The Tour Tanguy is a medieval tower on a rocky motte beside the Penfeld river in Brest. Probably built during the Breton War of Succession, it faces the château de Brest and is now accessed by a road off the square Pierre Péron, at one end of the pont de Recouvrance. It now houses the Museum of Old Brest, a museum with a collection of dioramas that depict the city of Brest on the eve of World War II.

Probably built to protect or block crossings between the two banks of the river, the tower's origins cannot be precisely determined. It may have been built by the English during their occupation of the city in the 14th century, or earlier by lord Tanguy du Chastel, of the line of lords of Quilbignon which distinguished itself in battles against the English in Brittany and contributed to the development of the right bank. The name bastille de Quilbignon gives places to that of tour Tanguy, a forename held by members of this line. Their arms are engraved below the tower's gate. The family's powerbase was at the château de Trémazan at Landunvez.

Jean de Montfort handed it over to the English in 1341, but it was restored to his son John V, Duke of Brittany in 1397. Until about 1580, the tower was the seat of justice for the lords of Le Châtel, and it was neglected after that date, becoming the property of the Rohan-Guéméné family in 1786 before becoming a French royal possession and finally being sold to a Mr Gabon on the French Revolution.

In 1862, it was bought by the architect Barillé who turned it into his house, cutting windows and building on its top a sort of Chinese-style roof over a kiosk or pavilion. Its last occupant and private owner, doctor Joseph Thielmans, left it after it caught fire during the bombardment of 1944 (the bombing also destroyed the pavilion). It was acquired by the town of Brest on 15 July 1954 and summarily repaired, but its state worsened once more and its future was compromised by the redevelopment of the Recouvrance quarter. In 1959 the town finally charged the painter Jim_Sévellec with evoking the town's past, of which few remains were left. The tower was restored and opened as the Museum of Old Brest on 25 July 1962. In 1971, a turret was added and the Neo Gothic cornice along the battlements replaced to restore the tower to its medieval shape.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Rue de la Tour 2, Brest, France
See all sites in Brest

Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Valois Dynasty and Hundred Year's War (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Josie Jiao (2 months ago)
A very lovely place. City Old photos and historical models. Free to visit
Peter * (3 months ago)
Nice little museum about the history of Brest, the port and the tower. The museum is free to visit, but the information is only in French. In summer the museum has longer opening hours (12-18:30) than in winter (14-18). But take into account that the last entrance to the museeum is at 17:30. 30-60 minutes should be calculated for a visit to the museum.
Adam Ruskin (2 years ago)
Cool area to walk around. Nothing super exciting but nice place. The dry dock was cool.
Adam Ruskin (2 years ago)
Cool area to walk around. Nothing super exciting but nice place. The dry dock was cool.
Nancy Olsson (3 years ago)
Interesting place, with dioramas showing scenes of Brest before WWII changed its character. The old photos were the best part for me. Sadly, no photography allowed inside.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.