The history of the castle

  • 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

  • Chateau de Castelnaud - 1259 – 1261

    A powerful castle in the Périgord

    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.

  • Château de Castelnaud - 1442

    The siege of Castelnaud

    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.

  • Château de Castelnaud - 1543

    The Wars of Religion

    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.

  • Château de Castelnaud - 1832

    More than a century of neglect

    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.

  • Château de Castelnaud - 1965

    The Age of Renovation

    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.

  • Château de Castelnaud - Nowadays

    The story continues…

    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.