banniere_musee

The castle

Museum of Medieval Warfare

The castle itself houses the Museum of Medieval Warfare. The museum’s collection includes more than 250 weapons and pieces of old armour. Swords, crossbows, staff weapons, chain mail and a ribaudequin are exhibited in the seigneurial lodgings of the fortress.
Furnishings from the 14th and 15th century complete the collections.

Discover the collection through a selection of some of the museum’s pieces.

Discover the collection through a selection of some of the museum’s pieces.

Armour:

  • Chain mail

    Date: circa 1500
    Weight: 8.115kg and 0.725kg for the camail
    Provenance: Switzerland or Germany
    Characteristics: approx. 56,000 metal rings
    Inv. N°: 8


    Starting in the 12th century, soldiers were protected by chain mail and a camail (collar of mail). When weapons became more advanced, plates of wrought iron were attached to the chain mail to reinforce the protection of some of the body’s vital parts.

  • Three-quarter armour

    Date: circa 1535
    Provenance: Germany
    Characteristics: armour made of iron decorated with alternating vertical strips, plain metal or engraved with reed motifs and cherubs dancing or playing music, separated by edges in relief.
    Inv. N°: 214


    Starting at the end of the 14th century, elements of armour began to replace the metal plate-covered chain mail and the helmet with visor replaced the helm. In the 15th century, the white harness (full armour whitened from buffing) became more widespread. Entirely articulated and adjusted to the knight, it protected him from head to foot. Its use continued until the 17th century, when body protection became more a reflection of personal aesthetic tastes. 

  • Chain mail

    Date: circa 1500
    Weight: 8.115kg and 0.725kg for the camail
    Provenance: Switzerland or Germany
    Characteristics: approx. 56,000 metal rings
    Inv. N°: 8


    Starting in the 12th century, soldiers were protected by chain mail and a camail (collar of mail). When weapons became more advanced, plates of wrought iron were attached to the chain mail to reinforce the protection of some of the body’s vital parts.

  • Three-quarter armour

    Date: circa 1535
    Provenance: Germany
    Characteristics: armour made of iron decorated with alternating vertical strips, plain metal or engraved with reed motifs and cherubs dancing or playing music, separated by edges in relief.
    Inv. N°: 214


    Starting at the end of the 14th century, elements of armour began to replace the metal plate-covered chain mail and the helmet with visor replaced the helm. In the 15th century, the white harness (full armour whitened from buffing) became more widespread. Entirely articulated and adjusted to the knight, it protected him from head to foot. Its use continued until the 17th century, when body protection became more a reflection of personal aesthetic tastes. 

Individual weapons:

  • Sword

    Date: 14th century
    Weight: 1.240kg
    Length: 0.98 m
    Characteristics: round diamond-pointed pommel, leather-covered wooden hilt, diamond-pointed quillons for the crossguard inflected towards the blade.
    Inv. N°: 127


    The sword, symbol of power and justice, was the knights’ weapon par excellence. Soldiers, priests and civilians were also armed with one. Designed to cut and stab, it was used both for fighting and hunting. Handling it required technical training with a weapons master. Its design evolved over the course of the Middle Ages.

  • Dagger

    Date: 15th century
    Weight: 0.300kg
    Length: 29 cm
    Characteristics: gilded bronze hilt, flared pommel, short shell-shaped quillons for the crossguard, fluted cross-piece, blade with a hallmark.
    Inv. N°: 129


    Civil and military weapon, the dagger was worn at the belt. Easy to hide because of its small size, it was the traitor’s weapon. Archers wore them to administer the coup de grace once their opponent had fallen. The names for the daggers varied depending on the shape of their crossguard: rondel dagger, ballock dagger or a quillon-dagger like the one presented here with a skilfully wrought hilt of refined workmanship.

  • Lucerne Hammer

    Date: circa 1500
    Origin: Switzerland
    Weight: 2.290kg
    Inv. N°: 32


    Very popular in medieval Europe, the Lucerne hammer is of Swiss origin. With a “raven’s beak” or bec de corbin, set opposite a four-pronged head for clubbing, this war hammer was a powerful and piercing weapon. Extending from the shaft, a long tip allowed for it to be thrusted like an estoc. Conceived for hand-to-hand combat, it prevented the enemy from moving by blocking the joints in his armour.

  • Sword

    Date: 14th century
    Weight: 1.240kg
    Length: 0.98 m
    Characteristics: round diamond-pointed pommel, leather-covered wooden hilt, diamond-pointed quillons for the crossguard inflected towards the blade.
    Inv. N°: 127


    The sword, symbol of power and justice, was the knights’ weapon par excellence. Soldiers, priests and civilians were also armed with one. Designed to cut and stab, it was used both for fighting and hunting. Handling it required technical training with a weapons master. Its design evolved over the course of the Middle Ages.

  • Dagger

    Date: 15th century
    Weight: 0.300kg
    Length: 29 cm
    Characteristics: gilded bronze hilt, flared pommel, short shell-shaped quillons for the crossguard, fluted cross-piece, blade with a hallmark.
    Inv. N°: 129


    Civil and military weapon, the dagger was worn at the belt. Easy to hide because of its small size, it was the traitor’s weapon. Archers wore them to administer the coup de grace once their opponent had fallen. The names for the daggers varied depending on the shape of their crossguard: rondel dagger, ballock dagger or a quillon-dagger like the one presented here with a skilfully wrought hilt of refined workmanship.

  • Lucerne Hammer

    Date: circa 1500
    Origin: Switzerland
    Weight: 2.290kg
    Inv. N°: 32


    Very popular in medieval Europe, the Lucerne hammer is of Swiss origin. With a “raven’s beak” or bec de corbin, set opposite a four-pronged head for clubbing, this war hammer was a powerful and piercing weapon. Extending from the shaft, a long tip allowed for it to be thrusted like an estoc. Conceived for hand-to-hand combat, it prevented the enemy from moving by blocking the joints in his armour.

  • Guisarme

    Date: late 15th – early 16th centuries
    Origin: Italy (?)
    Length: 2.33 metres
    Characteristics: estoc with quadrangular blade, modern shaft.
    Inv. N°: 23


    The staff weapons were used by the infantry. The tips, of varying shapes, are fitted to a wooden shaft, of which the length varies from one weapon to another. These weapons allowed foot soldiers to hamstring the horses, to penetrate between the armour’s plates and even to knock down and stab the horsemen. Their names vary depending on their shape: halberd, bill, vouge, or guisarme, the name of the piece presented here.

  • Hunting cranequin crossbow

    Date: 16th–17th century
    Characteristics: metal bow, wooden stock covered on top by bone and incrusted on the sides with circular motifs also made of bone; the metal cranequin was attached to the stock by a loop of cord.
    Inv. N°: 199


    The crossbow is a powerful, silent and precise weapon. It was used as much for fighting as for hunting. Very widespread in medieval times, the weapon-makers constantly tried to improve it. The model here loads with the help of a cranequin that the men wore at their belt. This crossbow winder was used to draw the bow string and allowed for the weapon’s use by horsemen.

  • Guisarme

    Date: late 15th – early 16th centuries
    Origin: Italy (?)
    Length: 2.33 metres
    Characteristics: estoc with quadrangular blade, modern shaft.
    Inv. N°: 23


    The staff weapons were used by the infantry. The tips, of varying shapes, are fitted to a wooden shaft, of which the length varies from one weapon to another. These weapons allowed foot soldiers to hamstring the horses, to penetrate between the armour’s plates and even to knock down and stab the horsemen. Their names vary depending on their shape: halberd, bill, vouge, or guisarme, the name of the piece presented here.

  • Hunting cranequin crossbow

    Date: 16th–17th century
    Characteristics: metal bow, wooden stock covered on top by bone and incrusted on the sides with circular motifs also made of bone; the metal cranequin was attached to the stock by a loop of cord.
    Inv. N°: 199


    The crossbow is a powerful, silent and precise weapon. It was used as much for fighting as for hunting. Very widespread in medieval times, the weapon-makers constantly tried to improve it. The model here loads with the help of a cranequin that the men wore at their belt. This crossbow winder was used to draw the bow string and allowed for the weapon’s use by horsemen.

Powder artillery:

  • 12-barrel Organ Gun

    Date: 16th century
    Origin: Germany (?)
    Characteristics: 12 barrels 66.5 cm in length covered in the original vermillion and green paint.
    Projectile: lead bullet with a 16 to 18mm calibre
    Inv. N°: 58


    The ribaudequin, or organ gun, is a powder weapon capable of firing salvos over a wide range of the battle field. It is ignited from behind thanks to a rail that links the vents of the 12 barrels. Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci have allowed for the reconstitution of this weapon’s wooden carriage. The cannons themselves date from the 16th century.

  • Bombard

    Historical reconstitution based on an original piece dating from the mid-15th century and kept at the Musée de l’Armée.
    Weight: 1.3kg
    Length: 2 metres
    Firing rate: 1 shot per hour
    Projectiles: 130kg stone balls


    The first firing weapons using gunpowder were developed in the early 14th century. The bombard is the most imposing. Made of wrought iron, it weighs several tons. This one was made using a cast of a bombard from a Touraine village (La Chapelle-aux-Naux) today kept at the Musée de l’Armée (Les Invalides) in Paris.

  • 12-barrel Organ Gun

    Date: 16th century
    Origin: Germany (?)
    Characteristics: 12 barrels 66.5 cm in length covered in the original vermillion and green paint.
    Projectile: lead bullet with a 16 to 18mm calibre
    Inv. N°: 58


    The ribaudequin, or organ gun, is a powder weapon capable of firing salvos over a wide range of the battle field. It is ignited from behind thanks to a rail that links the vents of the 12 barrels. Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci have allowed for the reconstitution of this weapon’s wooden carriage. The cannons themselves date from the 16th century.

  • Bombard

    Historical reconstitution based on an original piece dating from the mid-15th century and kept at the Musée de l’Armée.
    Weight: 1.3kg
    Length: 2 metres
    Firing rate: 1 shot per hour
    Projectiles: 130kg stone balls


    The first firing weapons using gunpowder were developed in the early 14th century. The bombard is the most imposing. Made of wrought iron, it weighs several tons. This one was made using a cast of a bombard from a Touraine village (La Chapelle-aux-Naux) today kept at the Musée de l’Armée (Les Invalides) in Paris.

Hurling Machines:

The Château de Castelnaud presents exceptional, life-size reconstitutions of hurling machines from the Middle Ages. All the artillery machines, whether traction powered or with counterweights, were built of wood and few have survived to the present day. The only printed sources that allow for their reconstitution are account books, miniatures, collections of drawings and treatises by military engineers from the 13th and 14th century such as Villard de Honnecourt and Konrad Kyeser. Medieval iconography was meticulously studied to allow for the recreation of full-sized machines.

  • The perrière

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: manpower-activated machine
    Firing rate: 1 to 3 shots per minute
    Projectiles: 2.5 to 15kg stones
    Range of fire: 50 to 80 metres


    This “human traction” machine is the least powerful of the hurling machines. The men pulled on the ropes to swing the arm and launch the stones. Considered more a machine for defence, it was very effective against attacks. The reconstitutions have demonstrated that a one-kilogram ball reached its target at 140 km/h.

  • The mangonel

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: fixed-counterweight machine
    Firing rate: 1 to 3 shots per hour
    Range of fire: 100 metres


    Appearing near the end of the 12th century, this machine has a fixed counterweight weighing several tons. Engineers had not yet understood the advantage of articulated counterweights, with which the trebuchets would later be equipped.

  • The trebuchet

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: machine with articulated counterweight
    Firing rate: 1 to 2 shots per hour
    Projectiles: 100kg balls of stones
    Range of fire: 200 metres


    Equipped with an articulated counterweight, this machine was used up until the 16th century. Despite a slow firing rate, one to two shots per hour, it was the most powerful and most precise machine in the Middle Ages. A veritable weapon of dissuasion, just the sight of it would cause many strongholds to capitulate.

  • The perrière

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: manpower-activated machine
    Firing rate: 1 to 3 shots per minute
    Projectiles: 2.5 to 15kg stones
    Range of fire: 50 to 80 metres


    This “human traction” machine is the least powerful of the hurling machines. The men pulled on the ropes to swing the arm and launch the stones. Considered more a machine for defence, it was very effective against attacks. The reconstitutions have demonstrated that a one-kilogram ball reached its target at 140 km/h.

  • The mangonel

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: fixed-counterweight machine
    Firing rate: 1 to 3 shots per hour
    Range of fire: 100 metres


    Appearing near the end of the 12th century, this machine has a fixed counterweight weighing several tons. Engineers had not yet understood the advantage of articulated counterweights, with which the trebuchets would later be equipped.

  • The trebuchet

    Historical reconstitution
    Characteristics: machine with articulated counterweight
    Firing rate: 1 to 2 shots per hour
    Projectiles: 100kg balls of stones
    Range of fire: 200 metres


    Equipped with an articulated counterweight, this machine was used up until the 16th century. Despite a slow firing rate, one to two shots per hour, it was the most powerful and most precise machine in the Middle Ages. A veritable weapon of dissuasion, just the sight of it would cause many strongholds to capitulate.

  • Giant post mounted crossbow

    Historical reconstitution from an original 14th century stock now kept in a German museum
    Weight: 200kg
    Characteristics: composite bow, braided-hemp cord


    This giant crossbow, installed in a fixed position, was used to defend the strongholds. The machine’s advantage lies in its precision and range of fire: 300 metres for a 1-metre bolt. The original stock, used for this reconstitution, dates from 1336. It is kept at the museum of Quedlinburg in Germany.

  • Giant post mounted crossbow

    Historical reconstitution from an original 14th century stock now kept in a German museum
    Weight: 200kg
    Characteristics: composite bow, braided-hemp cord


    This giant crossbow, installed in a fixed position, was used to defend the strongholds. The machine’s advantage lies in its precision and range of fire: 300 metres for a 1-metre bolt. The original stock, used for this reconstitution, dates from 1336. It is kept at the museum of Quedlinburg in Germany.