The current Château de Bourron dates back to the 16th century, however the castle on the site was mentioned first time in 1367. From 1145 to about 1465, the estate belonged to Denis de Chailly, from the great family of the Viscount of Melun, the most important of all the commanders from the Brie. During this time she joined Joan of Arc to re-conquer France from the British. It then belonged to Charles de Melun, who was unable to enjoy it due to his beheading in 1368 by order from Louis XI for helping a State prisoner to escape.
In 1502, Olivier de Sallard became the sole owner of Bourron. With a family native of Brabant and specialized in falcon taming for the Dukes of Bourgogne, Olivier Salaert de Doncker was a contemporary of Louis XI, King of France. Soon after this, Louis XI hired Olivier de Sallard as a falconer and he rapidly strengthened his position as Great Falconer of France. What’s more, Charles 8th granted him with his naturalisation letters, thus enabling him to be the owner of and to have found a line in Bourron for two and a half centuries.
Fifty years after the purchase of Bourron, the Sallard family had significant financial problems, as two of their children, Jehan and François, were co-lords of Bourron. By 1562, they were unmarried and they even made a settlement inter vivos for their possessions.
His brother, François, married Diane Clausse, daughter of Henri the 2nd‘s Finances State secretary, between 1562 and 1574, which brought him a comfortable dowry and enabled him to purchase large areas of land to build up the domain of Bourron and, most probably, to replace the old medieval fortress by the current castle in the late 16th century.
During the 17th century, it appears that life was quite peaceful in the new castle of Bourron, the Sallard family often staying there, whilst the father and the elder son were fighting as officers in one of the King’s French Guards regiment.
In October 1725, the castle of Bourron was chosen to host the dethroned King of Poland, Stanislas Leczinski.
During the French Revolution, in 1794, the ‘sans culottes’ from Nemours came, plundered the castle and destroyed the symbols of the abolished feudal system; the entrance gate with seigneurial arms, the pigeon house with square foundation and the ditches by trying to fill them in. They brought the Marquess of Bourron, then a widow in Paris, who only owed her life to Robespierre’s fall a few months later. The local villager kept her youngest daughter, Adélaïde-Luce, in custody, which was a way to protect her as well as the estate.
The castle had a few more ups and downs, because of Mme de Varenne-Bourron’s son who had already been imprisoned at 18 years of age for debts, stuck to his way of life and thus, in 1806, had to sell the estate to his main creditor, who broke it up and quickly sold the castle and the grounds to Adélaïde-Luce and her husband, the Marquis of Montgon. The Montgons kept trying to build up the old domain again, parcel after parcel, and their successors also carried on with this.
As a result of legacies, the castle of Bourron was put up for sale a further three times by the Montgons in 1849, then the Brandoix in 1862 and lastly the Piollencs in 1878. In 1878, the domain was purchased by the Montesquiou-Fezensac family, who still live there today.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.