The Château de Comper is medieval castle, which has been rebuilt as a château. The first owner of Comper is supposed have been Salomon, king of Brittany in the 9th century. However the castle has entered in recorded history with the baron Raoul de Gaël-Monfort, who was a companion of William of Normandy during the Battle of Hastings.
During the 13th century, Comper was considered one of the strongest castles in Brittany. For this reason, it has been the object of many battles and sieges. It has also changed owner several times in its history. In 1370, it was devastated by Bertrand du Guesclin.
In the beginning of the 15th century, it became the vassal of the Dukes of Laval. In 1467, the Duke Guy XIV de Laval drew up the charte des usements et coutumes de Brécilien (charter of the uses and customs of Brécelien), which was used to divide the forest into parcels and to define the rights and duties of everyone regarding each parcel. During the 16th century, Comper went to the Rieux family, then to the Coligny family.
The famous episode in the history of Comper took place during the Wars of Religion, between the Catholic League and partisans of the king Henri IV. At the end of 1595, after a long resistance, the Duc de Mercœur's men failed to keep the castle. In reprisal, Henri IV dismantled of the castle three years later. After this, Comper went to the la Trémoille family.
During the Revolution, the revolutionary party burned half of the main building, on January 28, 1790. It was rebuilt during the 19th century by Armand de Charette, whose initials appear on numerous mantelpieces in the castle.The castle is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
The castle was originally square, with towers at each of the four corners, linked by strong curtain walls. At the main door was a drawbridge. Now the moat is dry and the castle houses the exhibitions of the 'Centre de l’imaginaire arthurien', about the Arthurian legend.
The large pond is related to Viviane, the Lady of the Lake. In the legend, she lives in a crystal palace, built by Merlin, hidden under the waters of the lake.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.