Schloss Lauterbach stands on a moraine hill in the east of the village of Lauterbach. The main castle complex is surrounded by a moat to the south and west, almost always dry, which is scarcely visible due to the woods that have been allowed to grow.
The Lauterbach estate was established by the first half of the 13th century. The Dachau family made Lauterbach their seat from around 1250 to 1437. The castle then passed through marriage to Veit von Eglofstein. He and his wife sold the castle in 1449, and there were various changes of ownership in the next hundred years. In 1550 Jörg or Georg Hundt zu Lauterbach und Valkenstein took possession and restored the castle. At this time it was a tall rectangular building surrounded by a thick ring wall, with defensive towers in the four corners. The castle was damaged during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). By the end of the war it had been burned down. In the second half of the 17th century Johann Franz Maximilian Servatius von Hundt undertook a major restoration, depicted in engravings by Michael Wening.
The oldest depiction of Schloss Lauterbach is in a map by Philipp Apian from 1568. It is a rough drawing, but shows the remains of a fort with four corner towers. An engraving by Michael Wening from around 1700 shows the castle complex with a French parterre to the east of the castle. The earlier main structure is shown, with the addition of a chapel and a wing joining it to a three-story building that no longer exists. Another engraving by Wening, also published in the 1700 Historico Topographica Descriptio, shows the schloss from the northwest. The main building appears as two separate structures, and the chapel has a rounded apse. The two engravings may represent the building at a different stage of construction.
A further representation from 1729 shows the castle in essentially its present form, including a hexagonal fountain depicted by Wening. A view from around 1800 no longer shows the building to the north of the courtyard, and most of an elongated southern farm building show in earlier views is now gone. The fountain in the courtyard has also been removed. Later views show no significant changes.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.