Besiekiery Castle was built by the Łęczyca voivod Lawrence Sokolowski at the end of the 15th century. The knights' headquarters had a tower and was surrounded by a moat, the remains of which are visible today.
In the year 1597, Cardinal Andrzej Batory rebuilt the castle. The next renovation came after flood damage caused by the invading Swedes, was undertaken by Łęczycka Starosta Jan Szczawiński in 1655. His coat of arms 'Prawdzic' is still visible on the cartouche. In the 18th century the castle was owned by 'Gajewskich' who lowered its residential building by one floor.
Built of brick on a rectangular plan the castle had a drawbridge leading to the most forward section of the wall outside the south peripheral gate tower.
After 1800 the castle was never inhabited again, and slowly fell into disrepair.
Large portions of the ruins survived. Entrance to the ruins is free of charge. The ruins are very easy to find as they are visible from the road. Reaching the ruins requires crossing the moat and then climbing up the hill.
The origin of the castle in Besiekiery is unclear. According to some research the castle was built in 1500 by the provincial governor of Łęczyca, Mikołak Sokołowski. However, no document confirms this. Another hypothesis attributes the erection of the stronghold to esquire carver of Brzeski, Wojaciech Sokołowski as a builder of the castle. Thus, it might be assumed that the building was erected by Sokołowski at the turn of the 15th and 16th century.
Later history of the monument is now better recorded. It is known that at the end of the 16th century the castle belonged to Andrzej Batory, and after that it changed hands often. Unfortunately the foundation did not survive well. In the 17th century it began to deteriorate and its existence was ended in a fire in 1731. The then owners, the Gajewskis, disassembled the second storey, and in the middle of the 19th century the castle carried out only economic functions.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).