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An Echauguette

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The Chateau - history

The Chateau is a military chateau built in the 13th Century (after the Albigensian Crusade), perched on a small hill protecting the village to the north.

It has superb views over the Vallee du Fresquel with views to the Pyrenees and the Montagne Noire to the south.

It was twice the centre of action in the Wars of Religion- in 1580 when it was taken by the Huguenots and in 1627, when the amassed Catholic forces met the Huguenots in the valley below the chateau.

The chateau originally had four very long galleries on both floors on either side leading to the south to two watch towers or echauguettes.

Two of those galleries have been renovated and form part of the accommodation.

We have been told by villagers that there is a tunnel from the cellar to the mill at Castelnaudary, some 7 kms away.

Apparently, it was built in the early 17th Century when the de Mollevilles owned both chateau and the mill.

More recently, it was reputedly used by the Resistance Movement in the 2nd World War.

The typical large semi-spherical tower to the north west may have housed prisoners when the Seigneur had the right to imprison, fine and put villagers in the stocks.

Apparently Cardinal Richelieu ordered the cannon platform of local towers to be cut down to debase the local nobility so the tower is a little lower than it would have been.

Most recently it was used as a pigeonnier.

The last Seigneur of the chateau was Bertrand de Molleville, Louis XVI's Naval Minister who made his fortune milling woad.

An un-renovated room on the ground floor was the ballroom, used by many villagers to celebrate their weddings.

The Mayor also had his office here until shortly after the last war.

 
  
       
       
Contact: Richard Charman