The Barons of Aigle were first mentioned in 1179. At that time they had a small fortification, that became the center of the modern castle, along the road over the Col du Pillon and Col des Mosses passes of the Rhone. However, only traces of this first castle have been archaeologically discovered.
Some time before 1200, the Barons of Aigle ended up as vassals of the powerful Counts of Savoy. In 1232, Count Thomas of Savoy granted Aigle as a fief to the brothers Jacob and Peter of Saillon in exchange for their ancestral castle in Valais. The Saillon family seems to have been closely related with the barons of Aigle.
In the second half of the 13th century, Aigle expanded and received a city charter. The castle was rebuilt, with a fortified donjon and a curtain wall.
In the 14th Century, the Lords of Compey inherited the rights of the Saillon family. They were also vassals of the Counts of Savoy and made Aigle into their headquarters. They added turrets and in 1450 built a massive tower in the south corner. This tower was an example of late French Donjon architecture.
Starting in the mid-15th Century, Bern tried to control the city, to gain control of the important mountain passes into the Rhone Valley. Their first unsuccessful attempt was in 1464. The Burgundian Wars (1474–1477), which brought the Swiss Confederation into conflict with Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, brought another opportunity. Because Savoy had joined the Burgundian side, Swiss forces attacked the Savoy town of Aigle and devastated the castle. Jean de Compey had to flee and was killed soon afterward in Vevey. His son died fighting for Charles the Bold.
After the war, the Compey family were unable to recover their title to the town or castle. Bern had the castle rebuilt again in 1488 and made it the seat of a provincial governor. Aigle became one of the first French speaking districts in Bern. The representatives of Bern resided here until the French invasion and creation of the Helvetic Republic in 1798.
In 1804, the castle was acquired by the community of Aigle and until 1976 it was used as a cantonal jail. Since then, it has been a museum open to the public.
Today the castle is home to Musée de la Vigne et du Vin (Vine and wine museum). Next to the castle gates is the Maison de la Dîme, which houses the Musée de l’Étiquette (Wine-Labels Museum).References:
Fortrose Cathedral was the episcopal seat of the medieval Scottish diocese of Ross. It is probable that the original site of the diocese was at Rosemarkie (as early as AD 700), but by the 13th century the canons had relocated a short distance to the south-west to the site known as Fortrose or Chanonry. The first recorded bishop, from around 1130, was Macbeth. According to Gervase of Canterbury, in the early 13th century the cathedral of Ross was manned by Céli Dé.
The oldest part of the present ruin is north choir range of the late 1300s. This range is now free-standing but was once attached to the choir. The only other part still standing is south aisle and chapel, built in the late 1300s.
The cathedral ceased to function as such at the Protestant Reformation in 1560. The story goes that most of the stonework went to build Cromwell’s citadel in Inverness in the early 1650s.
Only the ground plan survives of the cathedral itself. All that remains above ground are two separate structures that once projected out from it. The older of the two is the two-storey building that projected from the north side of the choir. This housed the sacristy and chapter house at ground level, and perhaps a treasury and library on the more secure upper floor. Though never a wealthy diocese, the chapter comprised 21 senior clergy, called canons.
After the Reformation, the building was retained and fitted out as the burgh’s tollbooth (town hall and prison). The upper floor was adapted as the council chamber and court house, and the lower floor as a prison.
This elegant structure was added to the south wall of the nave in the late 1300s by Countess Euphemia of Ross (d. 1395). It was doubtless intended as a chantry chapel, where prayers were said for the countess’s soul. Her fine canopied tomb, with little left of its effigy, is built into the east arch of the chapel. Two other monumental tombs are of Bishop Fraser (d. 1507) and Bishop Cairncross (d. 1545).
The quality of the structure’s masonry is outstanding. It is evident in the fine stone vaulting and in what remains of the elaborate window tracery. You can also see this quality in the internal fixtures such as the piscina in the chapel, where the vessels used at Mass were ritually cleansed.
As with the north choir aisle, alterations were made after the Reformation. The most obvious of these was the addition of a clock turret above the stair tower.