The Château de Vézins is a much-altered castle in the commune of Vézins-de-Lévézou. It has been in the possession of the Vézins family for 900 years.
The first fortress was built in 1120 by Vesian de Vézins to command the Lévezou district. Following a disastrous fire in 1642, the only remains of this original castle are the vaulted rooms of the ground floor. The castle was then redeveloped in the Renaissance style.
Modern-day visitors to the horseshoe-shaped château can see the vaulted hall from the Middle Ages and the first floor rooms. Of particular note are the sculpted coats of arms on the chimney places, Aubusson tapestries from the 16th and 17th centuries and a canopied bed.
The castle was awarded the 2000 Prix du Patrimoine 2000 (heritage prize) for the Midi-Pyrénées region. It is one of a group of 23 castles in Aveyron that have joined together to provide a tourist itinerary as the Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.