In 1286, Louis of Savoy founded a city of Morges in a pasture where a gallows previously stood. A castle was built to protect the city, which quickly developed into an administrative and market center as well as a hub for transporting goods by land and sea.
The castle in the south of the town square was built with a square floor plan and four round corner towers. It resembles the castle of Yverdon, which may have served as a model for Morges Castle. One of the round towers, larger than the others, served as the main tower. The raised courtyard was covered during the Middle Ages by casemates, which were first mentioned in 1340. On the lake side, outside the castle walls, there was a fortified kitchen. This kitchen, which was unique in Switzerland, was attached to the exterior of the castle walls. In 1363 the kitchen was rebuilt. Following the conquest of Vaud by Bern, the roof of the kitchen became a firing platform and was later converted into an observation deck.
The city and castle were plundered in 1475 and again in 1530. After the conquest of Vaud in 1536 by Bern, Morges became the center of a bailiwick in 1539. The castle was at that time in a deplorable condition. The new owners had the upper half of the fortifications rebuilt in the 1540s to suit the needs of artillery. Since Morges had not surrendered quickly enough to Bern, the city gates were demolished. The gate houses remained until 1769 and 1803, when they were finally destroyed.
The castle, which became the cantonal armory in 1803, was expanded in 1836-39 with some utility buildings and damaged in an explosion in 1871. Starting in 1925, it housed the Vaud Military Museum.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).