The history of the castle

Beginning of the 13th c.
The first castle
The first castle

Having been built only a few years ago, Castelnaud Castle (or more accurately, the New Castle) belonged to the Cathar Lord and Vassal of the Count of Toulouse, Bernard de Casnac. In 1214, Simon de Montfort, leader of the “Albigensian Crusade” against the Cathars, took the fortress. Although the castle was taken back by Bernard de Casnac, it was burnt down in 1215 by the Archbishop of Bordeaux.
©Simon de Montfort, Grand recueil La Clayette, fin XIII s, BNF, manuscrit, NAF,13521, fol. 337

A powerful castle in the Périgord
Chateau de Castelnaud - 1259 – 1261

Once the castle was rebuilt, it soon became one of the main strongholds of the Périgord. The keep and curtain wall were built during this period.

The Hundred Years’ War
The Hundred Years’ War

When the Hundred Years’ War began, the castle, through the marriage of its sole heiress, Magne de Castelnaud, to Nompar de Caumont, passed into the hands of the English-supporting Caumont family. During a century of conflict, the castle’s allegiance changed many times, each change depending on alliances or personal gain.

The siege of Castelnaud
Château de Castelnaud - 1442

The king of France, Charles VII, ordered the recapture of the castle, at the time held by supporters of the king of England. Following a three-week siege, Castelnaud Castle was sold for 400 gold coins. It was definitively taken back by the French,when won the war eleven years later.

A new castle for a new era
A new castle for a new era

At the end of the Middle Ages, the Caumont family built the Chateau des Milandes. They desired a more pleasant and comfortable home in keeping with the architecture and design of the era. From then on, Castelnaud was only inhabited by a few soldiers and their captain in the new living quarters of the east and south castle wings.

The Wars of Religion
Château de Castelnaud - 1543

Geoffroy de Vivans, a Huguenot captain, was born in the village at the foot of the castle. Known as “The Warrior”, he safeguarded the stronghold for the devout protestant Caumont family and spread fear throughout the Périgord. That terror, along with additional fortifications protecting the castle (the bastion and the artillery tower), meant no one dared take Castelnaud, despite the intensity of the conflict in the Périgord.

More than a century of neglect
Château de Castelnaud - 1832

Sold as a national asset in 1789 after the owners fled, Castelnaud Castle became a stone quarry. The top of the artillery tower and the south-wing living quarters were taken down. Nature slowly took back the castle as it fell into oblivion.

The Age of Renovation
Château de Castelnaud - 1965

The Rossillon family, originally from Beynac, bought the castle and began its restoration. The fortress was classified as a Historical Monument the following year in 1966.

Creating a museum
Creating a museum

The castle were now opened to the public. The east-wing living quarters and the keep are now home to the castle’s Medieval warfare museum.

The story continues…
Château de Castelnaud - Nowadays

Although the restoration itself is now complete, the site’s development endures. There are nearly three hundred pieces of arms and armour, as well as five life-sized siege engines on display. Close to 235,000 visitors come to admire them each year.