Château de Merpins

Merpins, France

Château de Merpins, is a ruined castle in Merpins, Charente-Maritime, France. The castle is built atop rocky outcrop overlooking the double confluence of the Ne, Charente and Antenne.

Fortifications have existed since the Neolithic period. In the 10th century the manor belonged to the Taillefer, counts of Angoulême. In 1179, the castle was taken by Richard, Duke of Aquitaine and given to his illegitimate son Philippe de Falcombridge. Philippe sold the castle to King John of England in 1204. His son King Henry III of England gave the castle to Hugh X de Lusignan, lord of Cognac, husband of Isabelle d'Angouleme. In 1308 Merpins was united to the French crown, however under the Treaty of Brétigny of 1360, the castle returned to English hands.

After a siege lasting six years, led by Marshal Sancerre the castle was taken again in 1387. King Charles VI of France ordered the castles destruction. The castle was still a place of fighting during the wars of religion, occupied by Catholics and Protestants. It was the Duke of Mayenne who dislodged them in 1577.



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Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

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Yann BOISSON (2 years ago)
The ruins of the Château de Merpins, which was an important medieval fortress, are located in Merpins-Vieux-Bourg, The castle of Merpins is built on a rocky spur (occupied since the Neolithic), it is separated from the rest of the plateau by a large ditch dominating the double confluence of the Né, the Charente and the Antenne. The site forms a barred oppidum on the left bank of the Charente, upstream of the confluence of the Antenne on the right bank and the Né on the left bank. Masonry buttresses supported the whole. Round towers jutted out into the moat. If there was a dungeon, we do not know its location. The site is located near the town of Cognac and less than 2 km from the old Gallo-Roman road linking Saintes and Périgueux, the Chemin Boisné which passes through La Frenade, and historians have long suspected that it was the Condate stage location. Oral tradition traces the origin of the fortress to Charlemagne (construction in the 8th century), who in 810 would have imposed the construction of the fortress on the counts of Angoulême, then in 850 by the Normans, but no document proves this. The oldest tower seems to date from the 10th century and the north wall from the 12th century; In the 10th century the castellany of Merpins belonged to the Taillefer, counts of Angoulême. In 1179 Merpins was taken by the English, after 1179 three towers were built which reinforced the walls and dug a dry moat. Richard the Lionheart gave it in 1180 to his illegitimate son Philippe de Falcombridge, married to Amélie de Cognac. Other fortification works date from the 13th century. Cognac and Merpins were not united for long, in 1204 Philippe de Falcombridge sold Merpins to John Lackland. His son Henri III gave Merpins to Hugues X de Lusignan, Count of La Marche, husband of Isabelle d'Angoulême. They are succeeded by their son Guy de Lusignan. The site is still a place of fighting during the Wars of Religion, occupied by Catholics then Protestants. It was the Duke of Mayenne who dislodged them in 1577. * In 1031, Geoffroy, Count (see title of nobility) of Angoulême, authorized Foucaud, lord of Merpins, to make a church donation. A castle seems to have existed. * In the 12th century, the lordship belonged to Foucaud d'Archiac. * In 1176, some historians believe that the castle was besieged and then taken by a troop led by Richard the Lionheart. * In 1214, Jean Sans Terre bought the lordship of Merpins from Audouin de Barbezieux. * In 1226, the mother of Henri III Plantagenet recovered the lordship of Merpins. * In 1242, after the battle of Taillebourg then the Treaty of Saintes, the King of France recovered the castle of Merpins. * In 1308, the castle of Merpins was under English domination. * In 1360, the Treaty of Brétigny confirmed the possession of the castle by the English. * In 1364 and for 6 years, the fortifications of the castle were repaired and then improved. * In 1379, French troops commanded by Marshal Sancerre besieged the "English" castle. * In 1387, it was after a six-year siege led by Marshal de Sancerre that the castle was recaptured: King Charles VI ordered its destruction. The lordship of Merpins no longer exists. The town depends on Cognac. * For 4 centuries, the site served as crop fields and partly as a stone quarry. * In 1860, the owner decided to sell the stones of the west rampart. * In the middle of the 20th century, the construction of a road destroyed the ditches and ramparts. * In 1965 and for 20 years, excavations were organized. * In the 21st century, discovery of the outdoors is free and free while respecting private property. Visiting the interior is prohibited.
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