans
’t Hof Ravestein, Grijpskerke