Château de Rauzan was erected in the 13th century by John, King of England. It then became the property of Rudel of Bergerac (1223–1320), then of Guillaume-Raymond of Madaillan (1320–1391) who fought at the side of the Black Prince, governor of Guyenne of 1356 to 1370, at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and at the imprisonment of the King of France, John II ('John the Good').
In October 1370, Bertrand of Guesclin returned to France where he was made constable to Charles V and began his big venture to expel the English from France. Contrary to the habits of the French chivalry, he did not proceed to the great mountains with the entire French army, but preferred to methodically reconquer whole provinces, besieging castle after castle. He would chase the English from Normandy, Guyenne, Saintonge and Poitou. The castle in Rauzan was captured in 1377.
Rauzan was then the subject of a law suit between Henri IV (1367–1413) and Jeanne of Armagnac, great-granddaughter of Saint Louis and wife of Guillaume-Amanieu of Madaillan (1375–1414), the last male representative of that branch, whose wife had a daughter named Agnès, who died young. At the death of her husband, she won the right to remarry a Frenchman on condition of giving up the castle.
Rauzan then fell to Bernard Angevin (1437–1480), whose opportunistic attitude pointed the English camp to the French camp in accordance to his interests. At the end of the Hundred Years' War, he sided with the crown of France and retained all of his property. As the troubles of the war passed, he refurbished the castle little by little as it evolved from a fortified castle into a residential château.
Rauzan then passed into the hands of Durfort of Duras who gradually abandoned it. Bordeaux quarrymen extracted stones of the building (for cutting tombstones) and blocks of rock on which it was based, which caused the northern part of the château to fall. The ruins became, in 1819, the property of Chastellux before the town acquired it in 1900.
The entrance was protected by several defensive elements. A barbican controlled the drawbridge and access to the castle. The keep's cylindrical plan was built around 1325. Each floor has three arches. On the first floor it had a trapdoor in the centre of the room provided access to the storerooms below. The second floor has the oldest castle fireplace. Parts of the third and fourth floors are more spacious because they were built on an octagonal plan and have much wider arches. Also, they are not cluttered with chimneys because they were heated with heating vents.
Built in the early century 14th, the stately home was completely remodeled in the 15th century. When it was built, a central separating wall and cross windows were introduced onto the courtyard outside. It can be accessed from the courtyard on the ground floor or the staircase serving all floors. On the first floor was the reception room in which only a few frescoes remain. The lord’s apartments were in the second floor; all of the rooms in this home contained fireplaces.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.