Preuilly Abbey, the fifth daughter house of Cîteaux Abbey, was founded in 1118 by Stephen Harding on a site provided by Theobald of Blois, Count of Champagne. The first abbot was Arthaud. The abbey soon became prosperous and founded its own daughter houses, Vauluisant Abbey (1129) and Barbeau Abbey (1148). In 1146 La Colombe Abbey, founded some years previously, joined the Cistercian Order and put itself under the supervision of Preuilly.
In the 14th and 15th centuries the monastery was sacked and laid waste several times, and occupied by English troops. In 1536 it passed into the hands of commendatory abbots. It was plundered again in 1567 during the Wars of Religion and in 1652 during the Fronde. The buildings were restored at the beginning of the 18th century.
After the dissolution of the abbey in 1791 during the French Revolution the church was used as a saltpetre factory, and the other buildings were sold off at auction to different owners. Considerable demolition took place, which was brought to an end only in the years between 1829 and 1846, when a Dr. Husson bought up the site in small portions. The surviving buildings have been protected since 1927.
The church, which dates from the second third of the 12th century and had a choir with a rose window and a transept with another rose window in the south front, is in ruins, as is the chapter house. The passage from the cloister to the church survives, as do the armarium, the sacristy, the entrance portal to the monastery between two round towers, and a part of the abbot's house. The abbey's 13th-century townhouse in Provins also survives.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.